One of my favorite quotes comes from Charlie “Tremendous” Jones:
You’ll be the same person in five years that you are today, except for the people you meet and the books you read.
Meeting people happens on the regular (although, you need to make sure you’re meeting the right people), but reading? Most people aren’t reading nearly as much as they should to drive real change in their lives (and reading the latest smut novel doesn’t count as reading). As with most things in life, not accomplishing something like this is due to lack of a good plan. As the quote goes, “failing to plan is planning to fail”. So it goes with reading as well.
Accordingly, I’ve got a plan, and you can find it here.
Here’s the skinny on this. I’ve got a morning routine that I pretty religiously follow. That plan includes 30 minutes of reading daily, no excuses. This block of 30 minutes is based on my perspective that managing activities is better than managing goals: basically, set yourself up to do something for X minutes a day, and worry less about the overarching end goal from day-to-day. (That end goal IS important, and you should set it to help break out what activities you need to engage in, but day-by-day, it’s about managing those activities, not the goal itself). This spreadsheet I’ve put together of the plan also helps ensure that I know where I’m at, what’s coming next, and provides a few helpful calculations to predict when I’ll be finishing certain books.
Among the most interesting parts of this tool I put together is the dynamic date projections for starting and finishing books. The spreadsheet automatically calculates average number of pages read per day, based on start/finish dates and book length, and in real-time, adjusts the projected start/finish dates of the upcoming books. That lets me say things like “Oh, that cool book you told me about? Yeah, outta have it read by March 7th”, which also gives me more accountability toward those items. Finally, knowing what book is next, and about when it’ll begin, helps keep me focused and excited, and ensures I’ll order the book in time to get started on it.
Also, I’ve included some calculations on the spreadsheet that will give me the number of pages I have to read per day, to hit a certain number of books. If I want to read 50 books this year, I need to hit 43 pages a day. (To see these, hit the ‘Stats’ tab of the spreadsheet)
A lot of people want to read more, but the way to actually accomplish that is to put together a plan like this, break it into daily (consistent) activities, and hold yourself accountable to those activities each day. Feel free to copy the spreadsheet and use it for your own reading plan for the year, and don’t forget to share it with me in the comments here!
By the way, if you want to calculate how much you can read this year, check out this reading calculator that my buddy Josh just released. It’ll help you figure out just how many books you can read in a year, given a time investment and a few constants like average reading speed, words per page, and pages per book. Worth checking out to get a baseline established and set some realistic goals for yourself.
Make sure to share your reading plan, or favorite books that should be on my plan, in the comments!