Ben Borgers

5 Pages a Day

June 19, 2022

In recent weeks, I’ve tried to make it a daily habit to read 5 pages each day.

And it’s worked pretty well! Almost every day, I’ve read 5 pages. I’m currently reading The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green, which this habit took from about-halfway-done to being done in a couple days.

I think that it works for me because 5 pages is really so little. There’s very few excuses for not reading for a couple minutes — it seems silly to have to skip it. So the barrier for completing the task is low.

Plus, I have it as a recurring task on my to-do list. So I get this satisfaction from checking it off, and I often use it as a way of procrastinating from other tasks on my list.

I watched this YouTube video once where a guy is asked how many books he reads. The guy says about one a year, which aligns with my pace as well — maybe less, actually. So they show him a small shelf, and say, “That’s the number of books you’re going to read before you die.”

Something about that scene has stuck in my mind. The idea that I have a reading pace so slow that my entire adult life’s book consumption can be held on one shelf.

And this kinda changes that trajectory. If I can keep up this 5-page-a-day habit for, say, 320 of the 365 days in a year, I’ll read 5 or 6 books in a year.

And compared to the zero books it was going to be before, that’s a pretty good improvement.