Between your work, family, and social responsibilities, it can be hard to make time for much else. If you’re a bookworm, that means your favorite novels are collecting more dust than you’d like.
The good news is, making time for reading is possible even with a hectic schedule. Manage your time more effectively, and you’ll be surprised at just how much reading time you can squeeze into a day.
We all get the same 24 hours in a day. Make time for reading and your other obligations with these nine tips:
1. Get Up Earlier
Early mornings are hands-down the best times to read. Simply getting up a few minutes earlier than normal might be all you need to squeeze in more reading time.
Make sure no early birds disturb you by marking this time in your calendar. Set a notification, so you don’t lose track of time or forget to leave for work.
If you struggle to get up early, adjust your nightly routine. Go to bed earlier and prepare breakfast ahead of time to maximize the time you get to spend with your book.
2. Maximize Your Commute
If your job includes commuting to and from an office, this is the perfect opportunity to get some reading in. Rather than go through emails, crack your favorite book on the train or shuttle.
If you drive yourself to work, you can keep your eyes on the road by listening to audiobooks. You might need some time to get used to the experience if you typically read paper books, but there’s a silver lining. Because it takes less time to listen to a book than to read it, you can get through more books this way.
3. Use Your Breaks
During your scheduled breaks, why not break out your favorite book? Over lunch, between shifts, or while you’re sipping some coffee are perfect reading times.
If you want to read during your lunch break, think about what you bring to work. Prepare meals you can eat with one hand, letting you hold your book with the other. Reading during breaks can also help you maintain productivity through the rest of your shift.
4. Read With a Friend
Reading the same book as a friend or family member is fun and a great way to stay accountable to your daily page goal. You’ll want to discuss the book’s events together, meaning you won’t want to fall behind.
If nobody in your immediate circle is interested, join a local book club. Mark the discussion time in your online calendar. For bonus points, bring some snacks for the group.
5. Replace TV Time
Watching television can be a great way to unwind after a long way. But the truth is, Americans can get a little carried away with their TV usage.
If you’re already spending a lot of time watching shows and movies, it should be easy to substitute that time for reading. Choose books that are easy and engaging to read to prevent yourself from falling back into your old habits.
6. Cut Down on Social Media
Another popular time-stealer is social media. Just like TV, it’s easy to get sucked in and let the hours pass you by. Before turning to your device, open a book instead.
Memes and jokes won’t enrich your life as books do. When you log on, post your favorite insights to remind others just how wonderful reading can be.
7. Set Reading Goals
Nothing helps you prioritize, like setting goals. Just as you do in your professional life, set reading goals to motivate yourself to read. Whether you want to think in terms of chapters, pages, or minutes spent reading, what’s important is that you challenge yourself.
Post your goals somewhere you can see them. If you still struggle to meet them, block off time in your online calendar. Between the start and endpoints of that block, do nothing but read.
8. Always Leave Prepared
It’s hard to squeeze in reading time when you don’t have a book with you. Carry your book of choice with you so that whenever you find an opportunity, you can capitalize on it.
If carrying an entire hardback is a hassle, take a look at digital options. Having a digital copy of your book on your phone or tablet makes it possible to read anytime anywhere. You might even find that you prefer reading digitally, given its convenience.
9. Look for Every Opportunity
Now that you’ve got your reading material handy take every chance you can to get some reading time in. Whether you’re waiting for your kids in the school parking lot or standing in a long grocery line, a few extra minutes of reading time each day can make a major difference.
If you’re not keen on reading in short bursts, look for longer opportunities. Maybe you can fit a chapter in while you wait for dinner to finish cooking. On a road trip, you might manage to finish a few of them between driving shifts.
With a busy schedule, it’s never easy to make time for the little things. But as long as you’re deliberate, you’ll find the time. And remember, reading is like exercise: Even a little is better than nothing.