5 Tips to Help You Put Down Your Phone and Start Reading
I hate to start on a cliché (in fact, even prefacing something as cliché seems a bit clichéd), but too much of something is never a good thing. I know social media can be good, but it can also suck a lot of time out of your day.
For those of you interested in easing away from excessive phone use, here are five tips to help you spend less time on your phone and more time reading.
Don’t surround yourself with distractions
I consider myself to have pretty strong self-control. However, I find that when I’m close to things that can distract me, I’m usually defeated. Reading a book by your desk, for example, isn’t really a great idea. An email pops up and suddenly your focus is not on the intricacies of your Phillip Marlowe mystery but the task you will have to complete after lunch.
Finding a quiet spot where you can’t access the infinite opportunities the internet affords is a good idea when you want to read. Turn your Wi-Fi or mobile data off completely and you won’t be tempted to pull your phone out when you feel that leg vibration.
Leave your phone and bring some books inspired by the area you are visiting
Going on holiday? Swap your phone for a book
Given you can now use your phone as a boarding pass, this one might be a bit of a stretch for some people. Add to this the fact that most hotels offer free Wi-Fi, allowing you to show the world just how much fun you had at that foreign landmark a few hours ago, and it may seem a bit too difficult to ditch your phone completely.
But there was a time when holidays were an escape, travelling to less known exciting places without being able to check in on what’s going on at home was nice, and even nicer was having a good book to read by the pool. Even if you’re staying on home shores, leave your phone and bring some books inspired by the area you are visiting. And as a post-holiday treat, bask in the glory of the sheer number of messages, notifications and emails you come home to.
Read on public transport
Again, this may be a bit of a stretch for some people. Anyone who has dealt with a crowded train or a bus filled with passengers suffering from colds, excessively loud eating or just a general lack of self-awareness will admit it can be quite difficult to concentrate on a book. But you can always drown out the world with noise-cancelling headphones (with no music playing) and baffle your fellow travellers with your seemingly flawless multitasking ability.
I spend a lot of time on buses and knowing that I have at least a couple of hours a day to engage in books that I really enjoy makes the commute much more enjoyable.
Read before bed
Lack of sleep is something everybody in the modern world can appreciate. The pace of working life can be too much at times and the thought of the next working day can cause you to lie awake, heart-pounding, for hours after you’ve gone to bed.
Giving yourself something else to focus can go a long way to relaxing your mind and getting a decent night’s sleep. So grab your book and read for a while. It doesn’t matter if it’s not for very long, even 20 minutes would be enough.
Having a book to concentrate on over a week is a great way of keeping your focus on just one thing
Give yourself less to focus on
The sheer scale of content you can engage with online can get overwhelming. Everyone knows the feeling of opening a new tab on your browser and then immediately forgetting why you did so. As somebody with a fairly poor memory I find I can read a really engaging article online and within a few days, have only a dim recollection of it.
Books are longer and you spend much more time interacting with them than you would online content. So having a book to concentrate on over a week or couple of weeks is a great way of keeping your focus on just one thing.
I find I’m much more likely to able to have an engaging conversation with someone about a book over something I’ve read online. You can also pick a list of books that complement each other and read them sequentially.
And finally…walk and read
Now that a good percentage of the population seems to have mastered the art of walking whilst having their faces buried in their phones, why not see if the same talent applies to walking and reading? Perhaps this is a more advanced skill we can all aspire too!
Complete this questionnairre to find out just how much time you could save for reading with a little less phone use.
If you need some inspiration for what to read, why not have a look at our themed book lists?