Recently, a very good friend of mine messaged me to ask for help. He wanted some advice on how to find time for reading. I gave some advice based on strategies that have worked for me. His request has inspired me to share my thoughts on how to make more time for one of life’s greatest pleasures.
There never seems to be enough time in the day for reading. We all have responsibilities that have to be completed. Between working, household responsibilities, and spending time with our loved ones, finding time to read becomes a strenuous challenge. Therefore, it is imperative to make time to read. I’ve compiled a few tips into this post, some of them the result of personal experience while others are strategies that friends have tried. I hope some of these tips are helpful.
1. Read at the beginning or end of your day.
I’ve clocked some of my best reading in either the early morning before my day truly begins or during a few precious minutes at bedtime. These are actually great ways to begin and end your day. I’ve discovered that reading in the mornings actually gets my brain energized, and doing the same at bedtime helps calm me down before entering the dream world.
2. Take advantage of those small gaps of time.
You don’t have to have a huge gap of time to enjoy your favorite book. I firmly believe one has to be prepared for those small gaps of a few pages in addition to the longer marathon sessions. It may not seem like much at the time, but those little moments truly add up. I also discovered DailyLit, a website that sends you classics and other fiction in small installments.
3. Take your book with you.
I always take a book with me anywhere I go. Sometimes, I can read during a break at work. Fortunately, I’m one of those lucky readers that can read anywhere. I’ve actually done quite a bit of reading while my wife and mother-in-law do some shopping. Just find a place to sit and go for it. If I forget my book, no problem. I have books downloaded to my phone. Leaving the house without some lit is never a problem.
4. Start small. Think big.
I am not a fast reader by any stretch of the imagination. Sometimes taking on those longer books can be a daunting task. The good news is that there are a lot of great books out there that are quick reads. Some of the “classics” that seem too impossible to take on are actually quite short. Tackling some shorter works can always be great motivation because it feels great to get a book completed.
5. Listen to a book.
Are you tired of listening to the same music on the radio? Try an audio book. You not only make the most out of that commute to work but you are tackling your reading goals in a totally different way!
6. Set a goal.
Sometimes it helps to set a small goal for yourself. Maybe you want to complete four books in a month. Perhaps, your goal can be to read one chapter of something each day. Make your reading goals doable for you.
7. Start with your interests.
Read books you know you will enjoy. If you are into suspense novels, read those. If science fiction is your genre of choice, start there. If you find that the book you are reading just isn’t grabbing your interest, then put it down and go to another one. I’ve abandoned lots of books in my time. Seek out the ones you will love.
8. Make the time.
A wise man once said that if something is important you make the time. Sometimes scheduling time in your hectic schedule has to be done. Don’t be embarrassed about making reading time. It’s personal enrichment and free education.
9. Turn off the TV.
I’m very guilty of this one! If you are home alone, turn the box off for a bit, crank up some music, and chill out with a good book.
10. Reward yourself for getting those tasks completed.
If you feel guilty because you have so many other things on your plate, make a list of the ones that need to be done for that day. Once you cross everything from the list, your reward is half hour of reading. I don’t do this nearly as much as I should, but I definitely feel calmer once I’ve made a list and taken care of the daily priorities.
I hope this was helpful. Also, I would love to hear suggestions on how you make time for the precious act of reading.