If you’re here, it’s probably because reading is, at least, a hobby of yours. We all want more time to do the things we enjoy. Writing for this site and my own blog, I often get asked how I read so many books in a year. And the answer is simple: I make intentional time for reading. Sometimes that’s a block of time on the weekend, an hour during my lunch break, or maybe just 15 minutes in a waiting room. But one of the more underutilized times for reading happens to be in the hour or two after we wake up.
The morning is one of my favorite times to read. The world is a little quieter, the lighting is dim, the coffee is brewed. Not to mention, opening a book in the morning is a gentler way to start your day as opposed to scrolling through social media (which might bring up any range of emotions). But for most of us, it’s not something that comes naturally. Like many things, reading in the morning is all about turning it into a habit. Being an avid morning reader for a couple of years now, I have accumulated a few tips.
Avoid Reaching for Your Phone
It’s hard not to reach for your phone first thing in the morning. Especially when your phone is also your alarm. Turning off the alarm (or snoozing it) quickly turns into checking Instagram or Twitter “real quick.” But now, after hitting that stop button, put it in your bedside drawer or facedown on the side table. Giving the first 15 minutes of your day to your book instead of your phone is a great way to wake up and to sneak some extra reading into your day.
Keep a Book by Your Bed
The second you step out of bed, the number of potential distractions increases tenfold. So rather than wandering out into the living room to grab your current read or peruse your bookshelf, keep one on your nightstand or next to your bed (heck, even under your pillow, I don’t know!).
With the distraction of your phone out of the way—because we did put it away, remember?—all you need to do is turn the light on and reach onto your nightstand. To be even more prepared, I keep a fiction and nonfiction book next to my bed so I have something that sounds interesting depending on what mood I wake up in.
Make a Plan for Your Morning the Night Before
Since morning reading is all about preparedness, let’s make it foolproof by making a plan for your morning the night before. I’m not pretending to be perfect, there are plenty of mornings where I choose the snooze button over my book, but having a plan does help. Ask yourself: What will I make for breakfast? Am I going to shower in the morning? If so, should I wash my hair? Do I want to wear makeup? Which outfit should I wear? Will I be taking the bus, walking, or driving?
Answer the questions and then do some mental math on how long it’ll take to complete all those tasks. All these questions seem tedious, but they free your mind up for more important tasks—like reading! With a plan in place, you’ll know just how much time you can allot to your new morning habit.
Prepare Caffeine the Night Before
If functioning normally without coffee isn’t an option, prepare it the night before, especially if you have a traditional coffee maker that can be programmed the night before. For you, preparing might be setting out your mug and Keurig cup/tea bag or it might be grinding coffee beans and setting out a filter to put in your pour-over coffee maker.
Try to Maintain Your Sleeping Schedule on the Weekend
Letting myself sleep in until 11:00 AM on the weekend is a recipe for disaster during the workweek. Typically, I try not to go beyond 1–2 hours past my usual weekday wake up time. This ensures that waking up during the week isn’t too difficult. Our bodies follow a circadian rhythm and keeping a consistent wake-up time allows our body to anticipate when it’s time to get moving. This allows a lot more energy when waking up, both during the week and weekend.
Now go forth and read (in the morning, before you start your day!!) Need some extra motivation? Check out this post on bookish quotes that will get you out of bed.