When talking about books, I often hear friends say that they simply do not have enough time to read as much as they’d like to.
So here is a challenge; steal your time back! You deserve to treat yourself to the peace and quiet of alone time with a book. Here are a few helpful tips on how I’ve been keeping up with my two books a month reading goal this year, and how you can do the same;
- Always have a book on you. You never know when you’re going to be sitting around waiting for something or someone. Instead of mindlessly scrolling through your phone to kill time, pull out your book. I’m talking doctors office waiting rooms, bus stops, at the car wash, airports, or at the hair salon. Get in the habit of bringing your book with you wherever you go. You’ll see your screentime decrease and you’ll be flying through novels without even meaning to. This goes for audiobooks as well, make sure you’ve always got your headphones.
- Read while you walk. This one might seem like a stretch but hear me out. If you can text and walk you can read and walk. It’s that simple. I’m getting myself into the habit of reading on the walk from the office to the gym at lunch, I normally knock off around 5-8 pages. Easy. I’ve also gotten into the habit of reading on the treadmill. I set the incline as high as it will go and the pace to around 3, just below a jog. I know this might seem silly but a) it’s better than sitting still and b) I normally burn around 500 calories and c) I do an actual workout after. I’m the type of person that has to trick myself into exercise. Books help with that. I digress. This one goes for commuters as well, if you take the bus to work or carpool, read while you travel. If you have to drive yourself, try an audiobook. I listened to the entire Harry Potter series just going to and from work.
- Read before bed. This one is pretty simple. Leave your phone far enough from your bed that it is out of your reach, and try to read one chapter before you go to sleep. I actually have a ‘before bed book’ going lately, that’s different than the main book I am reading. I try to make my ‘before bed book’ a lighter read, one that won’t keep me up too late or give me nightmares. Christian and I are taking turns picking out which book we are both going to read before bed. Right now it’s his pick, The Alchemist.
- Swap out streaming time for reading time. This past year I’ve found myself watching less and less TV. It’s funny, whenever in the past I’ve burned through a full season of a Netflix show, I find myself thinking about the amount of time I spent watching and I always feel guilty. It’s never the same with books. Do you notice how no one brags about how quickly they finished a full season of New Girl, but the testament of a great book is how quickly we tore through it? Time spent reading is never time wasted. We’re living in an era of streaming. There is no lack of content to fill our brains and our time with. We deserve better, demand more of your attention and to what you give it. I’m not saying TV is the enemy, I do still indulge in a few choice shows and watch my fair share of NHL, I’m saying be protective of your time and how much of it you spend being a passive watcher as opposed to an engaged reader.
- Set a reading goal for the year. I am a goal oriented person so this one works well for me. This year I’ve challenged myself to read 24 books, or 2 books per month. By simply having a goal, I keep myself on track each month. Book Clubs help for this one too because they give you a deadline to have a book finished. Reading goals can be as simple as three books a year. Whatever your goal is, write it down and stick to it.
All of this being said, I know it is different for everyone. When I come home from work I don’t have the same responsibilities and obligations of those of you with children. I am also very lucky to have a partner who enjoys reading as much as I do, and who considers sitting next to each other both lost in a different book, quality time. This is simply a challenge to find more time in your life to read more where it works for you. You deserve it.
Happy Reading! Annie