Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Finding The Time

The usual response I get from most people when they learn how much I read is something along the lines of "I wish I had the time..." This used to annoy me because the implication, of course, was that I had nothing else to do and in fact, I'm just as busy as everyone else with a full-time (and I mean full-time!) job as a teacher and an old house which takes a lot of upkeep and a family (albeit grown-up) and two dogs.  Well you get the picture.  

One statistic I came across whilst reading Mini-Habits by Stephen Guise was that the average reading speed is 300 words per minute and, at that speed, reading for an hour a day will result in getting through 6,570,000 words a year which equates to 131 50,000 word books.  Put like that then my 80 book challenge looks wimpy!

I thought I'd investigate this further so took an online speed reading test. This tested non-fiction reading and I did it on my iPhone, so on a very small screen.  My result was 400 words per minute with a 91% retention rate.  I was quite impressed with this which means my hour a day habit should get me through 175 books a year.  Obviously 50,000 words is a pretty short book, and I do take notes as a I read when I'm doing my hour-a-day non-fiction reading, but even so my target of 30 non-fiction books should be easy.

I haven't done a fiction speed reading test but I'm pretty sure that my speed for reading fiction on paper is considerably faster - probably nearer 600.  One reason I prefer to read non-fiction on my iPhone is because it slows me down so that I take in more which is not an issue with fiction.  Novels are nearer 100,000 words than 50,000 so, at that speed, spending half an hour reading before bed every day (not counting some days in the summer when I have been known to read for 5 or 6 hours straight!) I should manage 65 books.  I'm beginning to think I've set my target far too low.

When do I read?

Reading non-fiction (and writing about it) is part of my Miracle Morning routine.  I get up at 5.00am, have a few minutes quiet, record what I ate the day before, do my exercise routine and then spend an hour on the non-fiction.

Fiction is my passion and I could not even think about going to sleep if I hadn't read for at least half an hour before bed.  I rarely watch television (except Pointless!) although we do occasionally get into a nice Scandi-drama.  And I've given up Candy Crush which is a spectacular waste of time.

So squeezing in an hour and half reading per day is really no hardship and certainly doesn't mean I don't get anything else done.  Now I recognise the "I wish I had the time" comment for what it is, it doesn't stress me out anymore.

I finished Mini Habits today so I'll do a post summing it up tomorrow.  Nearly finished the The Big Mistakes Teachers Make too.

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