When I recently shared about my top 10 reads for 2015, I received many questions about how I possibly found time to read 74 books last year. I’ve blogged about this in the past, but I thought it would be a good refresher to share about this again, since so many people keep emailing in, tweeting, and commenting about it.
I am such a fan of reading, because of how it has impacted and changed my life. I am a different person because of the books I have read. It causes me to think, challenges my mind, helps me understand other perspectives better, and transfers me to different worlds to give me a break from everyday life.
I am a wife, homeschooling mom, and business owner. Yes, life is full, but reading is such an important part of my life that I make sure it’s a priority for me each and every week. I personally think everyone should and can try to find time to read.
Here are my suggestions for how to find more time to read, even when life is busy:
1. Set goals for your reading.
“We arrange time for what we think is truly important.” -Gladys Hunt, author of Honey From a Woman’s Heart
You can’t just say, “I want to read more” and expect it to happen. If you don’t come up with a plan of how to make it happen, it will stay in the want category and never move over to the do category.
I know many of you are overwhelmed at the thought of setting goals, but if you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there? When you set a specific goal for reading, you’re committing to make reading more of a priority in your life.
Think about how many books you’d realistically like to read. Only think about yourself, and don’t compare yourself to others when setting your reading goal. Set a goal that you know you can reach. Maybe it will be one chapter a week or one book each month.
Once you decide how many books you want to read this year, break that down and figure out how much you need to read each day to meet your goal. Then make that a daily habit of a specified amount of time or number of pages/chapters.
Decide when and how you will accomplish this each day. Will you read for 10 minutes before bed? First thing in the morning? During a work break? Do what works for you and your season of life.
You can get really creative with this, too! Consider audiobooks as a great alternative to enable you to read and multitask. You can listen to audiobooks in the car, while you’re running on the treadmill, or while you’re doing dishes.
Or maybe you’ll focus on reading aloud to your kids every night before bed. You could even have family reading time for a set amount of time each evening. Put together a book basket with everyone’s book in it, and decide to sit down as a family each night after dinner. Figure out a creative way to make it a part of your life!
Personally, I try to block out at least a little time every morning soon after I get up for reading and then block out 3-4 hours each Sunday to relax and get lost in a book. In my head, it’s blocked out as a priority each Sunday when I’m at home. It’s really important for me to take time to refresh myself, and reading is something I absolutely love. If I set aside specific times to read in my life, I know I will get through quite a few books by doing that.
2. Read books that interest you.
If you’re trying to make reading more of a habit, then it’s important to start out with books that interest you. This will help you make reading more of a habit from the get-go. You want to look forward to reading!
Yes, reading is designed to help you grow, improve, and be challenged. If you’re trying to develop the habit of reading more, though, it’s so important to read books you love and don’t want to put down. Once it becomes a regular habit, then you can shift to more challenging and thought-provoking books.
I like to have multiple books going at once — usually no more than 3. This actually helps me read more books, because I really like having a variety of books to choose from when I have time to read, depending on what mood I’m in.
Maybe you’re more of a one-book-at-a-time kind of person. Regardless, I recommend always having a book handy.
Stick a book in your purse when you leave the house, because you never know if you’ll have a chance to read. You may get stuck in line at carpool, have to wait at the doctor’s office, and countless other scenarios.
If you don’t want to carry a physical book around, have one eBook on your phone that you can read on-the-go. We post free eBooks almost every day, and it’s a great way to make sure you always have a book handy.
When considering what you’ll read, use the KonMari method of which books spark joy in you, and most importantly, give yourself permission to stop reading a book if you don’t like it. If you don’t like it or it’s not for you, simply put it down without guilt.
I used to always feel like I should finish a book if it was a classic or it was recommended by multiple people, but there are far too many other books in the world to stick to a book to the end just because. Give yourself the freedom to do that so that you can focus on reading books you enjoy.
3. Get some accountability.
Accountability is such an important part of goal-setting. Find a way to get accountability for your reading goals!
Join a book club, track it online, or read through a book with a friend. Reading through a book with a friend is a safe and fun way to foster a relationship as an Introvert. Post on your blog or on social media.
In addition to blogging through books here, I also love keeping a record of all the books I’ve read on Pinterest. It encourages me and keeps me accountable. You can see my lists of books read over the past few years for 2013, 2014, and 2015. Some people really enjoy using the GoodReads app, too. Find what works best for you!
I would love to hear from you! How do you find time to read more? What are your secrets?