Thursday, 12 November 2015

On Reading Big Books on a Tight Schedule

  It's not uncommon that big books can be found intimidating. Particularly for college. Particularly when you were supposed to have them read yesterday.

  For one of my classes I have to read Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. Don't get me wrong the first 30 pages have been great so far. It's the 620 next pages that are scaring me.
  I have decided to write some tips on how I (usually) finish big books, particularly when it seems like an impossible task.

1. Have small goals
  There is absolutely no point looking at how big a book is and immediately giving up and binge watching Dr. Who. I know that temptation. Stay away from it. 
  If you set yourself goals of reading 50 or 20 pages at a time then you will make more progress then if you try to read it all at once. 

2. Take breaks
  When you have reached your small 50 or 20 page goal then take a small break. Walk in a different room. Allow yourself to check your Facebook or twitter. I should mention that you really shouldn't be checking your phone when you are trying to reach your smaller goals it will just prolong it. 

3. Dedicate specific times to reading
  Choose certain times of the day where you have time, eg. before breakfast, during lunch, before bed. During these times make sure you are reading. Try and read two sets of 20 pages or so during these times. 

4. Make realistic daily page goals and stick to them
  If you set yourself the goal to read 300 pages on a Wednesday when you have school and work then it is very likely that you will not reach that and will get discouraged. Set a goal of 100 or 150 pages a day because that is much more achievable (or whatever you think you can manage). 
  Make sure you allow yourself enough time for reading and breaks to reach this goal. 

5. Keep reading
  It will get difficult to read so much for a long period of time. If you are on a tight schedule then the important thing is that you keep reading. Even if you only have a few minutes all the pages that you read will add up and help you achieve your daily goals. 

6. Reward yourself
  It is easier to keep going if you know you will get something out of it. I try to stay away from rewards of food because this can lead to all sorts of trouble. Reward yourself will internet time, with time to do whatever you want. For smaller goal achievements I would give yourself a ten-twenty minute reward. If you reach bigger goals/ page counts eg.100 pages then give yourself a good hour reward. Longer if that was your day goal. Though Keep going afterwards if you can. Getting ahead on a schedule is good! (unless your a bus I guess :/)

7. Stick to your rewards!!
  Resist the temptation to stay on a permanent break. Every once in a while a break turns into procrastination and this is not going to help. 
  But, if like me your a 'just another goal before I take a break' kind of person then I will encourage you to actually stick to your planned rewards. Don't keep going so long that you burn yourself out. If you have a break planned - take it. 


My Wolf Hall Schedule - let's see if I can practice what I preach. 

620 pages to read. I want it read by Saturday night. It is currently Thursday night. 

Goals: 
Tonight: 70 Pages
Friday: 275 Pages
Saturday:275 Pages. 

I know that 275 is very close to the 300 goal that  I said was ridiculous. But I am off college both days and I am VERY behind. This is an extreme example. I hope I can do it. 

Schedule:
Tonight:
7.30- 8.30     -   30 pages
8.45-9.45      -   30 pages
10.00-10.30  -  10 pages.

Friday:
8.30-9.00     - 20 pages
11.30-12.30 - 40 pages
1.30-2.30     - 40 pages
4. 00-5.00    - 40 pages
6.00-7.00     - 40 pages
7.30-8.30     - 40 pages
10.00-11.30 - 55 pages

Saturday:
8.30-9.00     - 20 pages
11.30-12.30 - 40 pages
1.30-2.30     - 40 pages
4. 00-5.00    - 40 pages
6.00-7.00     - 40 pages
7.30-8.30     - 40 pages
10.00-11.30 - 55 pages

Yes. I know it's a bit of a stretch. But I am very far behind.

Ideally you would not try to cram this much into such a short period of time, but I have this due for class soon (along with other projects!) and so I wanted to test this method to see if I could do it.

Whether this particular schedule works or not I will update you and let you know.

It could go disastrously wrong.

But let's hope.

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