I have been posting about using the “Angie Way” schedule on Instagram to plan and track my monthly reading since September of 2019. It was something I did in university, as a history major I had a lot of weekly reading to complete. Especially in the last two years of my degree. So I would write on a post-it note how many pages I had to read or what chapters each week, and I could just quickly glance at the note on the cover of each text book and know what needed to be read that day. It was a great way to organize and I never missed any of the required reading for my classes. I had never used that technique for general reading until I joined bookstagram and started getting advanced reading copies and joining in for buddy reads. All of the sudden I had books that needed to get read by a deadline. I had to keep track of pub dates and discussion dates and I was falling behind or forgetting. So I needed to get organized!
I started planning daily pages for the arcs I had publishing that month and for buddy reads. The system worked so well, some of my friends joined in too. My friend Kylie @notsotwentysomething started calling the system The Angie Way and it stuck. My friends encouraged me to share my system publicly with the rest of Bookstagram and since then lots of people have tried it to help them stay on top of their TBR’s. It’s been really fun to share how it works for me and see how people adapt it for themselves. I have done 2 IGTV videos explaining it and there’s a highlight on my Instagram page. But I will explain it here too.
The first step is to figure out how many pages you generally read in a day. Every day is different and life always gets in the way so you just want to figure out an average and start there. To do that you can take all the books you read in another month, for example in April I read 10 books and a total of 3573 pages. One day in April I read 407 pages and another day I read 6 pages. But if I divide 3573 by 30 days, my average per day is 119 pages. So I know I can schedule myself 80-100 pages per day, I might have a day where I only read 20 pages but I can catch up another day when I read 200.
The second step is choosing a TBR! Knowing my page total should be no more than 3000 pages I can pick a TBR based on that. For May, I had 4 advanced reader copies to schedule. A fifth one showed up after I made my plan so it was added to the extras list. I also had my Book club pick for the month, 2 buddy reads, and a memoir I’ve been meaning to read for ages. So I had 8 books, total page count 2719 divided by 31 days in May, that’s 88 pages per day to schedule. Perfect.
The third step is choosing the order that I read those 8 books. I determine this by publishing dates for the 4 arcs and discussion dates for the buddy reads. Obviously I try to read arcs before pub date so those are priority. Once I’ve chosen an order, I bust out my calculator and schedule 88 pages per day. I write the page per day on a post it on each book. Some days I will read pages from two books. 40 pages to finish one book, and 44 pages of another book to get a total of 88 pages for the day. Write that all out on the post-it notes for each book.
The fourth step is to create my pretty plan. I like to use fun washi tape and then coloured markers to match the tape. So I pick those first. Then I write the day and date down the edge of the page. May started on Saturday so it looked like this down the page: S1, S2, M3, T4 etc… Saturday 1, Sunday 2, Monday 3. Then I put a coloured dot beside each date where later I will put a check mark when I’ve finished those pages. Then I create a Legend on the page to the right, assigning each book a two letter code based on the title or the author. I write the two letter code and then the full title next to another column of coloured dots. Later when I finish a book, I can check mark the dot. Next I transfer the info from the post-its to the planner, using the 2 letter code to show which book I mean and write the pages I’m supposed to read each day.
The fifth step is to create your extras list. These are books you can pick up after you have read the daily pages for the day. This is where things get flexible. Say you only have 4 books you need to read in a month but know you could easily read 8. Only schedule the 4 books you have to read. You’ll have a lower page count each day, making it easier to check off those daily pages and then you can read 4 extra books that you choose any time. I usually have a few books I want to hopefully get to, so I will add them to the extra list. But I make 8-10 spaces for extra books to be written in anytime, and only add a few to the list for now. I will add books later as I read them. Usually it’s a book I just feel like reading at the time and I just add it the list so I have the pleasure of checking the box when I’ve finished.
The sixth step is to create my page tracker and totals pages, but those are just things I like doing and are not necessary for the Angie Way. Now you’re plan is ready and as you go through the month you can check off each day. If you fall behind a day just try to catch up later. There are also times when I’ve decided to DNF a book on the plan and I just cross it out, cross out the days that I’m supposed to read that book and read something else. Or I’m super into a planned book and finish it a day or two early. That’s okay too, I can get ahead on the next scheduled book, or mood read an extra book for those two days.
The plan is meant to be a guideline to help you finish obligation books on time. So you make it to those buddy read discussions, you finish your book club book before the meeting, and you post your reviews for advanced reader copies by pub date. If you have to change it up during the month, no biggie. If you abandon the whole plan in favour of binge-reading an 8 book fantasy series (me with Throne of Glass), that’s totally cool too.
I’ve seen people say that it’s too overscheduled, or it’s too strict. But the Angie Way plan is what you make it. It’s only overscheduled if you plan more than you can handle. And it’s strict because you have a deadline, if you don’t care about the deadline of arcs and buddy reads, than you don’t need a plan. It’s definitely not something that will work for everyone and that’s okay. But it has been working for me for a long time and I don’t miss deadlines. I feel accomplished everyday when I check that box and happy at the end of the month when I’ve finished all the books I wanted to. If that sounds like something you would enjoy, then please try the Angie Way! Feel free to ask me any questions here or on Instagram. I’m happy to help!