The Thirty pages per day project

Although I love reading, I am a notoriously bad reader. This somewhat paradoxical statement has led me to develop the Thirty pages per day project.

My stack of to read books is growing and Im barely making a dent. I have maybe five or six books that Ive started and not finished, and in a couple of those I am at least halfway through. Perhaps its built into my personality as an Enneagram type seven: [Type sevens have a] tendency to believe that something better awaits them, [which] makes them reluctant to narrow down their options or to pursue their aims with true devotion.

Regardless, the Thirty pages per day project is my personal attempt to overcome my reading deficiencies. The process is pretty straightforward: read thirty pages per day from the same book until completion and move on to the next book. This will both help to develop a discipline of reading in my daily schedule and make a bigger dent in my stack of books.

If I remain faithful to the project for an entire year without skipping any days (unlikely), I will have read a total of 10,950 pages. Assuming the average book is 300 pages long (a rather generous assumption, I presume), that amounts to 36.5 books.

I think I might use a productivity secret from Jerry Seinfeld to help me in the project. To ensure he does his task of writing every day, Jerry hangs a big wall calendar and draws a red X through every day that he has completed his task. The goal is then to get a long chain of Xs, which encourages you to keep going to avoid breaking the chain. While writing this post I even discovered the website www.dontbreakthechain.com, an online version of Jerrys concept.

Ive heard similar projects, like 52 books in 52 weeks, but does anyone else use some sort of program like this to guide their reading habits?


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While I only have dreams of my reading system (last semester of college!), my plan is to read for a certain amount of time per day, rather than page numbers. Im also going to try to have different categories of books for different days, which Im a little afraid of. Ive grown accustom to reading a chapter at a time, and having a week to soak on it before progressing. Im trying to guard myself against bookslamming. Define: bookslamming; the process of mindlessly reading books as if competing in a read-the-most-pages/books-and-win contest. I also want to keep myself from just reading books on what Im currectly super-interested in. Some thoughts on catergories would be: Personal development (spiritual and not), family/parenting, youth ministry, bible/theology, hobby/fiction, etc
Good post!

Luke: Thanks for your thoughts. I like the idea of reading more than just whats currently piquing my interest. Although many of my books are theologically slanted, there are a few curveballs in there to keep things balanced. :)

I like to think of you as having reading ADD. Good luck with your goal. I wish I had enough time in my day or energy to read like that. I miss reading but lately when I have tried I have fallen asleep before I get to page two. My brain is missing something important by not getting to read.

Kelly: Thanks for the diagnosis.

I should join you on that journey as I have a stack myself, and I find most of my reading restricted to blogs and news. I am reading through UnChristian though and started to post on it.

My program is called grad school. My average is 20-30 pages per hour. I think I would actually like to get on a step-down program. Like maybe a chewing gum or a patch that might eventually help me kick books altogether.

b.mick: Ill schedule your detox for early next summer.

My program is pretty simple: I try to read at least one page every night before going to bed. Now, I usually have tons of time to read and reading one page isnt a problem. But if Ive had a long day or something and just really dont want to read, I force myself to read one page before going to bed. It keeps my mind on the book. I find if I skip two or more days of reading, those often turn into two or more weeks.

Ive been using Jerry Seinfelds method for working out since I moved to Chicago I get a big red X through every day that I meet my goal on. I also use a small pen to take little notes (weight, reps, distance run).

Its crazy effective I have it on my fridge, and I see it many times a day. Almost makes me forgive Jerry for for those annoying Bee Movie mini movie commercials during The Office.

Matt: I like the idea of reading only one page to keep your mind in the book. Even if I dont think its possible to get 30 pages in a day, it would certainly be manageable for one.

Andrew: Thats awesome. Did you read about it on lifehacker or somewhere else?

Lifehacker, fo sho its one of only a few blogs (the others being engadget and pollstar) I havent moved to my RSS reader, because I check them so often that having them in the feed reader gets distracting if I head to the reader, I want to catch up on everything in it so if I leave my fav blogs in the toolbar, I can check them and stay away from feeds that are less important.

On an added note, the calendar I printed to do the dont break the chain method with is sick wicked I photoshoped it up so that in the header next to the year there is a picture of me at my fattest (towards the end of my time in school Iowa City was unhealthy for me in a redic way), as well as a couple of quotes I like. Added inspiration, along with the big red X I get every day. Not sure if that could apply to the reading goals, but i figured im going to stare a the thing for a year, I might as well make it work for me.

Great idea. I started with ten pages per day. Although I normally have two books going..one in the car and one in the house. I seem to do a lot of waiting in the car.
jennyalice http://www.canisitwithyou.org

I took the test that was in your blog.. and well it said I was an 8 which is a Challenger and it also said I was a 3 which is a Hepler these two are so far from each other that I have to believe that it is wrong discrediting the site and also this blog. Jk! keep up the reading!

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