It's been a long-time goal to read 100 books – let alone in 1 year. Surely I've read close to 100 books over my lifetime. Although, I didn't track this type of data until approximately eight years ago.
In 2021 my schedule was quite full to the brim! Between working full-time, then transitioning to consulting, running my company Frauvis, working at Diversify Tech, short-term contracts, and CISSP studying – reading 50 books (my original goal) seemed nearly impossible.
🤷🏾♀️How Did I Do It?
I don't have compulsory responsibilities such as being a parent or caretaker or a college student. I have full control over my schedule except having a "flexible" 9-5. And most of all, I don't watch TV unless it's Real Housewives or The Black List, and I ONLY watch these shows 1 episode at a time during lunch and dinner.
🎧 + 📖 Audio and Kindle
As someone who feels particularly embarrassed about Dyslexia but embraces ADHD, I undoubtedly have a tough time physically reading. Reading physical books is tough because I have to use my finger and glasses to follow along word by word. My ADHD brain HATES how long this takes. Therefore, I use audiobooks to listen to Kindle books as a companion and highlight specific text.
I typically listen to audiobooks on Audible and Libby. I've actively worked my way up to listening and comprehending using 2.5-3.5x speed settings. Regarding PDFs and Kindle books, I use the accessibility feature text-to-speech on 2x speed. I've recently jumped back on the Speechify bandwagon, as it provides better features around speed, voice, and highlighting text as it's being read aloud.
Choosing a time to listen and stop for note-taking are probably the most important parts of the audiobook experience! Here are the best times to listen to and NOT to listen to audiobooks:
✅ showering & physical maintenance
✅ cleaning; washing dishes, mopping, etc
✅ while doing work that doesn't require detail and attention
🚫 while doing work tasks that require thinking and attention
🚫 when you are supposed to be doing something of high priority (you'll be thinking about your work & not LISTENING)
What was important to me was not how many books I read but the quality of books. This is why I frankly started the year with a goal of 50 books. I worked on Retention by taking notes, highlighting, tagging, then revisiting key points using Readwise, Memex, and Shortform.