It’s no secret by now that I love to read. It’s also no secret that I read a lot. I actually prefer reading over television and movies nine times out of ten. In fact, since January 1, 2017 I have read 23 books. That means I’m averaging about a book per week.
But I don’t say that to toot my own horn or make you think I’m some amazingly smart person. I say it because it’s proof to myself that I do actually have a lot of time to read despite my busy schedule. And so do you.
Although I have always loved to read, a couple of years ago I wasn’t reading as much as I am now. I thought I didn’t have the time. I was busy working full time, serving my church, blogging, keeping a home for the first time, adjusting to my new life as a wife and trying to start a side business. It was a lot.
And it still is a lot. Fast forward two years, and here I am today. I’m still working full time, I’m still serving my church, I’m still blogging, I’m still keeping a home, I’m still learning how to be a wife and I’m still working on my side business. But I’m also reading…. A lot.
If you think your schedule is too busy for you to read, I’d encourage you to think again. Whether you work all the time, or you have kids, or you just feel like you are always running from one thing to the next… you probably have time to read, you just have to find it. Or, in some cases, you may have to make it.
Below are just a few of the ways I’ve found and/or made more time to read, and you just might find they’ll work for you, too. Give them a try; you won’t be sorry!
I no longer aimlessly scroll through social media.
I have been guilty of this for years. YEARS, people. You probably know what I’m referring to… You just got home from work so you sit down and pull open Facebook. You’re back at your desk after a bathroom break and you have to see what’s new on Twitter. You just sat down to lunch and you want to see what’s up on Instagram. You’re finally in bed for the night, but you have to catch the latest trends on Pinterest before you close your eyes…
I did that every day of my life for as long as I can remember. I constantly felt the need to check social media. But, to be honest, it was tempting me to compare myself to others, it was stealing my joy and it was robbing me of my free time. It became a disturbing habit, and I finally decided to just STOP.
Yes, I still use social media, but my goal is to be much more disciplined with it. I’m all about connecting with my friends and readers, but I do so at designated times of the day as much as I can help it. And now, anytime I am tempted to aimlessly scroll through my newsfeed, I tuck my phone away and pull out a book. I promise that if you try this, you’ll be amazed at how much you can read!
I don’t “unwind” with TV or movies
Unwinding in front of the television is a habit I probably picked up when I was in middle school. It was just something I started doing because it was a way for me to turn my mind off at the end of the night and get ready for bed.
But honestly, I now find that when I watch TV before bed, I don’t feel relaxed. I end up feeling more wired than I did before because of all the noise. Sure, I do enjoy watching my favorite period dramas in the evenings after work, but I like to shut the TV off by 9:00 PM so I can snuggle into bed with a book for an hour before going to sleep.
Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m not exactly snuggling up with a Tolstoy or Tolkien all the time. I don’t *usually* unwind from the day with serious or difficult books. (Yes, there was that one time when I couldn’t put Anna Karenina down, but that was an exception!) Normally when I read at bedtime, I like to read historical, Christian fiction – super sweet novels that relax my mind before I go to sleep.
I listen to Audiobooks
Some people will tell you that audiobooks are not real books, but I beg to differ.
Try driving nearly an hour to and from work every day and tell me you aren’t dying to give yourself an occupation! I spent so many years of my life feeling like I was rotting in the car on my way to work because I was sitting in traffic with nowhere to go and nothing to do.
But then a lightbulb went off, and I realized I could be listening to audiobooks. I have found that when I’m driving to work and I’m listening to a book, the minutes that pass don’t feel so wasted. In fact, I get so wrapped up in the story I’m listening to that I forget I’m even sitting in traffic…and before I know it, I’ve arrived at work (and don’t want to turn my book off)!
I always keep a book with me
This is so, so important. If you want to read more, you have to keep at least one book with you at all times. This is decidedly easier if you have an iPad or Kindle filled with ebooks, but it can be done with hard copies, too. After all, Rory Gilmore did it, didn’t she?!
Even if keeping books with you makes your purse feel heavier than a ton of bricks, you’ll be glad you have them when you’re sitting in a long line at the Starbucks drive through, when you’re waiting at the doctor’s office, when you’re eating lunch at work or in a million other time-wasting scenarios.
I find what I like to read, and I read more of it
The truth is that if you want to read more, you have to make yourself want to read more. If you haven’t read a novel in five years, don’t reach for War and Peace and think it’s going to be a piece of cake. Instead, start with something lighter, something easier, something that will make you want to read instead of scrolling through social media or turning on the television.
In simple terms, find what makes you want to read, and read more of it. Then, when you’re ready – when you’re used to reading more frequently – branch out and try something new. I’m doing this right now with JRR Tolkien’s The Two Towers. I’m moving very slowly through it, but I’m glad to be branching out and reading a genre I don’t normally enjoy.
Do you have tips for reading more? If so, what are they? Feel free to leave me a comment below – I’d love to know!