I officially start work in the “Real World” 1 month from today. My current worry is that I won’t reach my goals I set for myself before starting; most importantly, finish my reading goal. I entered post-grad want to read at least 8 books before starting. Halfway through my time off, I realized the only headway I made on reading was checking out recipes. Whoops.
Growing up, I was always a reader. In middle school, I competed in Battle of the Books (it’s how I became really close to my now roommate, Nicole). In high school, Nicole and I dressed up for the premieres of everything for the 7th Harry Potter book. You could always find me with a book to read when I was finished with my work.
Somehow, I lost all of that in college. It could be slightly blamed on the 400-level History course I was enrolled in during my first semester of freshman year. Regardless, reading the latest book was something I longed for. So, I decided to make more of an effort to read.
Making Time for Reading
1. Enroll in Good Read’s Reading Challenge
Somehow, I discovered Good Read’s 2016 reading challenge almost halfway through the year. There’s nothing to quite kick you into gear other than realizing you’re halfway through your time limit and making ZERO progress. So I set the goal to read 50 books this year.
Yes, this is a total stretch. For me, it was something to work for. I’ve noticed I want to finish a book just as quickly, simply to log it. Those library summer programs as a kid really stuck. Post grad is kind of the same thing, without the fun prizes and stamps.
2. Set time in your schedule to read
At the beginning of every week, I set aside goals for what I want to accomplish each day. Some things faded to the side quickly, like attending the gym every day. Some things stuck, like entering my food into MyFitnessPal. One of my first goals this summer was to read at least 30 minutes every day.
Working towards this goal, I made my friends more aware. When traveling, it gave each of us time to ourselves to recoup. Plus, my boyfriend loves that he gets at least 30 minutes to play video games each day while I read.
3. Turn off the TV
Throughout college, I was the black sheep among my friends for not owning a TV. For me, it was somewhat normal because I didn’t really watch TV growing up. This contrasted greatly with my friends who fell asleep to the TV every night.
I found not owning a TV, or choosing not to watch it often, really opened up my time for other things. If you find yourself binging on one-too-many Netflix marathons, try finding a book in a similar genre!
4. Sign up for an Overdrive (or similar) Account
Overdrive is one of the coolest features of the American Public Library system that so many people don’t know about! Basically, it’s a giant online library for e-Books. Once you download a book through your public library, it sends it to your Kindle or other e-reading devices. When your loan expires, it automatically removes it from your device.
This saved me so much time from going to the library (and eventually acquiring overdue fines)! I simply log into my Goodreads account and copy the title into Overdrive. The system then tells me if it’s available at one of the libraries you’re set up with!
(Hint: Use your college town, hometown, and new town’s system for maximum availability!)
5. Find a good book list
Part of why I wasn’t reading was because I had fallen out of touch with what I wanted to read. I was reading textbooks day in and day out, non-fiction about the business world was the last thing I wanted to read. After I hit my last exam week, I found the reading lists of Bill Gates, Rory Gilmore, Forbes, Entrepreneur, and a few others.
I then requested everything I could find on my reading list through my public library. As things become more available, I have a constant stream of new books already queued up!
Here: you’ll find my Summer Reading List for Post Grads!