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How Much Does It Help To Have A Reading Plan?

A photograph of a stack of books

I’m currently looking at a good month of reading, in fact I only say ‘currently’ because I’m hoping to improve it in these last few days of January. The goal I set at the start of the month has really helped; I suppose when it comes down to it, it’s effectively a to-do list and being more specific (yet general, ironically) has been key.

So this month I’ve had a reading road map, as it were, for what I was to read and for where I wanted to be at the end of the month. The idea of where you want to be is somewhat repetitive if you’ve a list of books anyway – you want to read those books, ergo you’ll have finished them – but having a starting book and, particularly, an ending book has worked wonders. It’s pushed me to carry on.

I’m well aware I could be heading for burnout. (If only burnout could be scheduled and managed!) Reading a lot in a set period of time tends to mean a period of burnout afterwards, and I would be all the less surprised this time since I had a fairly strict order for my reading. At the same time, I’m currently on a high. Perhaps burnout could be scheduled for March?

My road map was as I’ve previously stated – books for the podcast, early review copies, and carry overs from last year. I also read a couple of books I would’ve read in December had the festive season not pulled me into bonkers games like pretending to be a dinosaur at the intensity level of 1.

I’ve written about the concept of a reading plan before, and how whimsical reading can be great. But the more time goes on and I practise both these ‘versions’ of reading, the more I think one is not better than the other. I think I’d go so far as to say (though I could only ever have first-hand experience of my own reading) that both are best for everyone and best practice is simply definable as what is best at that given point. Sometimes you need structure in order to get it done, sometimes you really don’t, and I’d argue that the natural follow up to structure is whimsy and likewise in reverse.

Reading effectively with a plan puts paid to the worry that you might dither over the possibilities on your shelves, though this isn’t absolute; in forming your plan you probably needed to do some thinking. But, hopefully, the idea of structure aids in keeping that time to a minimum. Browsing shelves works so long as you are strict about it.

Yes, I’m also on a mission to cut back on the time I waste on the Internet.

So my answer to ‘how much does it help?’ is ‘very much – within the limits of a well-rounded reading life over all’. I’m loving my planning at the moment but I know it can’t last; but the important thing is to remember to use it when possible, and also when it makes the most sense.

Where do you fall in regards to this topic?



January 29, 2020, 1:13 pm

I just posted about my reading plan, which varies with the seasons!


January 29, 2020, 4:46 pm

I need structure in my life, so I like to make loose plans for my reading. What keeps me from bogging down is that I always allow myself to deviate from my plan without feeling guilt. I’ve seen too many bloggers who read for review and get burnt out trying to keep up with a specific schedule.

Shelleyrae @ Book’d Out

January 30, 2020, 4:27 pm

I work best with a reading schedule, but I’ve also been doing this long enough that I can forgive myself when it doesn’t quite work to plan.



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