Reading 10 Pages a Day
I read a lot. For a few years now it has been a habit of mine to read every day. But I read mostly books that spark my curiosity. So when I was asked to read a book for work I knew I was in trouble.
I wanted to do it. I had the desire.
I want to learn and become better at what I do. I consider myself a craftsman. A lifelong learner. I know my education did not stop when I graduated school.
And yet. Weeks went by. The book looming over my head. Unread.
About two weeks ago I decided to take another stab at it. This time with a plan. 10 pages a day for 10 days. At first this didn’t seem like it would make much of a difference. 10 pages won’t do much to a 374 page book.
But it will. And it does.
What 10 pages can do
Reading just 10 pages a day is 3650 pages a year. If I did that I would consume roughly 10 of these books a year.
I’ve been at my current job 4 years. And in that time I have read maybe 2 or 3 books directly related to work. Just 10 pages a day would have been 40 books. 40! Heck just 2 pages a day would have been 8 books. More than what I have managed to do so far.
10 pages a day didn’t seem like much progress at first. But my actual rate over the last 4 years has been less than a page per day.
109 pages. 3 lessons
When I started my 10 day journey I didn’t think much of it. But coming out on the other side I have (re)learned three lessons.
These lessons are based on my reading experience but I believe they are as much about life as they are about reading.
First lesson: 10 pages a day is good progress. Over time it becomes a lot of pages if done consistently. It does not feel like much but it is.
People overestimate what can be done in one year, and underestimate what can be done in ten.
This quote seems to originate in the space of invention, science, and engineering. When we attempt to predict the future we have a hard time estimating just how much technology can achieve in ten years.
On a personal level I think we often overestimate what can be done in one day and underestimate what can be done in a year.
Getting started was—by far—the hardest part. Sitting down. Picking up the book. You have already crossed the finish line if you get past those two (seemingly simple) steps.
Not once I did fail to read 10 pages after I had started reading. But I did fail picking up the book more than once.
When I managed to sit down and start reading I often found myself reading much more than 10 pages. And I also found it way more pleasant than I expected just moments before sitting down.
Accountability and a goal
The third and final lesson is that I should track my progress and move towards a goal.
I normally enjoy reading. But for this task I had to have accountability. So I set a daily goal and tracked my progress. And this made all the difference.
My desire to read wasn’t enough. I tried that premise for a while and I didn’t get far.
When I established a clear goal (with a deadline) I started progressing consistently and ended up reading more than I would have without one.
On this small journey I learned:
- Don’t underestimate daily progress.
- Getting started is the hardest part. Make it easy.
- Create accountability for yourself and establish a goal.
… along with 109 pages worth of wisdom 📖.