One of the saddest things that I get from people all the time when I share my love for reading is something along the lines of “I wish I actually had time to read”. I know that there are seasons for everything, and sometimes there truly isn’t enough time in the day to fit in something that seems like such a luxury. But for the majority of the people I’m talking to, they don’t “have time” to read because they’re spending time in other areas like scrolling on Instagram or mindlessly watching tv. Don’t get me wrong, I have spent entire evenings and weekends binging Criminal Minds and I love to check-in on Instagram, but more than that, I love to read – so I make time for it. It’s as simple as that! And there are several tricks that I use to squeeze in a few extra minutes of reading here and there that eventually add up to finishing another book from your shelf. Bear with me because I got a little wordy, but it’s worth the read.
Maybe the most controversial of all my “tricks”, I use audiobooks allll the time to get extra reading time in. There is much debate on whether listening to an audiobook “counts” as reading, but to me, it absolutely 100% does.
Audiobooks have been a lifesaver for me the last nine months or so as I’ve been doing a lot of traveling on the weekends, especially for my 8 hour drives to Birmingham. It’s helped me listen to a lot of books that maybe didn’t quite captivate my attention in print, like The Library Book, The Women in the Castle, and Bad Blood. I use Scribd for my audiobooks, and I’ll be sharing a full review on that soon, but there are plenty of paid and free services that you can use to enjoy books on the go! If you are a member at your local public library, there’s usually an app you can use to get free audiobooks like Libby – which is what my library uses.
If you’re a busy momma or just constantly on-the-go, audiobooks can be such a great addition to car rides, doing the dishes, folding laundry, etc., and you’re killing two birds with one stone. I will say that the narrator can make or BREAK the book, so if you’re using a paid service, make sure that you listen to a sample before you buy the full book. I’ve quit many books due to a boring narrator that just didn’t allow me to get into the story. My favorites are celebrity memoirs narrated by the authors like Michelle Obama’s Becoming or Busy Phillips’ This Will Only Hurt a Little.
Carry a book/e-book with you everywhere.
Having a book with me at all times has done wonders for my reading life. If I arrive somewhere early (which rarely happens lol) I’m able to pull out a book and get a few pages in rather than just mindlessly scrolling on my phone. Having a book, or even an e-book on your device, makes waiting rooms and lunch breaks much more enjoyable. I’ve found that knowing there’s a really good book waiting for me on my lunch break even causes me to be more productive in the morning because I’m looking forward to a little reading time over lunch. It’s a simple habit, but one that allows you to fill those random five minute pockets of time with something enjoyable and productive.
Commit to a daily reading goal.
This one is important. If you’re not able to find the time to read, days can somehow slip away from you without ever cracking open a book. When I set a goal or specific time aside, whether it’s ten minutes or an hour, I know that that is my time to read and relax. In the book The Miracle Morning, Hal Elrod talks about incorporating reading for personal development every morning during your routine. He recommends setting a goal of reading 10 pages every single morning. I try to read at least one chapter a day of whatever book(s) I’m into at the moment. And I obviously give myself grace when that doesn’t happen. But knowing that I have a goal to read to gives me motivation, and sometimes I get so engrossed in the book that I end up reading far more than just one chapter.
Read in a setting that you love.
I LOVE taking baths and relaxing on Sunday afternoons. I love a Friday night with absolutely no plans ahead of me after a busy week. I love laying out by the pool on a sunny summer day. These situations are some of my most relaxed and favorite ways to spend a day, so I choose to read during these relaxing times rather than checking one more thing off my to-do list that might add more stress or stuff to my day. Reading a few chapter of a really good book is much easier to do when I’m in a situation that I really feel comfortable in.
There are no rules!
Reading is different for every single person. I can maybe read up to three books at one time before I’m totally overwhelmed and confused and I end up just picking up one until it’s finished. I know people who read one book a day, one book a month, one book a year, etc. It is totally up to you and your preferences how you choose to read – it’s a HOBBY! Don’t make it stressful. Don’t force yourself to slug through a book that you absolutely hate or disagree with – something I’m sometimes guilty of. Read what you love – who cares about “guilty pleasures”? If you love the romance novel, read the romance novel!
Overall, read what you absolutely love, and you will find yourself picking up a book instead over your phone far more often. What’s your favorite hack for reading more when you’re busy?