Everyone wants to read more. Well, maybe not everyone, but when I discuss my latest literary passions with my family, friends, and colleagues, someone invariably bemoans their lack of time to read. It sure can feel like there’s no time to sit down and enjoy a novel. But have no fear, friends who long to be bookish! I have plenty of tricks for squeezing in extra text time. I have a full time job, a family, and at least 10,897 other hobbies.
If you long to read more, follow these six helpful tips:
1) Specify a reading goal
This is how I’ve found my greatest success in reading more. I used to read in fits and starts—three books in quick succession, then nothing for months. I always wanted to read more, but thought there wasn’t time. Knowing that people will find time for things that are a priority, I had to commit. My goal was 50 books in a year, and I did it without much difficulty.
Your goal doesn’t need to be astronomical. It can be the number of total books you want to read per year or month, a total number of pages, or anything that works for you. If you are a fan of social media, broadcast your goal and post updates. Not only will this add to accountability, it may also help you locate bookish buddies who will recommend new material to add to your TBR list. The magical part is that eventually, in pursuit of your goal, reading will become a habit. And once it becomes a habit, you will read even more.
2) Read in small doses
Although it may be hard to set aside a half hour to read each day, I bet you can find ten minutes to read. I bet you can find ten minutes a few times during a day. How often are you aimlessly scrolling Facebook or Twittter? I know I was doing that far more than I even realized. Although I love to get lost in a book and binge read it in a single sitting, I rarely have time for that sort of thing. But I am amazed with how much reading I can accomplish in five- and ten-minute intervals. This leads directly to my next tip:
3) Always carry a book with you
I constantly have a book in my purse in case of unexpected down time. (And now it’s in a cute little sleeve Amy made for me.) How often are you in a lengthy Starbucks line, absently scrolling through your phone? How many times have you waited for 15 minutes in a doctor’s office? For a friend who is late to dinner? For your kid’s baseball practice to end? Rather than mindless phone time, these moments can become opportunities for reading—but only if you have a book with you. (If you choose to read on a device, you can even carry multiple books at once.)
4) Multitask using audiobooks
I count audiobooks in my tally of books I’ve read because, although I’m not using my peepers, I’m consuming that media. (Not everyone agrees, but that’s the subject for another post.) I’ve found audiobooks to be the ultimate tool for multitasking. Seven-hour car trip? Audiobook! Daily commute? Audiobook! Cleaning the house? Sewing? Running? Yup, audiobook. The best part of audiobooks is that they allow you to read while sacrificing absolutely no time from your schedule.
I was admittedly late to the audiobook game, until Jae [link bio] and Amy [link bio] schooled me on the wonder that is Overdrive. If you haven’t heard about it, Overdrive [link www.overdrive.com] is an app that allows you to check out audiobooks from your local library using your existing library card. It is so easy – and free! – that I’m embarrassed it took me so long to take advantage of it.
5) Use the library
This may not work for everyone, but nothing puts a fire under my bookish booty like a looming return deadline. My local library checks out books for three weeks. If you get just one book at a time, and take the full period to read it, you would read 17 books in a year. That’s a good amount of free entertainment!
6) Don’t be afraid to DNF
In the bookish community, DNF stands for Did Not Finish. This may be controversial, but when you are not connecting with a book you should just stop. I have never been afraid to put a book down when I am not enjoying it, although I used to be embarrassed to DNF. I’d go into reading-avoidance mode, sitting on a book for weeks, and then feel sheepish admitting I’d stopped reading it. But now I declare my DNFs with pride, because life is too short to read books you don’t enjoy. It doesn’t happen often, but if I am not invested within 20-25 pages, I put the book down. If a trusted friend has recommended it, or I have some outside reason to want to read it, I give it closer to 50 pages before abandoning ship text. Don’t be afraid to move on to a book that moves you.
Hopefully these tips will help you meet your reading goals, whatever they may be. If you are working on a goal, hit us up on social media and let us know all about it. We will cheer you on! [link FB/twitter] And, if you have a tip for helping increase text time, we’d love to hear about it.