Last month, the goal I set for myself was to read for 30 minutes a day. As a child, I loved reading. I loved reading so much that my mother started using books as a way to punish me – if I misbehaved, I would be banned from reading. I resorted to reading in the bathroom light after my bedtime, which is probably why I had to end up getting implantable contact lenses. (Or maybe, it’s just genetic!)
Fast forward twenty years later, and I realized I wasn’t reading as much as I used to. My time was spent on social media, hanging out with my friends, or working. It seemed like a huge shame, because if I wasn’t reading, it meant I wasn’t learning. There are so many books out there in world to be devoured, but I was just making excuses and saying I didn’t have time.
So I decided to make time!
I would spend 30 minutes a day for a month reading. I usually read right before bed, because I’d heard that being on your screen right before going bed was bad for you. I figured reading a paperback instead of a hanging onto a screen would be much better for my sleep.
The first day of reading felt a little strange. It felt foreign, snuggling up with a book right before I went to bed. I read for my allotted half an hour before closing my eyes. It felt good, not being stuck on a screen. It was strangely pleasing. It took me back to my childhood, when I often spent my nights reading. Does anyone remember what life was before the Internet?
I was also trying to wake up earlier, and there were days when I managed to wake up a few hours before it was time to get ready for work. There is something extremely enjoyable about waking up to sunlight, and then spending half an hour in bed just reading something really interesting.
Reading is just a great way of opening your mind. Think of it, most of us have the same circle of friends. Perhaps we have two circles of friends, one at work and one outside work. Books allow you to venture further out of the familiarity that is near you. You learn so many things. You escape. You start dreaming. You start getting inspired. Even if you’re not reading anything particularly inspirational, or even a completely trashy novel, you learn something new about how people in other parts of the world behave.
I also feel like reading a book also helps a lot in focusing on one thing at a time. In this digital day and age, we’re often flipping from one window to another, doing different things at the same time. When you have only a book in front of you, it trains you to do only one task at a time, which I have found helps me immensely in my concentration.
Now, I must confess, I did not religiously follow by 30-minute-a-day rule every day. There were days when I read for hours on an end. It’s always difficult to put down a particularly engaging book on weekends. There were days where I got so caught up with work that I didn’t read. I usually tried not to let more than 1 day pass of skipping my reading.
With the 30 minute rule in place, I managed to read four books last month. They’re all pretty much in the same genre and I thoroughly recommend all of them to anyone who’s looking to read something new!
- The Four-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
- The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos & The Age Of Amazon by Brad Stone
- Purple Cow by Seth Godin
- Zero To One by Peter Thiel
I’m really happy I tried this challenge because I felt like I was spending time doing something I loved, and at the same time I was getting some knowledge out of it.
I was also very lucky to meet two guys in Tokyo with very similar reading lists to mine, so it’s been fun exchanging ideas and thoughts about what we read. I find reading so much more enjoyable when I have the opportunity to discuss what I’ve read with friends.
So, I’d highly encourage you to start reading even if you’re not much of a reader. Read anything, as long as you like it! Get some friends who like reading the same kind of books and start a 30 minute reading challenge a day. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy this challenge as much I enjoyed it!
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