Ideas For Finding More Time to Read
Find something that works for you to enrich your reading life
One of the most frequent posts related to reading I see across social media is “how do I find more time to read?” Most people have many responsibilities that keep reading on the back burner, to be done at the end of the day when you are dead tired and can’t stay awake. I don’t know about you but if I’m tired I can read myself to sleep in less than 5 minutes. Not much reading gets done when you can’t stay awake.
There are 24 hours in a day—most of those hours are spent at work, with family, and sleeping. With the few remaining hours available, you have to somehow figure out how to fit in everything else you want to do along with those things you feel you need to do. Most people can’t just sit and devote hours to reading. Oh, how nice that would be if we could.
If wanting to find more time to read is your goal, you have probably heard of most of the ways below to do just that. Maybe this will be the push you need to put one or more of these ideas in practice to finish another book or two each month.
Keep your devices out of reach - The most significant time suck in many people’s lives is the constant scrolling, checking notifications, responding to text messages, and just generally wasting time online. Don’t read on a device unless you turn off notifications. Keep your devices in the other room, out of sight. If you like reading on a device, get one that doesn’t connect to social media so you won’t waste time scrolling.
Read good books that interest you and DNF the ones that don’t - If you are not interested in what you are reading, you will not look forward to reading, therefore, not finding the time to read. Would you continue watching a TV show or movie if you weren’t interested in it? Probably not, so do the same with reading. And no matter what anyone tells you, you can DNF a book; you do NOT have to be a completist. The book police will not come after you, and no one else will know you didn’t finish a book unless you tell them.
Commitment, priority, and routine - Commit to reading for a specific amount of time daily. Make a decision, change your mindset, and make reading as natural as breathing or eating. A commitment means you are making reading a priority. Treat it as you would any other priority in your life that you seem to find the time for.
Read in different formats - All reading formats ARE considered reading, even if you listen to a book; don’t let anybody try to convince you otherwise. There are times and places where it makes more sense to read on a device, listen to an audiobook, or hold a book in your hand to read. Some books are best enjoyed when you combine reading and listening to the same book. Do what works best for you, and don’t listen to any naysayers. You are the only one in charge of what format you read in and when.
Read more than one book at a time - Think of reading like eating. Would you eat your favorite food for several meals straight, or would you vary your diet? Read different books or genres simultaneously and switch between books when you want a different reading experience. Your mood today may be different than your mood yesterday, so why not have other books to read that will keep you reading.
Don’t leave home without a book - There are times throughout your day where you have small amounts of time to read, but unless you have a book in some format with you, you will not read; you will waste precious reading time scrolling aimlessly. When you are driving or commuting, you can listen to audiobooks. When you are sitting at your child’s sports practice, you can listen or read. When you are in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, you can do the same. If you were to keep track of a typical day, you’d probably find several opportunities to read for 5-10 minutes at a time. Those can add up quickly.
Put a book in every room (even the bathroom) - If you have a book at your fingertips every time you sit down, you are more likely to read than if you don’t. Sometimes the bathroom is the only place to find a little peace and quiet for a few minutes. You have to take your reading moments when you can get them, no matter what room you are in.
Eliminate decision fatigue, schedule your reading - If every time you wanted to find something different to read, you had to look through your books, Goodreads, or some other source, you are likely to waste time trying to find your next read. Plan your reading by scheduling your next few reads so when you finish a book, you immediately grab the next book on your list and start reading again.
Set goals and track your reading - These goals can be a specific number of books to read in a week, month, or year. This goal could also be a number of pages to read at each sitting, a specific number of minutes, or whatever you want the goal to be; it’s your choice, your goal. However, do not set unrealistic goals, or you will most certainly fail. You could do a reading challenge to give you a variety of books to read, but don’t do every reading challenge you find on the internet. Completing your reading goals rewards you with a sense of accomplishment.
Despite the best intentions and no matter how much you plan for your reading, life will get in the way. Someone will interrupt you, you will have to stop to do something else, or any number of things can and will happen to distract you and keep you from reading. Different seasons of the year and your life will also lend themselves to more or less time to read, and the key to that is to recognize those times and adjust accordingly.
Most of all, HAVE FUN. Don’t let any of this make it more challenging to read. After all, reading is supposed to be fun and something you look forward to doing.
I hope this list helps you find more time to read, even if it is just a few minutes every day. For now, find a great book in a format that works for you, and happy reading!