When I posted my reading list for 2014, I had a few people ask me how I make time to read. This is such a wonderful question and one I’m excited to answer!
I love reading because I love learning! I’ve always been an avid reader. As a matter of fact, one of my consequences for disobeying my parents was “no reading allowed.” Getting my book taken away was always the ultimate of punishments!
I’ve found several ways to make more time to read throughout the years. I want to share fifteen of my best tips to help you make more time to read in your own life!
15 Ways to Make More Time to Read
1. Make reading a priority
You make time for what is important to you. Reading is very important to me, so I make time for it.
2. Set a reading goal
I always make a list of books I want to read at the start of a new year. Then I set monthly goals for reading, breaking my yearly goals into bite-size pieces. I talk about how to do this in my eBook, Live for Him: A Grace-Filled Look at Planning. Setting a goal for reading helps hold me accountable to keep reading a priority.
3. Make reading a part of your routine
It is a rare night that I don’t read before going to sleep. I’m seldom ready for sleep when I lay down. I usually spend about 15 minutes reading before falling asleep. Reading has become a part of my routine. Some people like to read after their quiet times in the morning or during the children’s afternoon rest times. Just pick a part of your day that you can incorporate reading for a few minutes.
4. Keep books readily accessible
Keeping books readily accessible helps me to snatch a few minutes of reading here and there throughout the day. I like to keep a book in areas where I frequent most. The key is not to get caught without a book on hand. So utilize your local library or create a book basket to corral the books you’re reading. Do what it takes to keep books available!
5. Be willing to read in spurts
I rarely get to sit down and read for hours on end. It’s even rare for me to get to read for more than 15 minutes at a time. But it’s amazing how many books you can read simply by picking up your book and reading for five minute spurts here and there. Those minutes and pages add up, and they add up quickly! Just because you don’t get your ideal of a crackling fire, warm cup of tea, and a cozy blanket doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy a good book!
6. Read more than one book at a time
I usually have at least a couple of books going at one time. This gives me freedom to choose what I’m in the mood for. Right now I’m reading a book to grow my faith and a book on time management. One is heavier in content than the other. I’m not always able to concentrate on a book about the attributes of God, but can dig into some Biblical principals on time management. Occasionally I will also have a fiction book in the works! Reading more than one book at a time means I usually have something going to fit my mood.
7. Don’t be afraid to go away from your list
Last year I made a book list, and about midway through the year, I wanted to read several new books that weren’t on my list. I had a hard time not feeling guilty about changing gears. This year I am giving myself permission to change my mind!
8. Turn off the TV
As a mom who only has so much time in a day, I knew I had to choose what was most important to me. I love watching Pioneer Woman on Food Network, but I can’t read and watch TV. I choose reading and turn the TV off. Not ready to give up TV altogether? Consider reading during the commercials!
9. Get off Facebook
This is a tough one. But think about the 5, 10, or 15 minutes you get sucked into Facebook (or Pinterest or Instagram) during the day. Consider replacing at least ONE of these urges with a few minutes of reading time (a book, not a blog!). This is definitely a discipline, but I found I had more time to read when I chose to reach for a book instead of check in for the latest status update.
10. Keep a good book on your mobile device
I don’t have a Kindle, but I do use the Kindle app on my iPhone and iPad. I always keep good books lined up on my mobile device for those times when I’m out and find myself waiting. I’ll read while I wait for my turn at the bank, while waiting in the checkout line in the grocery store, sitting at a red light that I know takes FOR.EV.ER!!, or while my children play at the library. Keeping a book on my mobile device means I always have a book accessible even when I’m out running errands. This is also a great way to read all those eBooks you purchase (or get for free!).
11. Utilize the wonderful world of audiobooks
I do not utilize audiobooks often because I’m not an auditory learner. I’m more visual or tactile. But this is a great way to read more books if it works for you. Don’t feel guilty about not actually sitting down with a book! This is a wonderful gift. Use it! I plan on incorporating audiobooks into our car rides when my toddler is just a little bit older.
12. Read while you exercise
Some people like to listen to music while they exercise – this would be me. But if you’re looking for a new way to read more books, stick a book on your treadmill, or use your earbuds and listen to an audiobook. This is a great time to multi-task and strengthen your mind while you’re strengthening your body!
13. Ban the guilt
Nothing can deter you from reading more than feeling guilty about not reading more. Do what you can when you can! Don’t compare yourself to other women who read more or less than you. You know your time limits and abilities. Just stick to what you can do and ban the guilt. God has gifted us all in unique ways! Be who you are even when it comes to reading.
14. Use the bathroom
Okay. I said it. I’m a mom. Going to the bathroom and locking the door is sometimes the only way I get peace and quiet. Of course peace and quiet is relative with the repetitive knocking or the baby crying from the crib. But that’s neither here nor there. The point is the bathroom is a great place to get some reading done. You’re just sitting there. Multi-task.
15. Read while you blow dry your hair or brush your teeth
I have snagged a few minutes of reading while doing a mundane personal care task like drying my hair or even brushing my teeth. Remember you don’t have to read only when you have your ideal situation! You can read a lot of books by just reading while drying your hair. A few minutes a day adds up quickly!