5 Tips for Finding Time to Read
After having children my reading life hardly existed for a few years. I went from being a voracious reader to barely reading a few books a year. That time of life is exhausting but as I emerged from the sleep deprived fog I made a conscious effort to read more. The number of books I read each year grew steadily. Obviously how many books you read is not the only factor in a satisfying literary life, but we'll tackle that another time and just focus on making time to read.
1. Don't limit reading to bedtime. This worked for most of my life, but with small children any attempt to read in bed led to me falling asleep with a book falling on my face barely a few pages in. On the odd chance I managed to really get absorbed in a book I stayed up way too late and was exhausted the next day. Reading in bed when I wake up works great for me and is much more satisfying than scrolling through my phone, but I also read throughout the day now, even in small chunks which leads me to:
2. Always have a book on hand. For me this means I employ an "Upstairs/Downstairs" strategy. I keep a book by my bed, usually on my kindle (see below), and one downstairs, always a physical book. The downstairs book always comes with me when I go out during the day. I can't tell you how many times I've been so happy to have a book in my purse when I didn't think I would encounter reading time. I also reach for my downstairs book when I cook, if I have to wait for water to boil or something to finish in the oven, or just for breaks in my day.
Having the book out in plain sight encourages me to reach for it rather than my phone.I realize it may seem weird to some people to read two books simultaneously but I really enjoy this. I do make sure they are very different and so far I've never confused what is going on in the two stories.
3. Consider an e-Reader. I promise that I was as reluctant to this idea as anyone but it changed my life. When I travel I no longer need to worry about how many books I can fit in my luggage. I have the Kindle Paperwhite, which means I can read it in bed after my hubby has gone to sleep without bothering him with an overhead light or dealing with an annoying clip-on book light. And I don't have to worry about the damaging blue light you would find on a phone or tablet.
4. Utilize your library's hold system. I always have a few books on hold at my library, both physical and e-Books. Sometimes I have more ready at a time than I can actually read before they're due (when it rains it pours with library book holds!), but I rarely run out of reading material.
5. Read with your ears. Are audiobooks cheating? No! Reading shouldn't have rules. Audiobooks are an awesome way to listen to a book while you walk, run, or are in the car. I also listen to audiobooks on my Echo Dot in the kitchen while I cook dinner or clean up (slightly easier than reading while washing dishes, but, hey, that was just something I couldn't put down). I used to get books on CD at the library until I got a new car that doesn't have a CD player. After messing around with the library's various digital media apps, I finally got an Audible subscription that gives me two new listens a month. One for me and one for when the kids are in the car. They love them as much as me. I can't tell you how many extra miles I've walked because I just couldn't turn off my book or how many times our whole family has sat in the garage to finish a good part.