Do you ever wish you knew how to find more time to read?
I love reading. One of the times I look forward to most in my day is snuggling down in bed, early, with a great book. That, and browsing bookshop aisles, choosing something new and exciting to bring home and add to my shelf. I read all sorts of books. Crime, romance, fantasy, historical, political, educational, biographies, cookbooks. Books to me are like amazing little worlds just waiting to be experienced.
So, here’s my problem. Over the past few years I’ve logged all the books I’ve read on Goodreads and taken part in their yearly challenge. My goal for 2019 was 40 books, but I only managed 31. During the first two years I took part in these challenges, I read 60 books. But this number has gradually declined and in the meantime my to be read pile has expanded dramatically. I really need to work out how to find more time to read.
Why am I not reading as much as I used to?
Since I love reading so much and have so many books I want to read, how is it that I’m reading half as many books as I used to? I know that a lot of it is because of my current job. I start work early so unless I want to wake up at something awful like 4.30am to read, it’s not going to happen. And when I go to bed in the evening, I only manage a few pages before my eyes start to drop.
I have hundreds of books on my shelves. Not to mention all the bargains I’ve picked up on my kindle. And I can honestly say I still want to read pretty much all of them. So, I need to get inventive and try to think of ways I can fit more reading into my life.
How to find more time to read – My 13 top tips
These are my 13 top tips and ideas to think about if you want know how to find more time to read.
1 Only read books you love
If you are really looking forward to picking up your book then you are much more likely to make time to read it. And when you are reading it’ll be much more tempting to start just one more chapter. Choose a couple of books that really grab your interest and put them where you like to read. Then you’ll always have one at hand to tempt you along with another to jump into straight away when you’ve finished.
2 It’s OK to give up on a book
In the past I’ve had a few books that I’ve grumpily persevered to the end of, not wanting to feel like I’ve given up or failed. These books have taken me ages to read as I’ve not felt the urge to pick them up often. But life is too short to waste time on a book you don’t love. And there are so many more books out there. Don’t feel bad. If you’re just not enjoying it, dump the book and move on to something new.
3 Mix up your genres
I’m definitely one for reading a variety of books. I love historical novels but can’t read too many on the trot so will often follow one with an easy chic lit type book. If you think you only like crime novels, throw in a fantasy book for a change, or a biography. You might discover a new passion. Some of my favourite books have been recommendations about subjects I never would have chosen for myself.
4 Have several books on the go
I often have a few books on the go at the same time. I almost always read fiction at bedtime as it relaxes me and doesn’t involve me having to think. Then I’ll have a non fiction hardback that I’ll pick up if I get the chance during the day as they aren’t so comfortable to read in bed. I also like to have an educational or self-help type book for when I’m in the mood to learn.
5 Read instead of watching TV in the evening
The average Brit watched over 19 hours of TV a week in 2019. And that doesn’t include streaming services. That works out at over 2.5 hours a day. There is definitely scope there to make some time for more reading instead. Challenge yourself to no TV for a week and use the time to enjoy your books. Or if that seems too much to start with, try setting a target of no TV one day each week. You might find you prefer reading and it might help you sleep better too.
6 You don’t need long stretches of time
Read whenever you have a free moment. You don’t need to wait until you have 20 minutes or more to spare. Have books at hand so you can polish off a chapter while dinner is cooking, or you are waiting for hubby to come home.
7 Find a regular gap in your day for reading
Whether it is in your lunch break, on the bus or train to work, or a little bit of free time between getting home from work and putting the dinner on. If you have a time that you start to associate with reading it will soon become a habit. You’ll have something to look forward to and will find you are whizzing through your books.
8 Make reading a treat on your days off
Enjoy lazy weekend mornings in bed with a cup of tea and your favourite book. Or read while you treat yourself to a leisurely breakfast.
9 Consider Audiobooks
Audiobooks are a great way to get through more books. You can listen to them while out walking, driving or doing the housework or cooking. I’ve found my attention wanders when I listen to fiction audiobooks. I might try some non fiction audiobooks though as I love listening to podcasts.
10 Delete those mindless apps off your phone
Many of us are guilty of wasting time mindlessly scrolling through social media or playing on games apps. Delete those apps off your phone or limit yourself to looking just once or twice a day. Spending that time reading instead will be much more satisfying.
11 Aways have an EBook on the go
Make sure you always have a good ebook that you are reading that you can link across devices. That way you can read on your phone if you are stuck in a waiting room or are early for a meeting.
12 Set yourself some reading goals
I’ve been participating in the Goodreads reading challenge for the past few years, setting myself a target number of books to read. But you could also set yourself goals for your reading sessions. One chapter, or 20 pages. Don’t start too high to begin with, but choose something achievable and build on it.
13 Read at bedtime
Make it a habit to always read at bedtime. Even just a few pages. It will help you to relax and unwind, forget the stresses of the day, and prepare for a good night’s sleep.
I think most people probably have time to read more if they want to. If you have time to scroll through your phone, or watch TV, you have time to read. You just have to consciously make it reading time. And, I think the key to making more reading time is by turning it into a new habit.
Firstly, by allocating a time to read, be it morning, evening, or at snatched moments you may have during the day. Make it become second nature to pick up your book at these times.
Secondly, by making it fun. Create a list of books you are really looking forward to reading. Set some goals for how many books or how often you are going to read. Or challenge yourself to try a different genre. Join a bookclub, either online or in person. It can be fun to discuss what you have been reading with other people and you could get some good recommendations for your next book.
Check out my post 10 ways to build a new habit and make it stick for more ideas to create a new reading habit.