Listen to this post
You’ve got a brunch date, a business meeting, and a bank run. And then you need to do your laundry and finish writing up that report you’ve been putting off for a while. So how on Earth are you supposed to find time to read for fun? It may even be especially hard if your job or school requires a lot of reading, which can unfortunately take the joy out of books.
Carving out time for any activity can feel like a massive chore, but it doesn’t have to be! Here are some tips to make time to read.
Ah yes, the words that can spark joy or fear or both at once: to be read. That shelf full of unexplored worlds, that insurmountable mountain of books that—let’s be real—we probably will never finish. But TBR also stands for Tailored Book Recommendations, a service that helps you carve out more time to devour as many books as you can!
A TBR bibliologist sends you expertly curated titles, so you don’t have to spend time browsing. Since you get paired with a professional book nerd, you can trust that the recommendations will be right up your alley. Say goodbye to that awkward ‘I’m kinda bored with this book but should I keep reading but also my time is precious but what if it gets better in chapter 7’ stop-start sequence!
Designate Separate Reading Spots for Work and Leisure
If you already spend a lot of time reading for work or school, you might struggle to find ways to boost your leisure reading time. I definitely had trouble finding that balance in college and earlier in my career. But now, designating a work reading spot and a leisure reading spot helps me maintain a healthier work-life balance and ensure that I have time to actually read for fun. (Or, more accurately, to get my heart ripped out and torn to shreds and set on fire.) For me, work reading is always at my desk, and fun reading is always in bed.
Yes, Audiobooks Count Too
Listening to books is absolutely not cheating, full-stop. If you’re one of those mythical multitaskers that can digest aural information well, audiobooks are a great way to maximise each minute of your day. Sure, you’re probably not going to listen to an audiobook during a business meeting, but pop in some earbuds on your grocery run!
Limit Your Screen Time
I didn’t truly register how much time I was spending until iOS came out with the time tracking function. The result? I was staring at my phone for a daily average of 7.5 hours a day. Whew. So I’ve turned to apps like Flora and Forest to help me stay away from my little robot box. Once you set a timer, a little flower or tree will grow on your screen. However, if you use your phone, the flower or tree will die.
If you read on your phone or you’re simply not ready to entirely cut off your phone usage, you can also set time limits on the most time-sucking apps.
Make Reading Part of Your Routine
Okay, this is easier said than done, but the thing about routines is that not every step has to be a colossal undertaking. F0r example, I’ve incorporated reading into my bedtime routine with my phone on Do Not Disturb. Not only does it help me cut down on screen time (and thus the blue light that keeps me awake), it gives me a little extra time to read as I wind down. You don’t have to clear your calendar to make way for an Important Reading Session. The key is to stick to the routine, even if it’s just five minutes at a time. And speaking of reading a little at a time…
Read In Short Bursts Whenever and Wherever
Read during breakfast and shield your book from your yoghurt. Bring an ereader along if you’re meeting with that one friend (or five) who’s always late. Read on the subway on your smartphone. Read on the bus if you’re lucky enough not to get carsick. I also fully endorse reading on the toilet. No, you won’t be able to read chapter after chapter during these short intervals. But even if Cristina magically arrives on time, you’ll still have read an extra page or two, and those pages add up.
And yes, that includes breaks from reading. Those memes about reading late into the night, hour after hour are super relatable, and I’m guilty of it myself. But the fact of the matter is, we have limited hours in a day, and we also have limited energy. Pushing yourself to read isn’t always the best way to go about reading more. If you need reminders to give your eyes a break and stretch a bit, try out the Pomodoro method. I’ve been using the Focus Keeper app, and there are plenty of similar apps to help you keep track. Giving your body the rest it needs will ultimately help you read more in the long run, minus the burnout!
If you want more tips on how to read more in general, you can check out Corin’s awesome guide!