When people ask me how I can read so many books, I usually blow them off.
“Oh, I don’t have much of a life,” I tell them with a laugh.
And, in a sense, that’s true. I don’t keep a very full social calendar due to being an introvert and needing tons of alone time. I’m not in a relationship and I don’t have kids. It leads to having lots of time to read. And it’s my favorite hobby, so I make the time for it. It’s something I can’t imagine not doing, so reading is something I make time for every single day.
I have a lot of friends who want to read more. I don’t really think anyone needs to read as much as I do. If you’re reading at least 1-2 books per month, you’re doing fine. But if you’re looking for tips on how to read more, well then, I’ve got you covered:
1) Listen to audiobooks.
Do you have a long commute? Do you spend a lot of time by yourself cooking or cleaning? Do you like to take long walks? All of these activities lend themselves to prime audiobook time. I listen to a lot of podcasts, which means I don’t really listen to a ton of audiobooks, though I’ve been trying to listen to more this year. I love to listen to audiobooks when I’m driving (I never listen to the radio anymore, instead opting for a podcast or my audiobook in the car), when I’m cooking, when I’m cleaning, when I’m taking Dutch on walks. Sometimes, I can even listen when I’m working, depending on the task I’m doing. You could easily knock out 1-2 books per month simply by listening to audiobooks.
2) Read before bed.
I read before bed every single night. Sometimes, I can only manage a chapter before my eyes are too tired to focus and sometimes, I get in bed so early that I can read for 45 minutes or more. This is when I get the majority of my reading done. It’s such a habit for me that I feel weird if I go to bed without reading, even if it’s just a few pages. If you find that those hours right before you go to sleep are spent scrolling through Instagram or reading terrible news stories on Twitter, instead plug in your phone, set your alarm, and put it on Do Not Disturb. Then snuggle into bed with your book and read until you get sleepy. It’s the perfect end-of-the-day activity!
3) Read on your lunch break.
One of my favorite things to do is read during my lunch break. It really allows me to break up my day when I know I have at least 30 minutes (or more) set aside to dive into my current read. I used to feel embarrassed about reading at work, but I’ve been outed as a major bookworm, so now I have no qualms about it (and a good portion of my office reads on their lunch breaks, too!) If you’re looking for a pocket of time to get some reading in, your lunch break is the perfect time to do that. (And if you work from home, this works for you, too! I know too many of us tend to work through our lunch and, this way, you can physically set your computer aside and take an actual lunch break, complete with your latest book.)
4) Read in spurts.
I do a lot of my reading in spurts – 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there. It’s something that was apparent when I logged my reading for a week, as there were only four instances in the space of an entire week where I read for longer than 30 minutes. The majority of the time, I snuck in reading in 5, 10, or 15 minute spurts. And that’s still my M.O. today – lots of reading in spurts. There are a lot of little times during the day when you can probably sneak in some reading. Get to your doctor’s appointment early? Reading time. Have 10 minutes before you have to leave for work? Reading time. Need to use the bathroom? Reading time. (Ha.) You’ll be amazed at how much reading you can knock out in these little spurts of time!
5) Give something up.
The real truth of how to read more is that you have to give something up. You can’t just expect to read more without changing your life in some way, whether that’s less TV or less social media. Think about it: if you told yourself that when you got home from work, you weren’t going to open up social media for the rest of the night, you’d be able to spend oodles of time reading. (This article explains it better.) But the truth of the matter is that I don’t watch much TV (it took me four months to watch one season of Gilmore Girls and that is not a joke) and I don’t have a full, active social calendar. In order to read more, you have to open up space in your life and that usually means giving something up. But in doing so, you will gain so much more than bingeing on a Netflix series or scrolling endlessly through Facebook. Social media and TV have nothing on a good book, in my opinion.
Have any tips to add on how to read more? Let me know in the comments!