While reading is in itself an amazingly entertaining and rewarding activity, we often tend to pair it with other activities that have the potential to enhance our experience. Whether we do it to make reading more enjoyable, to save time, or simply because we love to, the effects are generally positive.
The way we choose what to do while reading a book can have a serious impact on our reading performance and we need to factor in a couple of very important aspects before we decide whether we should try to do two things at once.
Here at Basmo, we are big fans of multi-tasking in general and that also applies to our reading habits. We actually sat down and tried to figure out the best things to do while reading a book and compiled quite an extensive and interesting list of fun things to do while reading.
Should you do other things while reading?
Naturally, before we start exploring the options in terms of things you can do while reading, the first thing to look into is whether you actually should be doing anything else. Well, the answer to this question is actually a lot more complicated than you might expect. The first thing to factor in is what your reading session’s purpose actually is.
If you are reading to learn or if you’re studying, you will probably be a lot better off if you don’t pair your reading with any other activity. That’s because despite what you might think about yourself, there is no such thing as actual multitasking. Studies have shown that even though we may sometimes feel like we are doing several things at once, this is not exactly true. We feel like we’re multitasking, but what we are actually forcing our brain to do is simply switch between tasks at a very high frequency.
So no, you are not reading and listening to music at the same time, you are reading for a millisecond, listening to music the next millisecond, and repeating this switch between tasks for as long as your reading session is ongoing. You can easily understand this by comparing it with the Alt-TAB function on your PC or laptop. Imagine pressing Alt-TAB every other millisecond and you will perfectly understand what your brain is doing when you think you’re multitasking.
As you can probably already imagine, this is not an ideal scenario for a studying session. When you’re studying, your main goal is to retain as much information as possible, as well as to understand new concepts and ideas. This puts your brain through a very complex and generally tiring process, and adding an extra task to the mix is usually a sure way of decreasing your performance.
If you’re reading to unwind and you are in the middle of a reading session with a strictly recreational purpose, things can be quite different. If you’re using reading as a pass-time activity instead of a learning tool, the process is not only extremely rewarding but also quite relaxing.
This brings us to one of the most important benefits of reading. As little as 20 minutes of reading per day can decrease your stress levels by 67%. That is actually more than what you should expect from a walk in the park or drinking a cup of tea. What’s even more interesting is what happens when you pair reading with another relaxing activity. For example, if you read and listen to some relaxing music, you are almost guaranteed to decrease your stress levels and that tension you’ve been holding in your shoulders quite quickly and efficiently.
Now that we established that studying and doing other activities is not exactly a good idea, let’s take a look at a couple of the benefits you could enjoy if you decide to find some fun things to do while reading a book or other reading materials you are not necessarily interested in learning from.
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4 Benefits of reading and doing other things at the same time
When deciding whether it’s worth it to try and do several things at once, you should always factor in your final purpose. If your reading session is meant to allow you to relax or have some fun, then pairing it with another activity could be a good idea as long as you figure out a way to not let yourself be distracted. If you’re confident in your choice of activity, here are a couple of benefits you can enjoy.
1. You could end up reading more
If you figure out a safe way to pair your reading with another activity you enjoy, you could extend the duration of your reading sessions. For example, if you decide to read and listen to music, this can lead you to longer reading sessions through the simple fact that you are going to push yourself to read for “one more song”.
Similarly, depending on your choice of activity, you can simply keep reading for longer because you are getting a more satisfying experience by doing both activities than you would while doing each one separately.
2. You can have a much more relaxing experience
If you’re looking to unwind after a long day, you should know by now that reading should be one of your top choices. It is amazingly relaxing and it can even decrease your blood pressure and heart rate.
If your day has been particularly rough, you can easily choose to read while you are also enjoying a different relaxing activity. Listen to some relaxing music, do a puzzle while listening to an audiobook, or drink some tea or wine while reading.
3. You can improve your multitasking abilities
Even though actual multitasking has been debunked by scientists, the undeniable reality is that you can do more things at once, even though your brain performs a series of actions that are different from what you’re actually experiencing.
That being said, even though doing several things at once isn’t actually possible from an anatomical point of view, you can still improve the experience. The speed and the ease your brain transitions from one activity to another can be improved if you practice, and this will lead to a more seamless experience.
4. You can save some time
Being productive is generally a very important thing nowadays. Our lives are hectic, we constantly have a million things to do, and we rarely have any time for ourselves. So multitasking has become a necessity. Figuring out ways to do more things at once can seriously improve your general well-being and how you feel every day.
When it comes to reading, there are ways you can pair it with other activities to save some time. For example, you can easily read a book while exercising. Doing some reading while on a treadmill or exercise bike can help you save quite a lot of time while doing two separate things that are very good for you.
What are the best things to do while reading a book?
While the risks of pairing your reading with other activities are pretty obvious and only apply to activities that are too distracting to allow you to do your reading at your top performance potential, the benefits generally outweigh the cons when it comes to casual reading. Unless you’re planning a studying session, here are some of the best things to do while reading a book.
1. Listen to music
Music and reading go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly. If you choose some relaxing music, preferably instrumental, you are very likely to enjoy a very nice reading experience. Music can help you relax, it can boost your mood, or even improve your performance.
The best thing to do would be to experience different genres and see which one works best for you. It’s good to keep in mind that the style and tempo of the music you are listening have an effect on your reading speed and comprehension. And while exploring the results of the studies done on this topic may shed some light on what works well and what doesn’t, we are all unique. That being said, you should see how music affects you and base your playlist decisions on that.
2. Spend time with your family
Reading is generally seen as a solitary activity that basically relies on introspection. While that is undeniably true, several Basmo team members have shared their habits of reading together with members of their family or with friends and claimed to have been a very wholesome experience every single time.
If you love reading and love spending time with your family as well, you can push them to share this experience with you. You can read together, discuss the things you are reading, and you can certainly have a very interesting shared experience. This will surely bring you closer together and it is a very good way to spend time with them while also doing something you love.
3. Use Basmo
Despite what you would be inclined to think, your smartphone doesn’t have to be an enemy to your reading habits. Thanks to reading tracking apps like Basmo, there is actually quite a lot for you to gain. You can use Basmo to track your reading, improve your habits, and become a much better and more efficient reader.
Use Basmo while reading to take notes seamlessly with almost no effort.
Taking notes can help you retain more information, identify and later use the most important information from your reading material, and it can improve the way you experience your reading sessions.
On top of this, Basmo times all your reading sessions and provides you with very nice statistics about your performance.
You can use your current KPIs to identify the areas you can improve and get it done.
Not only that, but you can also save, edit, and share quotes from your favorite books.
If you come across an interestingly worded sentence that you feel represents you or simply seems like something you might want to remember and use later, you can easily use the quote feature from the Basmo app.
You can either type the quote manually or use the scanner function which extracts the text from your book via your smartphone’s camera.
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We all know that cooking involves quite a lot of waiting. Unless you’re a professional chef cooking several dishes at once, you are likely going to spend quite some time waiting for the things you prepare to be ready. Use that time to read a book. You can easily stir a pot with one hand and hold a book with the other. On top of the benefit of doing two things at once and obviously being very efficient with your limited time, for many of us, cooking is a very relaxing activity. Reading and cooking at the same time is just taking that to the next level in terms of stress relief.
If you’re wondering what to do while reading an audiobook, you should know that cooking is one of the top choices. Doing your reading hands-free allows you to perform quite a lot of other tasks while reading, and since cooking has been reported as one of the most time-consuming house chores, it’s easy to understand why so many people choose to cook and listen to audiobooks at the same time.
Some say that reading does to your brain what exercise does to your body. It keeps your brain healthy, agile and working properly. So, why wouldn’t it be a good idea to keep your mind and body fit and healthy at the same time? If your workout also includes stationary exercises, like walking or running on a treadmill, or using a fitness bicycle, reading at the same time can be a great choice. Just remember to pay attention to your workout as well, in order to avoid getting injured.
6. Treat yourself
Paint your nails, treat yourself with a nice facial, and turn your own living room into a spa while reading. Quite a lot of the activities you do to make yourself more beautiful or to keep your skin healthy can be done while reading. Wear a face mask, do some skin care, or even apply some makeup while reading. If you are experienced enough, you will be able to take care of both things quite well.
7. Get to and from work
Reading on your commute to and from work can be amazingly rewarding and time-effective. Fill the time you spend traveling with reading sessions and, unless you have a tendency to get car sick, you are going to thoroughly enjoy your commute from now on.
As you can see, there are quite a lot of things to do while reading a novel. Choose the activity that you feel will bring you the most benefits and don’t hesitate to use Basmo to improve your experience.
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