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Blog Post Reading

How To Read 3 Books Every Month And Not Go Crazy

Reading 3 books a month may seem daunting at first. However, with discipline and a good system, you can read at least 3 books every month and not go crazy at the same time. Reading helps you to learn more, be encouraged, challenged, and ultimately grow not only in knowledge but also in wisdom.

To be able to read at least 3 books a month, I must give you a small mathematical view that helped me, personally, to put this into perspective. When I realized how easy this was just based on pure statistics and numbers, then the idea of reading more every month did not seem too intimidating anymore.

The mathematical perspective

Here is how it works:

  1. A month contains an average of 30 days.
  2. An average nonfiction book has 60,000 words.
  3. The average person reads 238 words per minute.

Divide the 60,000 words in the book by the average 238 words per minute that the average user reads, and you get; 252 minutes. Now convert 252 minutes to hours, and you get; 4.2 hours.

And there you go. The average nonfiction book would take about 4 hours to be read. Think about that and then compare 4 hours with 30 days in the month. When you look at it this way, it becomes a bit easier to see how it is actually possible to squeeze 4 hours in the whole month to read just one book.

The system

Now that we have a perspective of how easy this could be by just having a different perspective on the amount of time reading a book could take, all we need to do is to come up with a system that will help us accomplish this every month.

I believe that if you come up with a simple and effective system that can help you read the three books per month, it will keep you accountable and motivated throughout the process.

Since everyone has different schedules and priorities throughout the day, it would be impossible to come up with a system that works for every single person.

Maybe you can comment below on what system helps you personally to read more.

However, here is the one that works for me. I think it’s wide enough to be adaptable to almost every schedule, maybe with a few modifications.

The overview

To make it a bit more fair, let’s just say that the books you will be reading are at least 6 hours long. If you read 30 minutes a day, then you will be done with one book in 12 days.

If you start another book then it would take you another 12 days. And now, you are 24 days into the month having already read 2 full books, with only 30 minutes of daily reading. Not only are you reading and getting all the benefits of what reading provides, but you are also training your brain to read every day, and by doing so you are killing two birds with one stone.

So, now you are done with 2 books, and it’s been only 24 days of the month. How do you get the 3rd book in? You listen to it using something like audible.

An audiobook will also be around 4 to 6 hours, which you can listen to while exercising, or washing the dishes, or cooking, or driving in traffic.

If you live in a city where traffic is part of your daily life, then you can easily finish an audiobook in a few days. I used to drive to work and be stuck in traffic for a total of 1 hour (going into work and out of work). This means that in 1 week, I was already done with one audiobook. With this in mind, I could have listened to 4 audiobooks every month (1 per week).

I would not do that because you also want to give yourself time to process everything you have learned, and not fill your mind with too much information for the sake of just mindlessly gathering information.

But there you have it. That would complete the 3 books for the month.

Just to recap; read 30 minutes a day and in around 24 days you will have read 2 full books, during this time as you go on your daily activities like driving, exercising, etc. You read an audiobook. Total of 3 books for the whole month.

Now, here is a simple and effective system that I personally use that helps me accomplish the above:

Prepare

The first thing I do is to prepare. I try the best I can to select the books I will be reading that month and buy them.

This helps me stay accountable to those books for the month, and it doesn’t allow me to waste time waiting for the books to arrive in the mail. So that as soon as I am done reading one book, I can jump into the other one.

When you start reading a lot, you will start creating some type of wish list where you can see all the books you want to read. Here is my public Amazon Wishlist. In preparation for that month, I always go to this list first and select the books I will be reading.

This doesn’t have to be rigid or strict though. Sometimes I select the three books I will be reading, but in the middle of the month I end up reading an entirely different book. It usually happens when I am motivated by a specific topic or theme. Or maybe something I hear moves me to read something else, etc.

Even though selecting your books is important, what is more important is the idea of just preparing as much as you can so that you can have a vision of how your reading will look like for the month.

Schedule

The second thing I do is to schedule my reading time. You have to be intentional with your time. While this is not a post about time management, what is important to note here is that, when you schedule something—and you discipline yourself to always stay in course with your schedule—you will make your reading time obvious, and when it’s obvious, you are reminded that sometime in your day you will need to read. I wrote about this here.

Enjoy

And lastly, I always make time to remind myself to enjoy what I am reading. The first two help me to stay accountable, but this last one helps me to stay motivated.

I do this by highlighting and taking notes of quotes or statements I read in the book. I then transfer all those notes and highlights to a database I created to keep these nuggets of wisdom for future use.

Also, I make sure that one of the books I am reading (usually the audiobooks), are books that are more for pleasure purposes, than for learning purposes. This helps to keep a healthy balance between reading content you want to learn, and content you want to enjoy.

This is another reason why I like to make audiobooks the books that I want to enjoy. I don’t want to take notes or highlight anything, I just want to hear what the book has to say because I enjoy that type of content. I love listening to autobiographies, or thriller novels, or true stories of survival, and even fiction. Because of the type of content these books contain, it’s easy to just listen to it while you are cooking, or running, or driving, etc.

To recap: prepare by selecting books beforehand, schedule your reading time so that you can stay accountable, and finally find ways to enjoy what you are reading so that you can stay motivated.

A few more comments

I just want to make a few comments that I think are necessary.

Keep in mind that while this works for me, it may not work for you. You may not drive to work so you cannot listen to the audiobook at that time, in that case, you may have to adjust and find ways that work for you; maybe while cooking or washing dishes and cleaning. I know some of you may have children and find it hard to find time to read. Maybe you can read while the kids are taking a nap, etc. The bottom line is that there is always time, we just have to either find it in places that are wasting our current time or making the time in places that are not so much of a priority.

As mentioned above, I’d be very interested in hearing what you do to get more reading done. Maybe what system you use or what motivates you, etc. Comment here 👉

Also, while this blog is about how to read 3 books a month, it doesn’t have to be 3 books. Some of you may find it easier to start with maybe one book a month, and that is great! The point is to start and also to stay committed to reading. Sometimes you will read only 1 book, or sometimes you will read more than 3. Again, the issue here is not so much how many books you can read, but creating the habit of reading.

Remember not to be too rigid and hard on yourself to try and hit the 3 books a month. Sometimes you will need to drop a book and stop reading it if it’s not beneficial to you. One of the best things I’ve learned is to know when to quit reading a book you are not enjoying.

One last thing; too much information can also be bad. The wisest human to ever exist once said, “If you find honey, eat just enough– too much of it, and you will vomit.” (Proverbs 25:16). Too much intake without and outlet is also wrong. So make sure that what you learn you share with others, or write thoughts in a journal, teach a Bible study, or post in your social media, etc.

What do you think? What are you doing to get more done? What are some of the things that you believe are stopping you from reading more every month? Maybe we can all pitch in a few thoughts here and there and help in any way we can. Comment below, or on the little green box on the side of this paragraph. I’d love to hear from you!

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Blog Post Devotional

Set Your Heart on Seeking God

“He did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord.” — 2 Chr. 12:14

Have you ever thought about what people will say when you die? The content of your eulogy, we usually think, is a description of the best days we had on earth. We tend to think that people will remember us based on all the good things we did. However, this was not the case for king Rehoboam, son of King Salomon. At the end of his life, we find in 1 Chronicles an editorial comment by the author of this historical account, his take on the life of Rehoboam; “He did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord.”

Here is what I think we can learn from this description:

When the Bible says, “he did evil”, it should suffice to conclude that this person, well, did evil and that this is clearly a bad thing. It’s already something useful to know about this king. We can safely conclude that we should make sure we don’t end up like him, and at the same time, not do the things this person did that landed him in this debacle.

The Bible, however, goes beyond this, and gives us a description of the single most important thing and characteristic of his life that led Rehoboam to obtain the tag of “evil”… the Bible says, “he did evil, because…” here is the reason why:

… he did not set his heart on seeking the Lord.

What your heart seeks or loves is usually what you worship, and as a result, it is also who you really are. If your heart seeks anything in a higher capacity than it does God, inevitability, it will lead to evilness since it’s only in God that we get our standard of goodness. St. Augustine said, “For when we ask whether somebody is a good person, we are not asking what he believes or hopes for, but what he loves.” So that at the end of the road the question that matters is, what is your heart seeking the most that you love the most? Notice the scripture says, “he did not set his heart…” It’s one thing to believe what you think you love or seek, it’s another thing to realize what it really is that your heart loves and seeks. Sin and evilness are expressions of our loves outside the order of the love structured in God, who is the very definition of good and love.

There are two things that we must be sure to pay attention to if we do not want to fall prey to evilness in our lives; first, you must “set your heart” and second, you must “seek the Lord”. Setting your heart is a style-of-living phrase. It is possible to “seek the Lord” without having the “heart” set to seek the Lord. Setting our hearts means that we must make sure that our whole strength, mind, and heart are set to constantly and consistently seek the ways of the Lord.

We can do things that feel like we are “seeking God” but if our hearts are not “set” on the Lord, then the things that we do are religious and shallow. For instance, we can attend church without wanting church to tend to us. We can read the Bible, and at the same time not want the Bible to read us. We can support and advertise all the social justices in the world, without wanting the ultimate Biblical justice of a holy God to carve our hearts. We can have a stance without the substance. And it sure can feel as though we are seeking and serving God, but if our hearts are not constantly and consistently positioned toward him, without exercising our hearts to constantly desire his will, without training our lives to the spiritual disciplines so that we can understand the importance of being one with God, then our worship and service to God can be shallow, and eventually lead to evilness.

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Blog Post Tools

This Tool Will Help You Discover How You Actually Feel

I came across this very useful tool that has been a big help to me, it’s called the Feelings Wheel.

I first saw it here, and I thought it could be useful and helpful, so I am posting it here:

The Feelings Wheel – Click to Enlarge

How The Feelings Wheel can help you personally

As a somehow emotional person, I usually have a hard time describing how I feel

I especially have a hard time knowing what feeling made me feel the way I feel.

In other words, what is the actual root feeling that is contributing to my current feeling?

For instance, when I feel inadequate, now I know that the root cause of this could be insecurity, and the root cause of insecurity is fear.

This tool helps you to determine in more detail where feelings come from, but the same is the other way around.

I may know I feel fearful, but why do I feel fearful?

Looking at the feelings wheel, I can see that it could be because I may be scared, anxious, insecure, weak, rejected, or threatened.

From there, I can see yet a third level of feelings per category.

This could be very useful so that when you are feeling a certain way, you could now start dealing not only with the superficial feeling, but also the root feeling, or vice-versa, you could start dealing with the root feeling, as well as the superficial ones.

How The Feelings Wheel can help you in ministry

Another way this has been useful to me as a minister is that I can add better descriptions in my sermons or studies.

Anytime I am preparing a sermon, there are two main tools I use when it comes to describing feelings:

  1. The book of Psalms
  2. The Feelings Wheel

If I am preaching on hope, then I go here and do a search for anything related to the theme that could assist me in assisting others.

I have found that this helps people. Sometimes they don’t know how they feel, but they know they feel a certain way.

Now, please know that this is not an ironclad feelings list.

It’s not the main authority of the know-it-all-about-your-feelings system. But I think it’s useful nonetheless. Take it for what it’s worth to you.

How are you feeling? How do you think you can use this for yourself, or others? I’d like to know other ideas of how this could be useful. Comment below 👇

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Blog Post Character Endurance Formation Perseverance

God Goes Invisible When We Need Him The Most

John the Baptist is without a doubt one of the greatest to have ever lived. Jesus himself said:

“Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:11)

Surely Jesus is very keen of John the Baptizer. In one occasion the Lord himself submitted under the hands of this man to be baptized, and the Bible tells us that John was the trailblazer, preparing the way for Jesus’ ministry – the greatest ministry to ever exist.

Greatness will always find its own opposition, and John the Baptizer found it from the highest government officials of those days. As a result, they put him in prison.

When John was put in prison, it dawned on him that now he was the one to be baptized… baptized into the waters of darkness, loneliness, and despair.

It is here where you can see the fire of John diminish. The wild-ness of his character become tamed. And the unmovable boldness of his message become shaken and doubtful.

Yes, doubt found its way into the inner chamber of his thoughts.

From prison, he sent his disciples to ask Jesus:

“Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”

John, you baptized the Messiah! You saw the dove descent on him, you heard the voice of the almighty putting his stamp of approval on Jesus. You said, “behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” When Jesus asked you to baptize him, you said, “I need to be baptized by you, and you come to me?” You found it an honor to baptize the saviour of the world. You know this is the one who was to come, the prophesied Messiah. Why are you asking this question?

Well, it would seem to me that based on this question, even the greatest succumb to the stings of suffering.

A prison of any kind has been known to liberate your doubts while keeping you detained.

John realized that if Jesus was the true Messiah, surely he would take notice of John being imprisoned. How could the Christ not help his friend? How could the Christ not rescue the greatest man that had ever lived? The preparer of the way. The prophet. The second Elijah. Not to mention that he was also a close friend.

Jesus is healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, helping the lame to walk, the lepers are cleansed, the mute can speak, the deaf are hearing, the dead are rising, and the good news are being preached to the poor, but he is not saving his friend from prison? The one who prepared the way for the very message that is saving people is now in need of salvation, yet Jesus doesn’t liberate him.

What do you do when God doesn’t show up?

Well, I will tell you what Jesus told John.

Jesus tells John the Baptist’ disciples to tell John in prison the following:

“Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk…”

And then he adds,

“And blessed is he who does not take offense at me.”

In other words, “Report to John that I am the Messiah” and then he adds this “But please make sure to tell him, blessed is anyone who does not take offense at me.”

Why would Jesus add this? If he is not going to save him from prison, why add this last part?

You see, when things don’t go our way, we must not take offense at Christ, for he is sovereign.

We may be missionaries of the greatest message of all, and proclaiming the saving work of Christ to those who’s life is in bondage, but when we ourselves experience issues, pain, persecution, and even incarceration, and yet God doesn’t liberate us, let us remember that,

“blessed is he who does not take offense at me.”

Memorize this. Take it to heart. Let it take root into your heart.

“blessed is he who does not take offense at me.”

Many people take offense at Christ when he doesn’t meet their expectations. They leave the faith. They fall to the side.

But why expect God to meet every single one of our expectations? Is he supposed to accommodate to us? Is God not enough for us? Salvation from prisons, persecutions, setbacks, pain, and suffering is not comparable to God himself. Is God not good enough for us anymore?

Memorize it.

“blessed is he who does not take offense at me.”

Notice what it says:

“Blessed”

Jesus previously gave us a three-chapter long sermon that started with the beatitudes, which is a description of the righteous life.

Every beatitude starts with, “blessed”.

But here is another beatitude, “blessed… is he who does not take offense at Me.” (emphasis mine).

Blessed are you when you suffer well, and don’t take offense at Christ for things not going your way.

Are you looking for practical ways to cope with this reality?

I find it hard to come up with some. But I can tell you what John the Baptist did. He remained faithful to his call, even in prison.

Three chapters after hearing Jesus’ beatitude. John the Baptist dies. But before they put him to death, the Bible shows us that John kept on telling Herod that what he was doing (trying to sleep with his brother’s wife), was wrong.

There is not much we know, but we know this for sure. John, kept on preaching the message of repentance. This was the message he had been preaching all along not caring if it was a message of repentance to the king or to the peasant. He preached.

John was faithful to his call. He was probably still confused, he was probably still doubtful, but at the same time, he was still faithful.

May the perseverance that John the baptist expressed be a testimony for all of us in moments of doubt, and distress. May we continue to remain in the ways of the Lord simply because He is, and not because of what he has done or hasn’t done yet.

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Blog Post Character Endurance Perseverance

A Missional Analysis of Joseph Regarding Pain And Brokenness

In my seminary class, we are currently talking about missions. We have been doing a small but helpful exercise; read the Bible through the lens of what God is doing regarding missions.

After our reading assignment, we have to write a missional analysis of the scripture we read.

This little exercise has been helpful to say the least. It has opened my eyes to be able to see beyond what we would just glean from a natural and linear reading of scripture, and instead, it has allowed me to see scripture from behind the scenes and try to understand how God could be seeing things from his end.

I thought I’d share this missional analysis I did of Genesis chapters 37-45. This is basically the story of Joseph. I hope this helps and blesses you as much as it helped me.


In the story of Joseph, we see the sovereignty and provision of God in our missionary work. As ambassadors of God to a mostly hostile world, we set foot into unknown territories of spiritual dimensions, the likes of which are difficult to describe.

For we are obeying and following the commands of a God we cannot physically see, going to a place we cannot totally discern—just as the little boy who was loved by his father was sent to deliver food to his brothers, so are we, sent by our Father to feed people with living bread—the unknown here is not so much the destination, but rather what happens during the journey and what will happen when you reach the destination itself. It’s like stepping into a dark room where you do not know what you are stepping on.

We hope for the reconciliation of people to a holy God, using a message we did not create, delivering it to a people we do not attract, instructing them to do something they do not want to do. Needless to say, many times discouragement and disillusionment can come to the missionary that is received with unmet expectations, broken promises, and many types of persecutions.

Joseph was thrown into a pit, sold into slavery, mistreated and accused, and put behind bars. With this type of persecution, we could easily excuse ourselves to retract our missionary work, but a true Christian will at least understand two things using Joseph The Missionary as an exemplar; first, that God is sovereign in his dealings of situations, and secondly, that God is providential in his process of dealing with situations.

This is how I believe Joseph was able to say to his brothers after revealing that he was the second most powerful person in Egypt and possibly the world at that time; “God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

Joseph was a deliverer to his brothers and family, but we have someone better and greater, a missionary from heaven; Jesus who came from the linage of one of the brothers that was saved by Joseph; Judah.

And now Jesus sends us all to continue the mission of reconciling people to himself, understanding that though many troubles will come and many issues will arise, we can safely and boldly say:

So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God.

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Blog Post Productivity Reading Tools

5 Things You Can Do to Create a Habit of Reading

Buying a book is the best investment you can make. I have built two businesses because of the inspiration I got from books. I have grown in several areas of my life just from nuggets I get from the pages of some of the most amazing books out there. Therefore, creating a habit of reading in your life is one of the most important things you can do. This is why Walt Disney said:

“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.”

However, reading is usually not a habit that is found in the average American nowadays. For we have been conditioned to learn more from movies, T.V. shows, music, and pretty much anything that can think on our behalf, and at the same time be entertaining.

Yet reading still remains the number one method to learn something, and increase your capacity to think, be creative, and overall lead your life to success. With a little bit of intentionality, and desire, I believe that anyone can create a habit of reading books.

How to build a habit in 4 steps

Before I move onto some of the practical things you can do to foster a habit of reading in your life, I want to first briefly give an overview of the steps required to create a habit of reading. I believe that understanding this is the key for successfully creating an actual habit.

These 4 steps are taken from the amazing and useful book by James Clear, called Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones. In my opinion, this is the best book on anything related to creating good habits.

Here are the 4 steps that will help you create good habits, and bad ones too!

1. Cue – Make it obvious

2. Craving – Make it attractive

3. Response – Make it easy

4. Reward – Make it satisfying

Habits are effortless when you hit all these 4 laws or steps. As you try to create a better habit of reading, keep these 4 laws in mind. The list below are some practical ways that have helped me personally with creating this habit. I will also place them under one of the 4 laws aforementioned so that you can see how they fit into the framework for creating habits.

Here are the first 5 things you can do to create a habit of reading:

Cue – Make it obvious

1. Set a specific time ahead

You have to be intentional with your time. While this is not a post about time management, what is important to note here is that, when you schedule something – and you discipline yourself to always stay in course with your schedule, you will make your reading time obvious.

My personal reading schedule - notice the highlighted fields.
My personal reading schedule – notice the highlighted fields.

The image above is my personal schedule entry for this item. Notice the highlighted fields. When I schedule my personal reading time, I make sure that I tell it a time, and a location. I also make sure that the entry is on repeat every day, and to show me as busy.

By scheduling your reading time, you will know ahead of time that you are going to read. It’s like if you are telling yourself that you will have a meeting with a book. In fact, that is indeed how it should be. Schedule a meeting with your book.

Craving – Make it attractive

2. Read what you can & enjoy

There are two things here:

Read what you can

This is very important, especially if you are just starting.

Read what you can. Don’t try to pick up Shakespeare, or Don Quixote, or some really difficult book just because everyone says that you have to read it – because it’s life changing or something.

While that may be true, if you are just starting to get into the rhythm of reading, you may want to start slow. Unfortunately, this happened to me and I realized that the books I was trying to read were too difficult to me.

In fact, here is a little bit about me — I was not born in the U.S.A, and English was not my first language. Not only that, but I also grew up having never read a single book! When I moved to the United States, I was 17 years old. I remember going to the Library in High School, and taking a reading test. The results showed a yellow color which meant that I could only checkout books with a yellow sticker on them.

That yellow color was an indication of my reading level. As a 17 yr. old in High School, I was only able to checkout 3rd. grade level books like Dr. Seuss and even here, I would not be able to finish a single book of his.

I started reading several years later but that experience in High School was a turning point in my life. So I learned to read easier, longer, and eventually I read great books! I fostered the discipline to stick to a schedule (coming up on point #4), and soon after, I was averaging 30 books a year.

Here are some suggestions for easier reads if you are interested:

As a Man Thinketh – James Allen

The Tale of Three Kings – Gene Edwards

The Prisoner in The Third Cell – Gene Edwards

Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl

One more thing you can do is to try an Audio Book. Having someone read the book for you, especially if you drive a lot, is such a blessing! But you know what is even better? What if you could have someone read you the book and you can follow along? 😮

Yep! That is possible if you have a Kindle and Audible. You can purchase the e-Book + Audible and … magic.

So, to summarize all this, just start with reading what you can.

Read what you enjoy

Now let me be the first one to tell you what to read – I have so many recommendations. You may be interested in a specific subject that you want to learn about, but you just can’t enjoy reading about it, at least not yet. It’s not true that you have to sacrifice your eyes, mental strength and life just to stick through one of those books.

There is a particular subject that I am really interested in, but I just cannot read that subject right now. For some reason, and in all honesty, I just don’t enjoy reading them. That subject is Sociology. But I hope that I can get there, as I continue to read and create a habit of reading, my reading capabilities will be stronger and stronger and I will eventually be able to read subjects I could not have read before, like Sociology.

I know this to be true because the same happened to me not that long ago with another particular subject, Apologetics. I was very interested in learning this subject a few years ago, I read 1 chapter of a book, and didn’t enjoy it. I dropped it, and moved on. However, while using these 5 methods, as well as a few others (look out for part 2 of how to create good reading habit) I am happy to announce that just last year I have read at least 7 books on the subject!

What I am trying to say is: just find something that you enjoy reading. Something that is interesting to YOU! As you continue to read, your mental and reading muscles will get stronger and you will eventually be able to handle any topic out there.

When you read what you can, you will find it easy to read.

When you read what you enjoy, you will find it pleasurable and enriching.

In either way, the point is to have fun reading, and that requires, at least in part that your reading is easy and pleasurable.

Response – Make it easy

3. Create a wishlist

Creating a habit of reading will also require to make it easy to read. I already mentioned, that you can start by reading something that you can. But there are other practical things you can do, like making sure you have a wishlist, and sticking to it.

This is something very simple, yet very powerful.

Another thing you can do to create a habit of reading in your life is to make a suggested reading list. For example, as you are reading a particular book, there are usually other books mentioned that you may be interested in reading. Some of those books are found as part of the main content, others are mentioned as footnotes, bibliography, etc. If you are reading something that is really interesting to you, I highly suggest that you also read what the author themselves read — simply add that book to your suggested reading list or “wishlist” and when you are done with the book you are currently reading, you already have your next book in line.

This way, you also don’t waste time trying to find something else to read lest you get derailed and stop reading all together.

In my opinion, the best place to create a wishlist is Amazon. But you can use whatever you want. Notion, Evernote, a Post-it Note, etc. As long as you have one, it doesn’t matter. It would be helpful to note which books from your list are in stock so that you can purchase the book right away. That way by the time you are done with your current book, the other one is already on its way.

4. Create a Reading Schedule

This is different than scheduling time to read (point #1). When you schedule time to read, you are basically adding to your calendar the time and place where you will be reading. Having an actual Reading Schedule, is on a per book basis, and is viewing your book from 1000 feet above. The Reading Schedule will tell you when to begin reading and when you will be done reading the book. Stick to the schedule and you will be on your way to not only finishing the book, but creating the habit along the way.

This was a life changer for me. I do this for pretty much all my books.

I am now going to share with you all exactly what I do. When I’m going to start reading a book, I start by adding the book information to my Book Database — I personally use Notion. Here is an article I wrote about how I use this app.

Once the book is added to my database, I create the schedule. Here is what it looks like:

Reading Schedule in Notion - Guillermo

Every field in the schedule is important and useful. I highly recommend this system. Here is how this system helps me:

  1. It keeps me accountable
    • When the book information goes into my database, something registers in my mind that tells me that now I am accountable to read it since not only is the book in the database Column of “In Progress” —I don’t like to see things in “Progress”, I like to see them “Completed”— but there is also a schedule with an actual end-date waiting for me.
  2. It keeps me focused
    • Because there is an actual schedule with a number of pages to read, it helps me stay focused on just reading what is required to complete the reading for that day.
  3. It keeps me organized
    • Organization is important to make things easy, and once again, making it easy is one of the 4 laws of creating a habit. Over-organization can actually make things harder too, so you need to do what you feel is best for you. For me, this system has been a blessing.
  4. It motivates me every-time I check the “completed” checkbox
    • Having an “achiever” personality, it feeds my ego every time I click on that “completed” checkbox. Quite simply, It motivates me for the next day.
  5. It allows me to see how long it will take me to read a book
    • Because I scheduled the entire book ahead of time, I can see when I am going to finish reading it. So it gives me time to stay true to my previous point about creating a wishlist — as I am approaching the last days of reading the book, the schedule allows me to see when I will finish it, and usually about 4 days before I will be finishing the book, I order the next one off my Amazon wishlist. This way, the new book arrives by the time I am finishing off the current book.

To make it even easier for you, I have created a template of my Reading Schedule. I made it even easier by providing you with three different versions of this template; Notion, Evernote, and PDF.

To get these templates for free simply fill the information below and you will receive an email with them.

Signup and instantly receive a Reading Schedule template 👇

Reward – Make it satisfying

5. Invest in Tools that Encourage Reading

The last point is to make sure it’s satisfying. And this can be several things, like rewarding yourself with your favorite food, or going out with friends, etc. Whatever you usually don’t do that you would only do if you wanted to reward yourself.

Personally, I try to make this step intentional. I reward myself by purchasing gadgets or things that will encourage me to read more.

Here are a few things that I have purchased myself that have encouraged me to continue reading, and at the same time motivate me to continue reading using these tools.

Kindle Paperwhite

This one here took me about 2 years to get. I could have gotten it some time ago, but I hesitated mainly because I enjoy reading from physical books themselves. However, I found that reading off of an actual book reader (not an iPad, or phone) was not that bad, and in fact was very practical. Now, I really enjoy it and at times I don’t even notice that I am reading off a piece of technology and not an actual physical book.

Therefore, the convenience of having this tool has been so rewarding to me.

First, highlighting and note taking is on another level. Because highlighting in a digital form rather than a physical one allows you to move those highlights even faster, it allows me to export those highlights, and then put them in my Notes & Highlights Database directly.

Also, the fact that I can take a full library anywhere. This is a big blessing.

Scan Marker

This is a good one. Especially if you read non-fiction and you do a lot of notes and highlights.

Here’s what I used to do before I had this tool: whenever I read something I liked I would highlight it. Then I specifically would make a note of why that passage triggered me to highlight it. After that, I would add a note of tags or topics that that highlight touched on (i.e. Leadership, Generosity, History, Pain, Suffering, etc). So then after a few days, or sometimes a few weeks, I would re-visit that book and would transfer every highlight and notes to my Book Notes Database. I would literally type every single highlight! (or should I say, I used to?…)

It wasn’t until I discovered this amazing, time saving, and practical little tool. It basically allows you to scan the passages you want to “highlight.” It’s better if I show you what I mean:

Video taken from developer’s website

Yep. You can thank me later for that.

Go buy it here.

Book-Bone Holder

This is a simple one, but I wanted to add this tool here because I wanted to show you that your reward doesn’t have to be expensive. (Even a cool book mark, a reading light, a mug, etc. can be a reward!) Your reward could be something so simple but oh, so useful!

However you feel that you could make your reading experience rewarding, THAT is what matters. Keep in mind that was is celebrated is often repeated!

Bonus

6. Know when to quit

I put this one as a bonus because I just could not leave it to the side, and I think it’s important.

When I first started reading aggressively, for some weird reason, I thought I had to actually read every single word from the book I was holding – Even those books that I did not enjoy.

Not only was I not enjoying the book, I was not having fun, and because I was not having fun, I would not pay attention, and then soon after, I would realize that I was half way through the book and I had no idea what I was reading the entire time (like some of you with this blog post.) I was wasting my time, and my focus. Overall, I was not benefiting from the book at all. Why put yourself through something like that?

It just doesn’t work.

I currently have a full column in my database of books I drop.

So, don’t feel like you have to read every book. This would defeat the second point I mentioned.

Once again, it’s important to foster a spirit of reading in your life. Here’s the importance; little by little your reading (and for that matter your writing) will get better and better, and sooner than later you will notice that you will be able to read even the books you dropped! – of course, that is if you still want to read them.

A habit worth fostering

To finish, I just want to encourage you to really give this a try. I hope that these few points may be of some help to you. If anything, I hope that it led to some new ideas of your own. The overlying fact here is that creating a habit of reading is what’s most important.

Whatever you do to start creating this habit, do it consistently, and with discipline. If you do this, you will be on your way to a better and more enriched life.