How My Reading Habits Have Changed

24 February, 2020

Confession time: I don’t read as much as I used to. There are a lot of reasons for that, ones which used to stress me out. Now, not so much.

As I’ve gotten older (and, I hope, a tiny bit wiser), I’ve been able to adapt my reading habits to my shrinking amounts of time and energy. While my reading schedule probably isn’t optimal (and it’s definitely not perfect), it seems to be working.

During the week, I structure my reading around whatever dead time I have during the day. That includes the daily commute and lunch time. As for what I read during that time, it’s usually longer-form articles and the various email newsletters I subscribe to — thank goodness for read-it-later apps like Omnivore and wallabag. The former, for the most part, go into my curation project called The Monday Kickoff, so that reading does double duty.

When I get home after however many hours at The Day JobTM, I’m out of consume mode and into create mode. Evenings are when I write. The limited time and energy I have makes me stay away from reading just about anything.

But what about books? Those come on the weekends. I try to read at least two chapters of whatever book I’m digging into Saturday and Sunday; often one chapter on Friday evening.

By doing that, I don’t get through many books in a year. At most, maybe 15 or 16. That number depends on the length and depth of the books. Not reading all that many books, especially when you hear about people reading three or four or five times that many in 12 months, doesn’t bother me. Reading isn’t a race. It isn’t about bragging rights. Reading is about enjoyment. It’s about learning. It’s about challenging yourself with new ideas. You can do that just as well with one book as you can with 10.

The only thing I’m not doing enough of is taking notes about what I’m reading, whether it’s an article or a book. Which is strange, seeing as how I have at least one notebook handy at all times. Maybe that’s something to work on in 2020.

Scott Nesbitt