Book Features · features

I recorded my reading for a week and this is what happened

We all have reading patterns. Some people prefer to read in the daytime some people prefer night.

Some people prefer reading in bed, others prefer reading on the bus.

But do many of us actually record when we read, and for how many pages we get through? I definitely don’t.

I was chatting with Helen @WatchingSparks and she said she gave me the idea to try and keep a ‘reading diary’ of what I’d been reading every day.

So for a week, I did an experiment. I kept track of all my reading across audiobooks, e-books, and physical books, and I discovered a few surprising things.

First day: Wednesday
Current read: The Weight of the Stars

Reading done: Morning: pages 193-237.
Evening: pages 237-257

Notes: My train was delayed in the morning , so I read slightly more than I’d normally have time for, but I read less on my train in the evening because I was replying to social media notifications. I didn’t read anything else after I got home from work because I went to a circuit class then had dinner.

Total pages for the day: 64
Total pages so far: 64

Current read: 
The Weight of the Stars

Reading done: Morning: pages 258-283
Evening – 0

Notes: The weather was awful (flooding) and it wreaked havoc on my trains, which were all delayed or cancelled. I got part way to work and then had to turn around and come home because I literally couldn’t get any further. I ended up working from home that day and didn’t get any more reading done in the evening since I worked extra hours and didn’t have any commute.

Total pages for the day: 25
Total pages so far: 89

Current read: The Weight of the Stars

Reading done: Morning: pages 284-302
Afternoon: pages 303-312
Evening: pages 313-384

Notes: I finished work at 3pm on Friday so I did some reading on my commute home, then managed to do some more reading before dinner, because I had more time in the evening.

Total pages for the day: 98
Total pages so far: 187

Absolutely no reading whatsoever. Wow.

Current read: Started The Music of What Happens

Reading done: Morning and afternoon: 17 chapters

Notes: I started my Scribd free trial on Sunday, which was brilliant for getting more reading done while doing chores, baking, and wrapping presents. But this is where things get tricky. As far as I can tell, Scribd doesn’t count pages, only chapters, so I can’t count Sunday’s total pages, but I know that when I finish the book, I’ll have read 338 pages.

Total for the day: 17 chapters
Total so far: 187 + 17 chapters on audio

Current read: The Music of What Happens. Started e-book of Let’s Talk About Love, and hardback of We Contain Multitudes

Reading done: Morning: pages 0-10 of We Contain Multitudes
Afternoon: Listened to another 3 chapters of The Music of What Happens on audio
Evening: pages 0-32 of Let’s Talk About Love, 11-37 of We Contain Multitudes

Notes: I felt like death in the morning for some reason, so I read very little on my commute and tried my best not to fall asleep. I also started a new hardback and an ebook, because apparently I’ve completely disregarded trying to read one book at a time.

Total for the day: 69 pages + 3 chapters on audio
Total so far: 256 pages + 20 chapters on audio

Last day: Tuesday
Current reads: The Music of What Happens, Let’s Talk About Love, and We Contain Multitudes (help me)

Reading done: Morning: pages 38-62 of We Contain Multitudes
Afternoon: 1 chapter of The Music of What Happens
Evening: pages 63-89 of We Contain Multitudes, 33-43 of Let’s Talk About Love, 3 chapters of The Music of What Happens

Notes: This was the last day of my week of recording my progress, and despite juggling three books (in different formats), I felt like I got a lot of reading done on both commutes.

Total for the day: 60 pages + 4 chapters on audio
Total at the end of the week: 316 + 24 chapters on audio

Since I didn’t finish The Music of What Happens, I’m going to roughly convert the chapters I read into pages. The audiobook is 49 chapters long, and I read almost half of that during this week, getting to 24 chapters. So, I’ve divided the total number of pages in half and taken off 10, to get an estimate that I read about 159 pages. (This is some questionable maths, but let’s just roll with it.)

So my total number of pages for the end of the week is 484 (approx).

What did I learn from doing this?

I don’t maximise my reading time enough
I thought I read frequently, but when you look at the patterns in the time of day, it’s clear that I mostly read on my commutes. If I’m not commuting, I don’t seem to set aside time for reading. I certainly don’t in the evenings after I get home from work and I could be reading far more if I went to bed earlier and read before sleeping.

Weekends are my friends
I can’t believe I read nothing on the Saturday. Well, I can. But I’m surprised at myself. I used to read far more on weekends than during the week, and I’ve clearly got out of the habit (unless I’m doing a readathon). I should probably try to set aside at least an hour on Saturday and Sunday for sitting down and reading a physical book.

Audiobooks are a godsend and I should keep reading them
One of the reasons I managed to read at all on the Sunday was because I started listening to an audiobook. I had a lot of chores and small jobs to do, and I wouldn’t have been able to read anything while doing them if I hadn’t started my Scribd free trial. I read 17 chapters on Sunday, all because I could listen to them while doing other things. So I clearly need to keep investing in audiobooks if I want to be able to read and multitask.

I keep falling back into the habit of reading multiple books at once
*points to board* As you can see class, I started the week reading one book, but by the end of the week, I was reading three. Earlier this year, I made it my goal to try to read one book at a time, but with the introduction of audiobooks, I’ve fallen back into old habits. I’m undecided if this is a good or a bad thing, because I might have finished one book if I’d only started one rather than three, but I think I actually read more in total because I had three on the go.

I can either go on social media or read, but I can’t do both
Yeah, this one is pretty obvious. But tracking my reading reinforced this point for me. I  noticed that if I went on social media while on the train or bus, I didn’t pick up a book at all. But if I had the internet on my phone switched off, I read the whole time and didn’t touch my social media.

As a result of this experiment, I’ve decided to set myself a few goals for the next few weeks and months.

I’m going to keep reading audiobooks and will probably start paying for Scribd once my free trial is up, because I found that I got so much more reading done when I could do it alongside other things.

I’m going to set aside time on weekends to read with no distractions and try to put my phone away when I do so. I’m also going to keep turning my internet off when I’m commuting to make sure I maximise my reading time then.

And finally, I think I’m going to do another experiment where I try to read for 30 minutes before bed every night, to see how much more reading I get done.

Have you ever tried to track your reading progress? What did you find out? Do you notice patterns in your reading like I did?

Until next time,KateNEW

14 thoughts on “I recorded my reading for a week and this is what happened

  1. Such a great idea! I believe I also read a lot less than I could and think I do. Days fly by and I suddenly realise I haven’t read anything. Nice way to observe your reading and get to the reading routine you desire.

  2. This is such a cool idea! It’s such a good way to see how much you read every day. I might have to try this at some point

  3. This was such a cool experiment! I imagine if I did this, my results would be fairly similar. I need to unplug from social media more. Audiobooks definitely help me when I’m in a reading slump or have chores to do as well. I think I’m going to make my goal to maximize my reading this month in place of all the time I waste on social media. This was really inspiring. Thanks!

  4. Although I don’t track how many pages I read a day, I do use my bullet journal to track how long I read in a day and it’s a great way for me to track what books I am reading. I really liked this post and it’s a great idea and a great way to find out your reading habits too!

  5. This is so interesting. I used to think I read more on my commutes but found that a lot of that time I would get distracted by looking out of the window and/or checking my social media. I think I definitely tend to read more when I’m at home because I love reading in the bath and I usually try to also read before bed.

  6. Oh wow this seems like a wonderful experiment! Maybe I should try it sometime. Also I’ve read Let’s Talk About Love. Wasn’t a huge fan of the plot but it was very educative about the ace spectrum 😊

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