How To Read More:
Being A Busy Reader & Making Time to Read
Being a busy reader can be exhausting because we’re always scrambling for time to just get a good reading session in. So here are some tips on how you can make time to read, no matter how busy you get!
1. Read While Commuting
It might seem like a no brainer but if you’re taking some kind of public transport to get to work, school, university or anywhere really, you can usually use that time to read! Reading on the train can be super relaxing because they’re generally pretty quiet and have minimal road noises compared to buses and you can also always read if you are being driven anywhere (unless you get nauseous from that which in that case, I would recommend against reading in the car).
2. Try Audiobooks
If you find yourself getting carsick or getting motion sickness from reading a physical or ebook while commuting, you can also try audiobooks! Perfect for those who can’t read and for drivers themselves who want to listen to a book while driving. I used to do this myself, listening to the audiobook of The Raven Boys on my way to work and it can be pretty riveting.
3. Throw Away Distractions
Sometimes we say we are very busy people when we’re really ‘kind of’ busy people who are really good at procrastinating with other things.
Do I probably spend half an hour on Reddit or Twitter before I actually start reading? Yes, I probably do.
Okay, I definitely do.
Making time to read also means making sure you actually get to the reading part, so putting away or turning off any possible distractions like your phone, laptop, gaming console or cat is a pretty good first step to getting some reading done.
Maybe put some music on or go to a silent place, whatever gets you in the zone so that when you’re reading, you’re actually reading as much as you can and getting into it rather than flitting in and out and probably reading the same sentence over and over again.
We’ve all been there…
4. Read Before Bed
Turning things off also contributes to this tip – read before you go to sleep! Reading is actually amazing for your health in general (read more about that here) but reading before bed can be amazing for your sleeping habits. Not only does it pull you away from bright backlit screens but it helps your brain wind down after a long day. It reduces stress, helps clear your mind and helps you sleep way better than if you tried sleeping right after watching a Harry Potter marathon (not that I’d judge, I’m guilty as charged).
Getting into the habit to read before sleep can also mean that perhaps every night you’re guaranteed to read, let’s say, 5 pages. So if you don’t read at all during the day, you’re bound to read at least 5 pages every day.
However, remember not to fall into the trap of just ‘one more chapter’ – we all know that going to get you a book hangover.
5. Set A Small Goal
As mentioned above, 5 pages a day might seem small to you but a good way to get more reading done and to make time for it is to set small goals. Whether it’s 5 pages to 50 pages a day, depending on your reading speed of course, if it’s simple and easy to achieve, it’s going to give you a great boost getting that small bit of reading done. And what we do usually want to do once we achieve a reading goal? Read MORE. You can set these goals for reading in the morning, at night before bed, on your way to work or school, you can set 2-3 goals a day for your reading. Set small, achievable goals to suit your lifestyle and watch your pile of books rise like a phoenix from its ashes.
6. Always Have a Book
It can be a little hard to read a lot if you don’t have a book or ebook on you, so this is probably one of the handiest tips in this post. Keep a book on you at all times! If you don’t have the room on the go, maybe invest in getting a few ebooks on your phone for emergencies (make sure they’re books you want to read of course) or having an app at the ready to smash out some comics.
An app I highly recommend for those of you who are budget-bound like myself is Borrowbox! It’s a library but it’s online and lets you borrow and download eBooks and eAudiobooks for a certain amount of time. Most libraries have a subscription so all you need is the app and your library card to log in. This app has been a lifesaver when I’ve been bored out of my mind, somewhere in the wild with nothing to read and plenty of time on my hands. I don’t have the funds to simply go buy an eBook or eAudiobook on the Amazon Kindle app or Audible app so I’ll stick to the good old library which just happens to be online too.
7. Mix In Some Shorter Books
Sometimes reading can feel like a drag simply because you have little time on your hands and you are reading but you’re not finishing as many books as you’d like because the books you are reading happen to be beasts. 400-800 page fantasy beasts full of magic and assassins and crazy witches and, you get the picture.
Everybody loves a good, thick book but to help your reading mood, it’s good to mix in some short books too. Reading big books can make it hard if you have less time to read because it feels like you’re not getting anywhere with that super high page count so reading some shorter books can help give you a small sense of achievement and satisfaction cause hey, good job! You read a whole book (remember that not many do people can do that).
8. Do Some Reading Sprints
I had the pleasure of doing reading sprints for the first time this year and I had no idea how good it was for me. I ended up reading half my book by doing a handful of sprints while hosting the Biannual Bibliothon on Twitter and it’s actually a good strategy to read more.
If you’re not sure what reading sprints are, it’s basically a sprint of between 10 to 15 to 40 minutes where you commit to sitting down for that small amount of time and purely just read. I did sprints varying from 15 to 30 minutes and I was seriously surprised as to how much I read and also how fast the time went.
Sprint, take a break, sprint, go eat something, sprint, study, sprint – you can incorporate quick reading sprints throughout your day and get a lot of reading done that you might not have thought of. This is probably because many people tend to sit down and read for as long as they can but when you’re low on time, you can’t always do that. Reading sprints can be a cool way for you to get a simple 10 minutes in whenever you can to finish off that awesome novel you’ve been reading.
Remember that there’s no pressure on reading speed, there is no guide anywhere saying you should’ve read this many words, pages, books in this certain amount of time either.
9. Remember That Everything Counts
This is a huge debate that gets many readers like me angry (see my satirical comedic post on this here), but it doesn’t matter what you’re reading because everything counts. Physical books, eBooks, Audiobooks, comics, graphic novels, the newspaper, textbooks, manga – it all counts and no one should be telling you otherwise ‘oh that’s not a real book, so you’re not a real reader’.
Don’t ever let yourself be discouraged by your reading prowess because you don’t think you’re really ‘reading’ if it’s not a traditional printed paperback or hardback cover book. Everything counts – and you could be reading a whole lot more than you think in your busy lifestyle.
10. Try – NOT To Read
Believe it or not, it doesn’t make you any less of a reader if you’re not reading all the time. It’s okay to not read some days, it’s okay to not read for a week or a month, you are still a reader as long as you love and enjoy reading. There’s no point in forcing yourself to read if you’re too tired, too busy, too unwell or if you just don’t feel like it! Reading is the best kind of hobby there is in my opinion and you should keep it as light and flexible as you want it to be.
What did you think of my tips on how to make time to read on a busy schedule? Are you a super busy reader too?
Until next time,