“We read to know we are not alone.”
In the past few months I have stepped up my reading game. Although I’ve always loved to read, I’ve found that it takes some discipline until I get into the habit, and then it gets easier and more enjoyable. Several people have asked how I make time to read, so I’m sharing the strategies that have helped me to read more books in 2016.
- Wake up and read. Almost every morning at least one child, a dog, and/or an alarm clock wakes me up sometime between 4:30 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. I would love to get up before everyone else and sit at the dining room table for 15 minutes with a cup of tea and a book, but I just can’t drag myself out of bed that early. When someone or something starts to make noise at the crack of dawn, I try to pick up my book and read for a couple of minutes before I start meeting demands. It makes me feel like I have a little control over how the day starts and puts me in a reading mindset for the day.
- Read and eat. Books and food go together well. Sometimes I read a few pages of my own book while we eat breakfast or lunch, and other times I encourage my kids to stay at the table and finish the meal by reading a book out loud. Miss Manners may not approve, but I’m OK with that.
- Read and ride. I’m one of those people who can read in the car without getting dizzy. If we’re heading out on a family drive and I’m not at the wheel, I’ll often bring a book or use my Kindle app. It’s a great opportunity to get in a solid chunk of reading time. Car rides are also a good chance to listen to audiobooks on CD or another device.
- Books on the treadmill. We have a treadmill in our barn, and occasionally I walk at a moderate pace on it. Sometimes I listen to podcasts, and sometimes I read my book. I should probably switch to audiobooks on the treadmill for safety’s sake.
- Keep track of progress. I keep track of my reading life on Goodreads, including the books I’m currently reading, want to read, and have already read, as well as progress on individual books. It provides some accountability for meeting my reading goals.
- More Reading, Less Facebook. Lately I’ve been trying a new challenge: “No checking Facebook or Instagram until you read X more pages.” I like the double benefit of more reading time and less mindless scrolling of social media. But I don’t always obey my own rule. It’s hard to stay away from “The Facebook,” as my husband Dave calls it.
- Midday reading break. If I can get my little one to nap and my older child to be occupied for a bit in the afternoon, I’ll sit down and read for 20 minutes. When I was working, I would sometimes take my lunch break with a book. It’s refreshing to escape for a few minutes.
- Drop everything and read. Every once in a while in the evening I’ll ignore everything I should be doing (dishes, picking up, exercise, making lunch, etc.) and just read a good book for as long as I feel like it. I’m a rebel.
- Fiction by day, Non-fiction by night. While I love the idea of reading before bedtime, fiction puts me right to sleep at that time of day. I’m so tired that I can’t follow storylines, and I start dozing within five minutes. For some reason, I can keep my eyes open a little longer for non-fiction on my Kindle app. It’s good to know what works.
These strategies have all helped me to make time for more reading lately. While I’d love the chance to relax on the beach with a book for hours at a time, that’s not possible right now, so I have to squeeze books in when I can. It’s not easy, but it’s worth the effort.
Great reading tips from other book bloggers: