Some of the most successful people in the world read a lot. If you’ve ever wondered how successful CEOs, activists, and world leaders find time in their busy schedules to read often I’m right there with you.
As a mom of one, a wife, and a freelancer running 2 businesses, I always find myself strapped for time. I set goals to read more each year but it’s a challenge when my schedule gets demanding.
Studies show that reading can improve brain function on so many levels. Reading can also spark your creativity, help grow your understanding of certain concepts, and even improve brain connectivity to help you get more done. Unfortunately, statistics show that 42% of college graduates will never read a book again once they leave college.
Those numbers don’t have to be a reality for you if you know the benefits of reading regularly and still desire to carve out time to read despite having a busy schedule. If you’re wondering which specific steps you can take in order to make time to read, here are some ideas to start with.
Read Early in the Morning
Of course, you can always start reading first thing in the morning to make sure you get it done. Even if it’s only for a few minutes, you’ll develop a habit of reading regularly.
This may or may not be convenient depending on your morning routine. Some people already schedule quite a few productive tasks into their morning routine whether this involves exercising, eating a healthy breakfast, and going over the calendar for the day.
You may not have a lot of time to read in the morning depending on your schedule, aim to take 10 – 15 minutes to read. Odds are, you may carry on reading for a longer time period. Then, you can carry out tasks for the rest of the day without feeling guilty about not reading.
Chunk Your Reading Goals
Want to read one book in 30 days? Chunk out your reading goals by deciding how many pages you want to read in a single sitting. Think of it as giving yourself a deadline, because that’s what you’re actually doing.
This summer, I gave my son the task of reading a larger chapter book and his goal was to read a chapter per day. He easily finished the book in about 3 weeks doing this. Using this strategy can make you feel less overwhelmed something altogether and push you to raise the bar with each sit down.
Trade-In Some of Your TV Time
How much time do you spend watching TV each week? If you watch a movie and a few shows at night, that can add up to several hours of television time.
Try to swap some of that out for reading time instead. Even if you’re only watching around 4 hours of TV per week, cutting that in half will free up 2 hours to read instead.
Some people prefer reading before bed instead of in the morning. Instead of watching a TV show each night, sit down and read a book. You can also alternate between watching a show and reading each night so you can accomplish both things.
Become More Efficient With Other Tasks
Tracking the time you spend on certain tasks can tell you a lot about your schedule and what you prioritize. If you want to make time to read but don’t know how, start looking at your calendar and tracking your time.
Which tasks distract you during the day or eat up time? What do you procrastinate on and how can you become more efficient to avoid this.
Personally, I find my schedule to be jam-packed most days. After waking up, checking emails, trying to accomplish a few work tasks, attempting to exercise, spending time with loved ones, cooking dinner, and doing household chores, I find myself almost too busy to add another task to the list.
While all the things I listed above are clear priorities, like most people I slack off during the day and spend a lot of time on things that aren’t important. I used Apple’s Screen Time feature to track how much time I spend on my phone. I also track the time I spend on social media apps each day and try to limit that.
Even if you’re working a lot, exercising, and taking care of your family, the average person can still find a way to free up 30 minutes per day or at least every other day to read. Reading is also realizing and something you can look forward to each day.
Try Ebooks and Audiobooks
You don’t have to just read print books if you’re still having trouble squeezing some reading into your day. Over a year ago I got an Audible subscription and started listening to audiobooks. It’s not the same as sitting down and reading a book but it still has the same effect and I’m still learning and enjoying the content.
I listen to audiobooks when I’m exercising, doing laundry, or running errands in my car. I like how Audible tells you how long the book is. My favorite books to download are the ones that are between 4-6 hours because I feel like I can get through them in a week or so if I’m consistent.
Checking out ebooks is also another great way to make time to read. Some ebooks are shorter in length and you can read them on various devices.
Read What You Want to Read
My final tip for being able to make time to read is to ignore all the book recommendation lists if it’s making you feel overwhelmed. Make sure you read only titles that you’re truly interested in and enjoy learning about.
I’ve picked up several books before that I didn’t like so I simply stopped reading them. Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, read what you want to read and you’ll always look forward to getting into a good book. You’ll also be able to witness the full benefits of becoming an avid reader.
As you get older, it may become harder to make time to read. However, you can work this hobby into your schedule with proper planning and the desire to create a habit. Reading comes with so many benefits so it’s no secret that some of the most successful people take the time to read daily.