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I have had several people ask me how I manage to fit reading into my full days as a mother of two small children, a practising medical doctor and entrepreneur. I have to admit that the #NikisMonthlyChallenge I started this year is helping me to read more of the books I want to read. The challenge is to plan one new experience and read one new book every month in 2018, which has been interesting so far. I am learning a lot and developing in other areas of my life through reading. If you are making time to read this article, that is a good start. Here are a few tips for squeezing whole books into your busy life.

Choose a book that will be interesting and/or useful to you - Most people give up on books if they find the topic boring or irrelevant. Start with a book or ebook you really want to read. Remember that what we read, see and hear makes us, so choose something good.

Set a deadline to finish it - Having the monthly deadlines has helped me to appropriately prioritise my reading. You might find it more reasonable to allow two to three months for your book, depending on your book size, commitments and motivation. “He who does not read has no advantage over he who cannot read” is a quote that motivates me sometimes.

Wake up or go to bed earlier than usual - This does not have to be everyday. You will be amazed how much you can read if you allowed one extra hour for reading just three times a week. Stop making excuses, if you really want to improve yourself. Lunchtime reading might be an option for some. Having a book to finish can also motivate a parent to ensure little children get into a routine of going to bed at decent times, which is good for their health and development.

Reflect and review - Non-fiction books on money, relationships, time management etc usually have useful tips you need to start implementing to see a change in your life. Don’t try to read your book in one sitting because you are busy. Allow time to reflect while reading it. Even fiction books have themes that can be reflected on, especially if it is a topic that affects you or your loved ones. It is also worth reviewing your deadline after some time to see if it is still feasible. Life happens! You can reset your deadline if necessary to allow you to enjoy reading, as well as enjoying life.

Finish and celebrate - If you have finished a book and reflected on the content, thereby adding to your knowledge, experience or personality, it is a good thing. Talk about it, tell your friends/family, share a link and/or write a review. This helps to give you a feeling of achievement and motivation to go for the next one. Many of us read for work or study, but having time to read whatever you want is great!

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