I have always loved to read. From spending my Saturdays curled up with a book to attending midnight releases of my favorite series, reading has always been a part of my life.

Then I became an adult. Finding time (or energy or desire) to read became much more difficult. If I discover a fantastic fiction book, I can get lost in it for hours. But as I work towards becoming the best version of myself, I crave the insight and lessons of non-fiction books.

Creating the list of  books I wanted to read was simple, finding the right time to read them was not. I tried to be a bedtime reader; but as a morning person, I wasn’t retaining information at night. I tried to be a morning reader; but as a morning person, my body and my brain wanted to check off more daunting tasks.

I finally settled on being a commuting reader. Living in NYC gives me the luxury of commuting time. While my total time on the train is only about 30 minutes per day, that was still 30 minutes I could spend learning and growing through reading!

But in order for me to truly get the most value out of non-fiction books, I needed to highlight and mark important passages. How was I going to highlight and take notes if I was standing on a crowded subway? I wasn’t. That’s how I came up with my sticky note system.


I took one of the many sets of sticky note flags from my collection and stuck it inside my book. When I reach a word or phrase or paragraph that I know I want to revisit or rewrite, I mark it with a page flag. By the end of my commute, I usually have a dozen or so sticking out of my book.



Then later that day or even the next morning, I will take my highlighters and review all of the items that I marked.

Like pretty much everything in life, the system isn’t perfect. Sometimes the train is so crowded, I can’t get to my book. Sometimes my thoughts are too crowded and I just need the time to think. Sometimes there’s a new video from one of my favorite YouTuber’s that I’m dying to watch, so I do.

For the most part though, I have found a groove that has allowed me to finish books faster than I have in my entire adult life AND a method to retain their value.

If you have any non-fiction books that you highly recommend, please let me know in the comments below! My book list can never be too long.