Making Time for Reading

I started thinking about “when” I read and how that contributes to how much I read when I saw this video from Andi on YouTube:

And then I listened to this podcast from Simon and Thomas (aka The Readers).

The wheels were turning after listening to the video and the podcast. I had this blinding realization that I’m not alone. Finding time to read is a struggle for most of us. Readers read because we read intentionally and whenever we can.

Whenever I start talking about books and reading I usually illicit a sigh from friends, family, and coworkers and they either say, “I don’t know how you read so much” or “I wish I had time to read.”  Here I am feeling like I am merely skimming the top of what I read, but these non or light readers feel like I am reading a ton. They have no idea how much more I want to read.

Thinking about my life and how full it is (full time work, three kids, and a husband working full time and in college) I knew that to read as much as I could and ENJOY IT I needed to empower myself to read. My reading is certainly up for this year since I’ve claimed reading as my focus for the year. I’m no expert and I still have days (sometimes several in a row) where little to no reading is done, but I thought I’d share what’s working for me.

1. Scheduling: I have times set aside to read every day. I use my lunch break for reading. I avoid the internet or the urge to pay bills or make a grocery list. I find if I read on my lunch break I feel like I’ve had an actual break and return to work refreshed. I also use time if my schedule changes. For example, I’m on a hiring committee at work and we are interviewing folks next week. I needed to move my schedule to accommodate the interview time, so now I have an hour between when I drop the kids off and when I need to work. My butt is sitting in my van, outside the library, and reading.

2. Snippets of time: When I thought about my ideal reading time I always had in my head that around 30 minutes or more would be “perfect.” Then I realized I was wasting time when I am waiting in the car, or those 5 minutes before folks show up for a meeting, or getting at a doctor’s appointment. It has taken some getting used to, but I am now able to read in tiny snippets of time.

3. Chunks of time: I am also really bad at reading in chunks of time. On Friday’s I’m off and the kids are at school and I feel such pressure (pressure coming from myself) to do “something productive.” Now my mornings are for grocery shopping. Then I eat lunch and read for about an hour. Next, one hour of chores followed by a few hours of reading in the afternoon. I don’t care if my house goes to hell in a laundry basket of unfolded clothes.

4. Audio books: I’ve never liked audiobooks. Then I realized I keep trying to listen to Thomas Hardy or Virginia Woolf… poor choices for my attention span. Instead I like to listen to a modern novel or Sherlock Holmes stories. I listen at work when the task allows and I listen on my daily walks. I also knit in the evenings and listen to audiobooks and that is pretty much perfection.

5. My Kindle: My Kindle is endlessly useful as a parent trying to read. When the kids had a stomach virus I could read while holding a sleeping kid. I pull out my Kindle at family functions when I leave the room to nurse Persy Jane. An added bonus is I don’t lose my place when I abruptly have to put down a book.

6. Kindle App: An extension of my Kindle use is the Kindle app on my phone. A few weeks ago I was stuck in a long line at Subway. It ended up being a ten minute wait and I spent that time reading a novel on my phone rather than tweeting my annoyance at the long line.

7. Gifts of Time: For my birthday in April I told Sam that I want the Saturday before — Readathon day — to read. When we go on dates we often set aside time for him to draw and me to read at a cafe. Last Saturday I was off work and took a couple hours to leave the house and finish MaddAddam. I get up early and handle the kids and housework on a Saturday morning to have an afternoon to read instead of sleeping in. I consciously chose books over napping. My reading time is precious and I treat it as such.

8. Limited TV: We have Netflix streaming and Amazon prime and that’s it. We don’t really turn on the TV at night. If we do it is usually to watch a specific something and then we turn off TV. It rocks.
9. Priorities: I prioritized my hobbies. Reading is first with blogging as a close second. I don’t knit or bake or do crafty things unless I have spent some time that day reading. I have a lot of hobbies, but reading is my heart.

10: Not Reading: I don’t struggle to read books I don’t enjoy. I don’t make myself read if I am tired or sick or in a funk. I bounce back to reading sooner if I don’t force myself to read.

This has been working really well so far. Tell me, how do you find time to read? Anything to add to the list? Something on here doesn’t work for you? Do you have other suggestions?

That’s it. Now time to call it a day online and pick up a book!


One comment

  1. I was so surprised when I saw my head pop up in my Facebook feed! Thrilled that you liked the video, and that it + podcast (LOVE that podcast) got you thinking. I can pretty much only say AMEN to all of the things you listed. I use my phone for reading quite often. I love my Nook. I absolutely make myself read at lunch or I’m a beast as a result. I didn’t get to today because I had a class until 1pm and I had to scramble back to the office and get some stuff done. I’m ready to read. Might tear someone’s head off if I don’t. Just sayin’!

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