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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Productivity

Here's My Trick for Reading 2 Books a Month (and Still Getting Everything Else Done)

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How many of you put down “read more books” as one of your goals this year, yet fail to read all but two before the year ends?

We all know that reading’s important for both our minds and our life’s potential (those who read more have a disproportionately higher income, studies say). But often, sitting down to do it gets moved to the bottom of our to-do list every single time.

Because as much as it can be relaxing and provide moments of refuge from our busy schedules, reading also takes a ton of mental energy.

But what if I told you that reading can seamlessly fit into your life—without much effort?

When I gave myself a huge goal—to read 24 books in one year—I knew that I’d have to think differently about how to achieve it. As someone who runs his own business and has two kids, I don’t have a heck of a lot of free time.

So, I found one major time hack: listening to books instead. And not just listening to them, but increasing my listening speed. Doing both these things made it possible to add this activity into my schedule in a lot of different ways (like say, while driving my kids to practice or in between meetings) and finish books in half the time it used to take me.

Of course, listening at a faster speed took practice. You can’t just go from listening at a normal speed to super-fast in a day and still think you’re going to comprehend everything. In fact, it took me about three months to adjust the speed to where I am now.

I know what you might be thinking: That would work for me temporarily, but I’ve never stuck with any new habit for that long.

Enter my next great hack: Making my habit cost money.

Before you click out, let me explain. Audible has this great feature that allows you to automatically download a certain amount of books to your phone, tablet, or laptop per month. And it comes with a small cost—which actually became a hugely motivating factor for me to keep selecting books to read each month. After all, if I was paying for it, I might as well buy (and listen to) as much as I could before the month ended.

It’s that simple! Using technology to your benefit, like listening faster and automating your library, helps to make reading on a tight schedule a piece of cake.

Ready to use my hack, but need some book recommendations? This list and this list include some of my favorites.

Trying to figure how to apply your passions outside of work to your everyday job? Ditch the confusion for clarity by downloading The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Career That Fits You.

Here at The Muse, we love introducing you to people who can boost your career. We are working with this contributor on an affiliate basis (meaning we earn a little money when you choose to use their services), but rest assured that we don’t just work with anyone. When it comes to articles like this, we chose to work with this coach not because he wanted a Muse byline, but because his advice was truly awesome. Here’s to finding the career of your dreams!