WARNING: There are no productivity hacks in this post.

This past week I went on vacation to Hawaii with family. I also wanted to try an experiment: how many books could I read in one week? To be fair, I started reading two days before I went on vacation, hence 9 days instead of 7.

I had decided that I wanted to start reading a lot more again and made a queue of books in my “up next” list.

I'll Get To The Point

In nine days, I read four books:

  1. Tribes by Seth Godin
  2. Getting Real by 37Signals
  3. Essentialism by Greg McKeown
  4. Hooked by Nir Eyal

Here's a few notes on what I learned:

Time

It didn’t take any newtime to read so much. I simply replaced the time I spent on my phone, playing a game, or watching TV.

Interest

Read what you’re actually interested in at the moment. I have a long list of reading, but instead of just picking the ones I feel like I shouldbe reading, I read the ones that sparked my interest at the time.

Setting

All I needed was the right setting. I found that my most productive reading times were when I had a relatively large chunk of time, in an unstimulating place. I read the most at home when no one else was there, in the car (while someone else was driving obviously), laying on a towel on the beach, and on the airplane.

Abstinence

Put the phone down. I had made a commitment to abstain from certain social media sites like Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn, and found that to be pretty liberating. Instead of consuming fluffy, shallow content on those sites, I could focus on consuming more in-depth content in a book. Simply putting the phone away on Airplane mode, kept in my pocket, or in another room allowed my brain the capacity to focus on my book.

Gratification

Book content is more gratifying than social media content. I felt much better after reading a chapter of a book than I did after scrolling through Facebook for 15 minutes. In fact, after a couple days, scrolling through Facebook would compel me to pick up my book because I craved more meaty content that the book could provide.

Momentum

Momentum is key. After reading the first book, it seemed much easier to pick up and read the second book. After the second book, it seemed almost natural to pick up the third book. After the third book, I felt like I hadto read the fourth book.

So what do you do with this?

Simple. Go read.