Four Simple Ways to Make More Time For Reading In Your Life

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One of the questions I get asked most often is “how do you have time to read as much as you do?”. Well, the simple (and sometimes not-quite-so) answer is that I make time for the things and people that make me happy, and reading is no different. When I’m not writing, you can usually find me with my nose in a book, cup of coffee never too far away. I’m a hungry and voracious reader, thumbing through dozens of books a year, ranging from fiction, to non-fiction to self help. From Cheryl Strayed, Shauna Niequist, Elizabeth Gilbert and Erin Loechner to Brianna Wiest, I absorb books like a sponge, and they fill me with much comfort, happiness and knowledge.

In today’s blog post, I’m sharing with you four ways in which I, personally, carve out the time to put my nose in a book and escape to a different world for a little bit.

1. Redirect your distracting habits.

In his YouTube documentary, BOOKSTORES: How To Read More Books In The Golden Age of Content, Max Joseph interviews Eric Barker, author of Barking Up The Wrong Tree about how he manages to read as much as he does. 

He explains “On my phone, I don’t have Facebook, I don’t have Twitter, I don’t have email. I’ve redirected my instinct to check social media towards the Kindle app. I give myself three checks a day unless there’s an explicit reason where I know an important email is coming in. Every time I feel that urge to check-in, I pause and ask myself ‘is there a good reason for this and if not, I redirect that towards reading a book’”. 

If you’re wanting to make reading a priority in your day, take a page from Barker’s book and redirect your distracting habits into cracking open that book.

2. Actually set aside time for reading.

You know how you tell yourself every day that *today* will be the day you will workout? But then you have work to do, or a deadline to focus on, or the dog needed to be walked, or let’s be real, there was a show on Netflix you’d rather watch. You never get around to working out because you didn’t allocate a time in your day that would solely be dedicated to that activity. It is very similar with reading. These “elective” activities will never become a priority in your life unless you make time for them and include them in your schedule.

3. Utilize “fringe moments”.

Fringe moments are idle fragments of time between two activities or events. Say, between getting ready to meet a girlfriend and actually meeting her at the coffee shop. A fringe moment would be the time spent on the bus to meet her. Use those 20 minutes wisely and bring a book with you. Or let’s say you finished writing an article and you have a client call in ten minutes, but you know that doesn’t give you enough time to start writing a fresh piece. Instead of pulling out your phone and mindlessly scrolling, read a couple of pages of your book instead. You’ll be amazed at how much more reading you’ll get done in a day, just by having a book on hand for fringe moments.

4. Link the act of reading with another action.

For me, this usually means lighting a candle and making myself a hot drink (coffee in the morning, tea at night). It’s the act of lighting that candle or brewing the water for the drink that gets me “in the mood” for reading. My brain already knows, as soon as I’ve hit the button on the kettle, that we’re about to settle down and read for a while. If you’re having trouble focusing on reading, I find that linking another action to the act of reading can mentally prepare you for a time of quiet and focus.

I hope these tips helped you and that you’ll be able to be more intentional about your reading habits, making a little bit of time everyday to dedicate to this activity. If you want to keep up with what I’m reading (because I’m always reading something new) follow me on Goodreads or subscribe to my weekly newsletter where I share more in-depth thoughts about the books I’ve read.

Until next time,