Reading for pleasure is a concept that seems impossible for some folks, but I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t matter how busy you are. You can find time to read. Enjoying a book is not limited to when you have a day off work or going on vacation. Even with a chaotic schedule, you can find time to squeeze in a few pages. On the flip side, if you are already reading but you want to read more books, that’s possible too. Don’t believe me? Check out our tips on how you can find time to read for pleasure even when you’re extremely busy!
Leave all your misconceptions about reading at the door.
It might seem daunting to nonreaders or readers who haven’t read in years to start a reading habit. Before you can start reading, you need to leave all your misconceptions at the door. When it comes to reading, there are no rules. Reading isn’t a race, and it’s not a competitive sport; there are no rules. Give yourself permission to read what you want, in whatever format is most convenient or comfortable.
Surround yourself with books.
Always have on hand more books than you intend to read. When I check out books from the library, pick up my order from my local bookstore, or my online order gets delivered to my front door – it is always more books that I can read at that moment in time.
Having physical books around will encourage you to read more. I also strategically leave books in spaces where I spend a lot of time. There are books on my nightstand, coffee table, next to my favorite sitting chair, and even at my work desk. I also keep books in my car and my handbag, so I will always have a book for moments of unexpected free time.
If you are a digital or audiobook reader, always have your e-reader and audiobook app filled with books so you will always have options when you’re eager to read or find yourself with unexpected free time.
Capitalize on breaks and moments of free time during your day.
A popular reading misconception believes you need large chunks of time to read, which is false. There is so much dead time that can be found throughout the day, and occasionally there are unplanned moments of free time that open up. Instead of scrolling through social media, pick up your book or grab your e-reader and read a few pages, or pop in your headphones and listen to an audiobook.
Here are some free moments during your day where you could be reading: waiting for a delayed meeting to start, during your commute, waiting in line, or at an appointment. The key is always to have reading material available.
Make a reading commitment and put it on your calendar if necessary.
When starting a new reading habit, commit to reading for 30 minutes every day. Find a part of your day when you think you can read and schedule it if necessary. It could be on your commute, right before bed, or in between work commitments or meetings.
Making this commitment will help you get into a routine, and over time it will become second nature!
Eliminate all distractions.
The distraction readers have reported the most is their mobile phones and social media. While putting your phone on silent, turning off all notifications, and putting the phone facedown works for some readers, it can still be a distraction. Opt to power down your phone entirely and place it in a drawer or a room far away. This way, it is out of sight and out of immediate reach. This way, your book gets your full attention!
Incorporate reading into other aspects of your life.
Consider listening to audiobooks when you are doing chores, exercising, or driving. We also discuss creative ways to incorporate reading into your other personal goals and how reading books can help you achieve them.
Surround yourself with readers.
Seek out people in your life who are avid readers and lean into them because they can be valuable resources for your reading journey. If you don’t know any readers, consider joining an online book community or book club.
The enthusiasm from readers is infectious, and the way they talk about reading and books can motivate you to read.
Participate in a reading challenge.
If you are goal-driven, consider participating in a reading challenge, and there are different ways you can go about doing this. You can set a goal for the number of books you would like to read in a given year. Another option would be to read books based on reading prompts. For our 2021 Reading Challenge, we have carefully selected twelve reading prompts, and you are free to choose a book of your liking to read for each prompt.
Participating in a challenge is a great way to motivate you and hold yourself accountable.
Follow your reading mood.
It’s easy to get distracted by buzzy new books that everyone is raving about or that cult classic everyone has read except you. If you dread picking up a book before you even start, that’s probably a sign the book is not suitable for you right now, if at all. If you’ve started reading, give yourself permission to put that book aside if it’s not working for you.
Don’t forget to have fun.
Sometimes reading feels hard. You lose your focus, the words on the page fail to captivate you, or when picking up any book, even the ones you love, it feels like picking up a hundred-pound rock. Don’t let your desire to read more take the fun out of your reading life.
If reading isn’t working for you right now, don’t pressure yourself — your books will be there waiting for you when you’re ready. I find that exercising or binge-watching my favorite movies works wonders. But if you want to be reading, I have six tips to help you focus and find comfort in reading again even when reading feels hard!
What are your tips for reading with a busy schedule?
Let me know in the comments what tips and tricks have worked for you.