If there is one habit I find common in all the successful people in this world is that they read and they themselves say that "every smart person I know is a voracious reader".
Reading is not science, it is an art. And everyone who reads need not be a good reader.
If you have landed on this article, that gives me an indication that you like reading but are struggling with inculcating it in your everyday life. So keep reading and you might get something useful out of it.
To make reading a lifetime habit, it'll be easier if you 'actually' like it. And if you insist on finishing everything you start, it will eventually become a chore that you'll not enjoy after some days.
My advice is to read with lots of inputs and a strong filter.
Now, what does this mean?
Two things - inputs and filters.
To apply the filter, you first need the inputs.
If you confine yourself to reading only what you like, there is a strong chance of you reading the same author or the same stories again and again, only because you have the certainty of liking them.
To have inputs with you, there is one thing to be kept in mind.
There is no compulsion to finish what you start.
The moment you feel like disconnecting with the author, shut the book down. You are not a failure if you give up on a book 10 pages into it because, not every book is made for you to read. Some interests you, others don't. It is the same thing like you need to like each and every flavour of ice-cream out there.
Have your desk flooded with options, with inputs from everywhere. Read articles, research papers, novels, autobiographies, newspapers, whatever you can think of. And never aim to finish it. If it can hold your attention, you will eventually end up finishing it. But if it fails to do so, start with something else.
There is another angle to this.
Timing matters. A book irrelevant to you today might make some sense in the future. This doesn't mean something is wrong with either you or the book, it simply means it is not the right time for you to read that book. As simple as that.
So yeah, this is all about the inputs part. Number one is to not restrict yourself to just one kind of material. Number two is that there is no compulsion to finish what you start. You are free to leave it at any point in time. Leave it and start with something else.
Let's talk about filters now.
Having a filter is more art than science. You’ll have to find one that works for you. What I mean when I say the word 'filter' is to set some ground rules for discarding a piece of writing. For example, I have set a ground rule that if I have to look for every other word in dictionary while reading, then that piece of writing is not made for me to read. So, analyse what turns you off while reading and set those filters for yourself.
The bigger point is that the highest odds of finding the right piece of information comes from inundating yourself with information but very quickly being able to say, “not for me.”
So, keep reading and keep enjoying it.