As a reader, I can confirm that letting life and work duties steal all of the time I’d like to use to sit down with a book can start to eat away at my happiness. Reading is important to me, and according to multiple sources, it’s good for pretty much everyone else, too; it broadens our knowledge base, increases our vocabulary, and lets our imagination off an often too-tight leash.
That said, I’m as guilty as anyone of thinking that if I don’t have a couple of hours to commit to a book, there’s no point in getting into a story for a couple dozen pages.
Well, I’m wrong – and if you’ve been eschewing that book on your nightstand for the same reason, so are you.
Naomi S Baron, a linguistics professor at American University in Washington, D.C., says that setting and following through with a goal of reading just 15 pages a day accomplishes several things.
First, if reading a whole book seems like an uphill climb to you, the modest time commitment tricks your brain by breaking it into manageable chunks, meaning you’re more likely to finish the book.
Second, adding reading into your daily routine creates a habit, and as with anything you want to do, practice makes perfect. The habit makes it easier to maintain focus and to keep up with the plot, character, and themes – whereas reading a hundred pages now, and fifty more in a month when you have some more “free” time, lends itself to forgetting what had happened.
Dr. Baron also recommends reading an actual, physical book as opposed to a digital or audio copy for two reasons: first, you’ll be less tempted to click off your book screen to check sports scores, Facebook notifications, or any of the other million notifications that could pop up during the fifteen minutes you’re supposed to be reading.
Second, being able to pinch the fifteen pages between your fingers, to physically see what you’ve done, allows for a sense of accomplishment – in this life, no small benefit, let me tell you.
You made a commitment. You followed through. Pat yourself on the back every single day.
Take the pledge, follow through for a month, and see how you feel!
There’s really nothing to lose.