By Leo Babauta
As I went through last month’s decluttering challenge, I realized I had a bunch of books I want to read, but that I don’t actually set aside time to read them.
A lot of aspirational clutter is like that: we have outdoor equipment, things for hobbies, clutter from different projects we hope to do, things for gardening and cooking and photography … but we don’t actually create the time to do these aspirations.
What if we decided to set aside time each day for one of these aspirations?
This month, I challenge you to set aside time to read all the books on your reading list, or on your shelves. You don’t have to read them all this month, but you do have to set aside time each day, so that eventually all (or most of) your books will get read.
The challenge: set aside a certain number of minutes each morning (you choose how many), and actually read a book during that session.
- I decided to set aside 30 minutes every morning.
- I set a daily reminder to do that.
- When the reminder goes off, I actually clear away distractions and read for 30 minutes. (Note: I can still read more at other times during the day.)
- Each week, I report to others whether I did it or not.
If I stick to this challenge, I will have read for 15 hours (at least). That’s probably enough for 4 books, for me. At the end of a year of doing this daily habit, I’ll have read nearly 50 books. I know many people read more than that, but that would completely clear off my reading list. (I also know some books are 2-3x as long as the average book, but I’m happy with getting 30-40 books read in a year.)
So are you up for the challenge?
Here’s how you do it:
- Commit to the challenge (#readingeveryday on Twitter, or wherever you’d like to publicly commit).
- Pick a number of minutes you want to read. If you don’t read right now, pick 15-20 minutes. If you read a lot, pick 45-60 minutes.
- Pick a time to do it in the morning (preferably). Set a reminder for that time.
- When the reminder goes off, clear everything away and read without distractions, without switching to something else, just reading. (It helps to let others nearby to know you’re in “non-interruptable reading time” if you can.)
- Report to someone each week, sharing your successes, obstacles, adjustments for the coming week. You can report on Twitter or Facebook with the #readingeveryday hashtag, or join my Sea Change Program to do the challenge with me.
Also pick what books you want to read this month (2-5 books)!
What would it change for you if you did this?
If you’re not willing to set aside this time, can you let go of all or most of the books on your reading list?
Join My Reading Challenge
I’d love it if you joined me in this challenge by signing up for my Sea Change Program, where I’ve issued the Daily Reading Challenge.
In Sea Change, we will:
- Commit to this challenge to each other, and report on it each Monday.
- Have a live video webinar on the Zen of Reading in Solitude (Sat. Aug. 18), where you can ask me questions.
- Give you 3-4 articles (written by me) to support your reading challenge.
- Celebrate our wins together!