How do you find time to read books? πŸ“š

I'm having difficulty finding a good time to read books! I used to read on my commute, but I don't have that long of a commute anymore (closer office, or just work from home). I'm not good at audiobooks because I find it harder to listen to long passages of text. Reading unfortunately always is back burnered behind work, friends & family, entertainment, and rest. I guess my question is how or what are some methods you use to prioritize personal growth when there are so many other things to juggle πŸ˜”?
I've made reading a big part in my weekly routine.. eg. Weekday evenings before bed, and always Sunday evening as I like to close out my week in an offline screen-free way before I start my week again. Because of how close to my bed time my reading time is, I've also found an improved quality of sleep when I read, which gives me an extra reason of motivation to spend time on books, than say on my phone. :)
I've started listening to Audio books during my commute and while running errands or while cooking dinner or exercising. This amounts to a like 4 hours a day of miscellaneous time. You can basically "read" 2 or 3 books a week like this. I also keep a paper book with me at all times in my bag, so anytime I'm waiting in line or waiting for a friend (time you would normally be websurfing or on social media) I'm reading a few pages. This is another way to squeeze in reading time!
What are your thoughts on Audiobooks?
Personally, I can't focus! I get distracted by something else so if I am listening to an audiobook it's difficult for me to get back into the story because I'll be lost.
I am not a big fan, because I enjoy reading. But I love podcasts about topics I'm interested in
Same! Podcasts are easier for me to jump in and out and still know what’s going on.
Pheww I thought I was the only one re: audiobooks I think they suck to be honest :/
Same. I like them for going on walks and it depends on the book content and how much I enjoy the readers voice!
They are good but nothing's better than the smell of paper books ;)
I’m a night owl and struggle to wake up in the morning. I usually take about an hour to get out of bed, so I actually incorporated reading during this time! Found that reading instead of snoozing has been super helpful to perk me up and mentally ease into the day.
What type of readings do you find helpful?
Usually fiction! I love getting sucked into a good story, so it's a lot more engaging to read in the morning and easier to get excited about for me. Currently reading Less by Andrew Sean Greer πŸ™‚
NICE @allisontn let us know how you've found Less! :-)
I love reading but had the same problem as you've mentioned. Over the last month I've tried to switch out my usual 'Netflix late at night' with reading for a good half an hour (most of the time ends up being 1 hour though). I've found it's improved my sleep so much more and I'm often waking up much earlier and feeling more refreshed.I did hear somewhere that if you revise / read educational books before you sleep your memory can retain information better but I could be completely misled haha 😁
Audiobooks! I listen to anything from 30 mins to an hour daily. I can fit it in on my fitness walks or last thing at night before I sleep.
Need your tip here! I zone out VERY quickly with audio!
crank up the speed - sounds backward but if i listen to something at normal speed I zone out immediately - it's boring. Once it picks up my brain gets into it.
VERY good advice haha !
As Teresa mentioned above, weeknights before bed - a book is always on my nightstand, and now during summer, time out on the deck reading after dinner is waaaaay better than anything on TV. I cherish my reading time and make it a priority - it's hard to put the phone down sometimes but it's always worth it!
I sometimes read while I eat lunch. WFH makes this easier :)
So how do you stop yourself from reading? Do you set an alarm? Or when you finish your plate?
I read until the end of the chapter. You could try setting an alarm and see if that helps you!
Love it! :-)
I stop when I’ve finished eating! Also a good strategy for eating slowly πŸ˜€
I set a goal at the beginning of the year to read for five minutes everyday. Sometimes I only read for five minutes but it's better than 0! I usually read in the evenings before bed but I also occasionally wake up a little early to read with my morning coffee. Audiobooks are convenient because you can multitask. If you're struggling with audiobooks, switch up the type of audiobooks you've tried. I can't do fiction on audio but I love narrative nonfiction or investigative nonfiction. I just finished Empire of Pain on audio and really recommend it! I listen to an audiobook every time I walk the dog. Some people who struggle with nonfiction on audio love fiction or classics. Short stories and essays are a good intro to audio too.
My big secret to reading is using my phone. I have the Nook app (you can also use the Kindle or Kobo apps) and my library's app, Libby. I download the books and read them in the little nooks and crannies of my life (a moment here and there). However, the bulk of my reading gets done when I wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep. For that reading, I pick cozy mysteries or fantasies (fiction or humor memoirs only to ensure calm and quiet!). Reading on my phone lets me read while not turning on the light and bothering my wife. I also tend to wake up early (even with the hour or so break in the middle of the night - argh!), so I spend around an hour each weekend morning reading in bed while my wife and pets sleep around me. It's an important part of my mental health/self-care regimen.
I don’t. 😭 Which is ironic because I publish them. Maybe I can hid in the bathroom long enough to read a blog post. Haven’t been able to read a book since I was pregnant 5 years ago.
Good question. I read while I'm eating lunch and breakfast, and sometimes when I need a 10 minute break from work. Sometimes I read for "personal growth" but usually I just read genres I really like that are entertaining, like scifi. This way, it's not something I have to do, but something I look forward to cause it's entertainment for me. Almost all reading is personal growth and mental exercise, so I think it would be easier to just read what you love instead of making it something you "should" do.
I too struggled with wanting to read but other things take priority. To remedy this I did some habit hacking by utilizing the trigger routine reward framework. I set a goal (the routine) of reading 30m per week 3x a week right after I get into bed for sleep (the trigger). I track my progress in an app called Habit bull and reward myself once I hit a target (eg 20 reading sessions or hit 90% of goal over 2 months) and voila I’ve got my habit formed I learned about habit hacking from James clear’s Atomic Habits and it’s been an absolute game changer for me. Hope this helps and good luck!
Usually in the shower after cleaning. Sure, the books get a little wet, but it's reading.
Audiobooks! Whenever I have a task that I can "zone out" while doing (like cleaning, chores, driving, exercising, etc) I listen to an audiobook. The task gets done with joy and in a state of mental flow, and I'm fully engaged in learning and reflection through the books I listen to throughout the day.A lot of folks use a monthly subscription to Audible, which is great, but if you're a voracious reader and want more bang for your buck, I recommend!
I've found that using Libby, the public library linked app, really helps me up my reading because I need to finish the audiobook or e-book in a set period of time!
Do any of your friends and family like to read? If so, maybe have a reading accountability buddy. Or do a "mini book club" and read a book together/at the same time. Read what you enjoy. If you've struggled with reading because you're reading "what you think you should be reading" or whatever seems most popular, you may have trouble reading because there's all this peer pressure hanging on it. If you read something you can escape into or you unabashedly love, it's a great way to 1) explore things you like, and 2) create a more positive association with reading! Lots of folks have said some of these things already, but for me it's: -- every night before bed (~10-30 minutes) -- weekdays during lunch (I only do this sometimes...usually ~10-20 minutes)-- Saturday and Sunday, I have a dedicated 30 minutes of reading time each day One trick is to always have a book with you. If you run errands or don't need to drive to work, you can read a book while you're en-route or waiting in line! I watch at most 30 minutes of TV a day and don't have pets or kids, so needless to say it's easy for me to fit in reading. I typically read 50-60 books a year, where ~50% of those are graphic novels. For me it's a big priority and something I love doing. I also have lots of bookworm friends, which helps give me social motivation to read, too.
During the summertime (especially now), I go for walks after dinner. I bring a lawn chair to sit by the beach and I pop open a book for a quick ~30 minute read. It's not long, it's relaxing and soothing!
Great question! I love reading however for a long time I excused myself for not having the time to read 😩. Since making it a priority throughout my week, I read 30min first thing in the AM and 30min in the evening. Ask yourself - What is the likely outcome of making reading a priority? And of not making this a priority? I hope this gives you some clarity, motivation to get started. Good luck!
Agree with all of the advice already mentioned - before bed is great. Sometimes I only read a page or two, but it keeps me moving the book along. I've tried to replace any 'idle phone time' (scrolling through instagram or reading the same news over and over) with reading by keeping a book on my coffee table.What has helped motivate me to read more is setting a reading goal of X books in a year and tracking the books I read on Goodreads. This way it stays top of mind and I can keep myself from falling too far behind. Also using Goodreads to find books I want to read and setting up holds on my library app (for ebooks) so I always have something to read next. [check to see if your friends are on Goodreads. It can be motivating to see what other people are reading and helps tie your reading into your social life]
I try to read a little bit during breakfast if I can. It definitely makes me feel great if I can start my day having read even a little bit. If not during breakfast, then I try to read a little at lunch. I have also had success with reading before bed as some others have suggested, but sometimes I'm just too exhausted at the end of the day and it doesn't happen. So I find breakfast and/or lunch works a bit better for me.
I joined a local book club which puts in some accountability when we meet in-person to discuss. I have read 2 books since joining which would not have happened otherwise.
Really enjoyed reading all these comments! During the pandemic, I tried a combination of most of the things already mentioned until I found what worked for me. I would add that I always have two books open - one that's headier (like self-growth, leadership, work-related, psychology) and a fiction/fun book - so I always have something ready to go depending on my mood. Usually, I'll read the headier books in the morning and the weekends and the fun books at night to relax my mind. When I'm on the go I stick to whatever book is on my Kindle app or Kindle device. I do enjoy reading physical books so I sometimes buy the book if I like it and wasn't able to finish it on time using Libby.
This sounds like me asking my runner friends how they find time to run/exercise. I think it kinda comes down to how badly you want it, 'it' in this case being reading. I LOVE to read. I buy a new book every week (library, pre-pandemic.) I have always been one to become obsessed with topics and want to dive deeper, so I research the best sellers and dig in. Reading doesn't take a back burner to other things because I really want to do it. I realize we are all different. Just as I am not a runner/find it hard to exercise, other people aren't readers in the same way as me. It's interesting to me that for some people reading is a task. For me it is entertainment. I also like it as a way of getting away from screens, which I use the whole day for work.
Echoing some of the responses below, replacing some of my Netflix time with a book has done wonders to my routine. I've started to carry a book with me whenever I leave the house in case I get caught up waiting somewhere unexpectedly (I don't drive at the moment so commuting time helps). Also, I joined a virtual book club a year ago and that has definitely helped - maybe see if a few friends would be interested in reading together?
What is this virtual book club? Would love to hear more about it!
Ok, this is totally TMI, but a few years ago I started doing it and it changed my life. I read in the bathroom. I figured out that was the one part of the day I had nothing else to do. I have also potty trained my kids with books and they now devour books during their bathroom time.
All of the answers are great! I do a bit of all of this and read on average a book every other week. Audiobooks are great while commuting, exercising like walking or running on a treadmill, or doing repetitive tasks like folding clothes, mopping, etc. Paper books in a book holder are great in the bathroom by the sink while I brush my teeth and put on face creams and the like which are lots of repetitive tasks. A couple of pages a day brushing my teeth gets me through all kinds of things I wouldn't read before bedtime easily. Kindle, plus kindle app on my phone plus Libby for waiting in every line alone, at the grocery, at the doctor, at the pharmacy, at the DMV, business flights, etc. Plus, reading a paper book before bedtime for 10-20 minutes helps me fall asleep faster.
I'm a planner so I time block my daily schedule and there's a dedicated "meeting time" for reading every day. Also helps to remind me that I show up to work meetings and I should treat "personal meetings" as such (showing up for myself/my growth/development)! This week though, Flow Club (virtual co-working sessions) has really helped me power through the books I need to read for my business. Setting an intention and goal for 50 minutes really gets you into the zone for reading and you might find yourself keep reading afterward. @tamioladipo was really kind and shared an invite with me to bypass the waitlist. I also have a couple if you ever want to try it out😊
I don't know how old your kids are, but as soon as mine got a little independence, I carved out 30 minutes on the weekend to start (Sunday morning), I said no to all of my urges to clean or do something, and I poured a coffee and read. This slowly got into a routine. So... at least part of it for me was just *doing* it. And then repeating (can't do it just once) and increasing (sometimes now I have an hour!). I also know when I'm *not* good, like at night after a long day.
LMAO @georgette so many fantastic ideas here!!
Ah there are! I was debating doing more e-books too and I'm kind of loving the breakfast with a book situation. Must try!
Oh nice! Cereals with a side of self-help? :)
Update: I tried the reading before bed but...I just fall asleep πŸ˜‚πŸ˜΄ Or I'm too tired and just give up. Maybe I just need to not be in bed.
I was literally just talking about this yesterday! There are way too many books on the shelf that have bookmarks in them that I never finished.🀣
I'm reading my 534th book. I'm an avid reader and I just take my kindle everywhere. Frankly, whenever I find few minutes free - I just take out my kindle.Over the weekends, I dedicate 3 hours of (no interruption) reading without fail for past 3 years.
Very small moments during the day:1) 10 minutes while drinking my first cup of coffee.2) 10 minutes after lunch3) 10 minutes at the end of the day before sleepingThere you have 30 minutes of reading daily.
I don't have kids, so I often read over breakfast/coffee, or at lunch, instead of reading the news. I sometimes do audio books while walking, but honestly I find my mind wanders and I miss things, and unlike a physical book it's hard to figure out where you were up to.I read fiction at night, in bed, but this only works if you fall sleep easily - otherwise it's a sleep hygiene no-no, I'm told.In pre-pandemic times, I also take a book everywhere. That way I can read while waiting for appointments, on the train etc
It feels more like making time rather than finding it, for me. AND not feeling like it has to be a perfect process. Notice if you are unconsciously doing that too. If I'm listing to an audiobook, sometimes I'll get distracted and let that be ok. I trust that whatever I pick up is enough and move on. Or if I read 5 mins, I choose to believe that even 5 mins is great.