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7 Ways to Find More Time to Read

Were you inspired by yesterday’s post to be intentional about including more reading in your everyday life? Here are 7 more ways to find time to read:

1) Set Goals for Your Reading

I’ve been amazed at how much more I’m reading when I have clear-cut reading goals in place. I picked 24 books I wanted to read this year and then broke this list down by choosing two books to read each month. Having this list (and publicly posting it here!) motivates me to stay on track and get through some books I’ve especially been hoping to read for quite awhile.

In addition to my yearly and monthly list, I also set weekly reading goals. I don’t always reach those goals, but setting them inspires me to always be looking for opportunities to improve my mind through reading! And I’ve also found it fun to keep track of all the books I read each year on Pinterest.

2) Join a Book Club

Want extra motivation to be reading? Join a book club — or start one with a friend or two. Not only does the accountability help you actually get the reading done, but it’s fun to discuss good books with others!

3) Read Aloud To Your Kids

Want to know a secret? Many of the books I read to my kids are ones I’ve chosen because I want to read them, too! And I know that when I start a book with my kids, it’s pretty much guaranteed that we’ll finish it in good time since there will be so many pleas for “just one more chapter!”

4) Have Multiple Books Going At Once

I know some people are one-book-at-a-time people, but I’ve found I read a lot more when I have multiple books going at once. Why? Because I pick up the book that fits my mood.

Sometimes, I’m in the mood for light reading and know I have more time so I’ll pick up my current fiction read. Sometimes, I know I just have a snippet of time, so I’ll pick up my current deeper non-fiction read. If I only had one book going, I’d likely only pick it up when I was in the mood for whatever the topic was.

One caution, though. If you’re a great starter and a bad finisher, set some boundaries for how many books you can have going at once.

For instance, I never have more than one fiction book going at once and no more than three non-fiction books going at once. I have a rule that I can’t start a new fiction book until I’ve finished one non-fiction book. This might seem silly to you, but it’s a way that I guarantee that I’m not getting in a rut and just reading the same sorts of things, but constantly reading from different genres and perspectives.

5) Keep Books in Multiple Places

In the same vein as having multiple books going at once, I’ve also found it’s helpful to have books stashed in different places so that they’ll be handy where I’m prone to be at different times of the day. In my purse, on the kitchen countertop, in the car… or yes, even in the bathroom. 😉

If you have to go to some effort to locate a book, you’re probably just going to skip messing with it. But if it’s right at your fingertips when you have a minute or two, it’s a no-brainer to pick it up and read a little bit while you have a little block of time.

6) Read Books that Interest You

While I think it’s great to sometimes push ourselves outside our comfort zone and read things that require some mental gymnastics to wrap your head around and contemplate, make sure that you have plenty of reading that is just thoroughly enjoyable to you. You want to look forward to reading, not dread it!

And if you start a book and find it’s not what you thought it was or just don’t find it engaging or helpful at all, just move on to something else guiltlessly. There’s no point in wasting time reading something that does nothing for you — especially when there are thousands of other fantastic books waiting to be read!

7) Establish a Family Book Basket Time

If you have younger children, you can help them develop a love for books from an early age by establishing a daily Book Basket Time. This is when they get to sit on the couch or in a comfy place and look at a basket of books you’ve put together for them (or that they’ve helped choose at the library).

When we have Book Basket Time at our house, I usually set the time for 15 minutes and then every sits and reads — and mom gets 15 minutes of relative quiet to read, too! Not only does this introduce your children to reading from a young age, but it also gives your children the opportunity to see Mom setting a great example for them. If we want to raise our kids to be readers, they need to see us reading, too!

Other suggestions from readers:

I read while brushing my teeth and blow drying my hair. I’m constantly amazed by how much reading I can get done while doing those two things! -Jen {Wow, Jen! I’m impressed! You need to make a video blog on how they pull this off — I want to learn!}

When I gave up Facebook for a month I was surprised how many books I could read. Not because I spend that much time on FB but because I was spending a lot less time on the computer total. -Diane

I also keep an “emergency book” in the car for those times I find myself waiting for someone or something. -Tracy

If you didn’t chime in yesterday, I’d love to hear your tips and tricks for when you fit more reading into your everyday life!

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31 Comments

  • Amanda Dykes says:

    Love this! Thanks for the great tips. #2 is a biggie for me– my book club keeps me carving out time for reading! If anyone is interested in Christian fiction, we discuss on weekdays (one title per month) on Facebook over here (and we’ll have September’s title poll up tomorrow [Wednesday]). https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Christian-Fiction-Book-Club/306491796078851

  • I love to read and I actually ivested in a Kindle last year and have really loved it. I do a great deal of reading when I’m waiting. Waiting in line, waiting in the doctors office, waiting to pick up my son from football practice. It might only be 5 or 10 minutes but I can usually get through a chapter maybe two.

    • deborah says:

      I keep thinking a Kindle would be nice for just such times. Haven’t found or set aside the extra money yet, though…. 🙂

      • Lori in NC says:

        Put the word out to friends, Sunday School pals, etc. – if they know anyone with a used Kindle. Some people don’t know what to do with their old tech items.

        We were surprised when our neighbor gave us his older model Kindle (free!) when he upgraded. It doesn’t have a touch screen, but it sure is neat to have — many people in our house use it. I personally don’t think it’s better than an actual book in my hands, but it does have its perks.

  • I also read while brushing my teeth and blow drying my hair! I hate those boring 15 minutes while waiting for my hair to dry, so I usually try to have a magazine or my phone (with a Kindle app on it) propped up on the counter so I can read.

  • deborah says:

    #3, #4, #5,- I do those too. 🙂 When my kids were younger I used to give them a rest time with a big stack of books. Very nice, needed quiet time for this mommy! They didn’t really need naps anymore, but having a quiet time was good for us all.

    I like to check out your Pinterest boards of the books you’ve read and the books you want to read. I’ve “borrowed” several ideas from you. While I know I don’t read as much as you do, I definitely favor your taste in books.

  • Susan says:

    Santa brought me a Kindle last year, and I LOVE it! I read a lot more than I used to, mostly because of convenience. I keep it in my purse so it’s always with me, and I read on my lunch hour, while waiting for my daughter’s extracurricular activity, etc. etc.

    The Kindle also serves #’s 4 and 5. More than one book is right there so I can choose whatever I’m in the mood for. And it’s always handy — I always know where it is.

    It’s also been great for my tween-age daughter. She doesn’t like to read (makes me sad) but is much more apt to pick up the kindle than a book. We still read books aloud together, and she finds the Kindle more appealing. It’s the technology, I guess.

  • Sarabell says:

    Wow, there you go again Crystal, always the inspiration! I had no idea you were such a reader! I love to read but when we have children we plan for me to homeschool and continue to work (writing my books and blogging) from home so I have said I was bummed I’d never get to really read again. Now I feel very confident that I can!
    Also, I just started an online book club on my blog! Since my blog is a travel blog, I’m featuring a book with a new location in it each month. This is our first month and the book is Lucy by Laurence Gonzales, which takes place in the Congo and Chicago. The discussion begins on August 31st so if anyone is at all interested, I’d love to have ya! Here’s a link: http://travelingphoblogwripher.blogspot.com/search/label/PhoBookClub

    • Crystal says:

      When there’s a will, there’s usually a way! 🙂 I want to raise readers, so it’s important for me to be a good role model for them. And I love reading so much that I can’t imagine it not being a fairly big part of my life.

      I love the idea of reading a book from a different location each month. What a great way to learn about new places and cultures!

  • Corie says:

    My Nook goes with me everywhere. I have about 400 books on it (most of them free) and my All You magazine (free with subscription). I also belong to a moms Bible study group and we read one book per semester (we are on a school schedule). I’ve read 20 books this year but one of them was Jane Eyre, which took me two months. Maybe I will try reading more than one book at a time. Thanks for all the tips!

  • I like to read first thing in the morning while the kids are still asleep, or during their naps. I also like to read on a bench in our backyard while they play in the sunshine. 🙂

  • Tammy says:

    I don’t have too hard of a time finding the time to read, what stumps me is finding appropriate reading material! I’ve grown tired of the sloppily written Christian fiction with weak story lines (maybe it’s time to find some new authors!), yet regular fiction is full of language and story lines that I don’t need to fill my mind with! And memoirs can look intriguing but be filled with language as well! It is frustrating to try to find a good book these days!

    • Emma K says:

      I love Christian Fiction too but I found I had almost outread myself because for awhile I read a book a night. So I branched out to some nonfiction. I love Karen Kingsbury & Dee Henderon. I’m looking at my kindle to see if I have any suggestions of authors you might not have read yet..Rachelle McCalla, Lynette Eason are a few I’ve read recently.

      Have you read any of the Sisterchick books? Love those too!

  • Great ideas! I need to start reading more 🙂

    • Tabitha says:

      I would also recommend Jan Karon’s The Mitford Series. Tracy Groot and Lisa Sampson also write well-written fiction. I’ve enjoyed Linda Hall’s books, and Kristin Heitzmann’s. An older author whom I enjoy is Rumer Godden, especially her “In This House of Brede” and “Five for Sorrow, Five for Joy.” I’m sure I’m missing some of my other favorites! 🙂

  • Karen says:

    Great tips Crystal. I haven’t read a book for quite some time now. I haven’t read a book for quite some time which is why I am so excited to get started on the book I bought. I can relate to your tactic on not moving on to the next attractive book once the current one is not finish. It really does provide motivation.

  • WilliamB says:

    Always have something to read with you. Newspapers and magazines are designed to read in short spurts, perfect for short bits of waiting such as when in line.

  • AGnes says:

    I’m inspired…thank you Crystal!!!

    What the difference btwn nook and kindle? can i ever get a good sale on either one of them? thanks so much!

    • Susan says:

      Agnes, Nooks and Kindles are both e-readers, just different brands.

      They rarely come on sale because the manufacturers set the price, but stores can run their own promotions. A store can’t change the price per se, but, for example, a store might run a promo where you can get a GC with purchase, or a free add-on such as a cover/stand. Fred Meyer (my local Kroger affiliate) will occasionally have store coupons in their ad for $30 off a purchase of $150 or more (or something similar) that can be applied to any electronics purchase. Sometimes they exclude certain items like Kindles and sometimes not, so you really have to read the fine print.

  • My i-touch goes every where with me so I have a kindle app. on it. I read sections of books while in long waiting lines ,the Doctor’s office, or while waiting for children. I also read a lot when we go to amusement parks, I get motion sickness so I don’t go on rides, but my 3 kids love them, so I read while they wait in line and ride. I usually get a whole book read by the end of the day!

  • Marie says:

    Crystal I asked a question yesterday about audiobooks. My trouble is that if I’m not fully concentrating on only that I miss what’s being said. I can’t have other distractions happening or it ends up being background noise. How do you listen and do other things at once? Is it something that maybe just won’t work for me?

    • Crystal says:

      I purposefully pick audiobooks that I’m okay with being interrupted during, because it definitely happens. I’ve found that business audiobooks seem to work best for me, rather than something like a fiction or biography audiobook where starting and stopping wouldn’t work so well.

      I do most of my audiobook listening while I’m cooking, driving, or exercising.

  • Sara Z. says:

    I listen to audiobooks when I go for walks. I also listen to them if I’m in the car by myself. Its amazing how quickly you can fly through books this way!

  • Brandy says:

    I read a ton more since I got an eReader. I usually just keep it with me in my purse, so if I have an unexpected wait somewhere, I can do a little reading. I also like to read while my kiddos play outside or at the park. I always spend the last bit of our time there playing with them, but they know that when we first get there it is “mommy break” and that they need to play independently for that time (this was also instated because they were spending their entire park time wanting pushed on the swings and they weren’t getting enough energy out!) The eReader also makes it super easy to check out book in the online library or promotions so I don’t have the cost of books holding me back from doing more reading!

  • Angie says:

    When I was a kid, I liked fiction, usually mystery. I liked the well-known Nancy Drew books, and I remember liking this author Lois Duncan (I may have messed up her last name). I would go through books fairly quickly, in about 2 days when I wasn’t in school.

    Now as an adult, I got into the habit of reading what I call light non-fiction, meaning the books are inspiring but not usually deep. The kind of books that make you feel smart for a second and then you realize they are really just junk food for the mind, sort of like fake-healthy foods make you feel healthy for a second until you realize they are really junk for the body (e.g. granola).

    I had begun moving away from light nonfiction and into books that are somewhat controversial, social-economical, political. But I didn’t always enjoy these books. I started reading one of these books, I liked it at first, but then it started to drag, and I ended up taking 5 months to finish the book. I kid you not, but I felt obligated to finish it. Maybe I should have picked up another book while I was reading it, but I didn’t. I was always one of those one book at a time people. Now I’m behind on my reading list because of the 5 months I spent trying to get through that book. Reading a fiction and non-fiction book at the same time is a good idea.

    Now that I’ve joined a book club, I’m reading fiction again and I’m glad for that. But I’m not familiar with what I kind of fiction I would like anymore. A lot of the books on my book club list are Twilight fan-fics, and I must be the only woman in my demographic who hasn’t read Twilight.

    Twilight might be good, but honestly I feel a lot of this Twilight fan-fic is sort of bad, but I don’t want to come across as pretentious in my book club and admit I simply did not like the latest book on the list, which everyone else in the club seems to love. Luckily we don’t spent most of our meetings talking about the books anyway. But I will have to suggest a book for the list at some point, and I’m trying to find something that I will like that other members of the club will like too.

  • When my older children were little I would read aloud to my kids during lunch. If you have small children or restless children this is a great time to read aloud because they are occupied and/or strapped into a booster chair and their mouths are full. So when I’m finished eating I would pull out the book and we could spend 15-30 minutes reading. Then I would take the little ones and read a couple of picture books to them before their nap. After they were down I could read for a little while longer to the bigger kids.

    For me having a variety is the key. I’m not a fiction reader, although I’ll read fiction to my children, but I love what my husband calls “mom’s picture books”. Those would be any kind of non fiction book with great pictures, cookbooks, sewing or craft books, or gardening books. I get these from the library and great pictures are the main criteria. These are my relaxing books.

  • Miranda says:

    I can usually get in about 10 minutes of reading while I am nursing my little one. I tell the older kids it is quiet time, so they can grab a book and sit with me or go play in their room. It is a bonus for the baby as well because she gets distracted and won’t nurse well when there is too much activity going on around her.

  • Keren says:

    Good thoughts. I’m progressing toward my primary goal of reading 75 books, but think I’ll still make it to my goal of 100 by the end of the year. (I just finished book #59.) And reading definitely has played a huge part in who I am and am becoming.

    I have a 4-year-old, 2-year-old, and an almost 3-month-old, with myself and my husband as the only care-givers/no babysitting. (Though we are about to have family nearby for several months.) I’m realizing it is possible (for many of us) to read, even with little ones. Especially since the advent of audiobooks. 🙂 But even if you read just 2 books last year, don’t feel guilty and read none this year. Set a goal to read 3 or 4. You might surprise yourself!

    Beyond having multiple books going at once, I also try to make sure I am reading at least one book in each of these 3 formats: 1)paper 2)Kindle (on my iPhone) and 3) audiobooks (also my iPhone) at any given time. I also try to read in a variety of genres throughout the year.

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