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If there’s one thing I love to do in my downtime, it’s reading. Reading has impacted my life in more ways than I can count. So much so, it’s become a part of who I am. I’m an eclectic reader and because of that, reading challenges me, provides a better understanding of various subjects, transforms me, allows me to escape to other places, and so much more. But sometimes, its tough to get time to do.
I’m a wife, full-time worker, involved in ministry, building a new blog, and planning a project that I hope to release this summer. Oh did I mention, we hope to add a baby to the mix? In short, I’m a busy woman. Because I have so much going on, it’s imperative that I manage my time well if I want to accomplish big things this year. Proper use of my time is also necessary if I want to continue to cultivate my love of reading.
Because reading is so important to me, I always wonder how and why people can’t find time to read. So many excuses such as I don’t have time. I know it can be challenging at times, but I think everyone should find time in their schedules to read. With just a few tweaks, you’ll be well on your way to reading more books than you thought you had time for.
Before I give you tips on how to steal more time to read, here three ways reading will help you:
- Great books can change your outlook on life. It can be easy to remain attached to one or two genres of literature but reading genres or subjects outside your comfort zone can give you a different perspective on things. Reading books on finances will help you develop better money habits. Self-help books can help you become a better wife, mother, friend, etc. Certain fiction books can even change your perspective on different things. Reading books about different cultures will help you understand other socio-economic climates and more.
- Good books can challenge you. I love a good fiction novel. While fiction novels allow me to escape, I love the challenge nonfiction books brings. I love to debate the issues, so picking up a book on current events or even history books allows me to sharpen my knowledge of the Nonfiction books get me giddy because I know my thoughts and feelings will be challenged. Challenging books will force you to examine your thoughts. I’m firm in my faith and beliefs but reading allows me to discuss the issues more maturely and with more thought.
- Great books allows you to escape. Now that we’ve discussed nonfiction, let’s discuss fiction. There is nothing like losing yourself in a good fiction novel. I love starting a book that makes me want to burn the midnight oil. A good fiction author should relax you, excite you, make you laugh, anger you, and feel sad at the time. I’ve felt every one of these emotions while reading. One of my favorite things about fiction novels is their ability to help you become that character. When I read The Help, I found myself saying some of the same things Minny Jackson said. I laughed and yelled while reading the entire book. It was like I was there. I know fiction books may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s good to shake it up every so often.
Now the question really is how do busy people (including me) find the time to read? If you want to read more, you have to make a plan. Here are the tips that I use to fit reading into my everyday life.
- Set Reading Goals. So many people say they want to read more but never create a plan to make it happen. You have to be specific with your reading goals or it will never happen.
- How many books can you really read per week or month? Remember not to compare yourself to anyone else. I follow tons of bloggers who read over 100 books per year but that’s not me. Set a goal you know you can reach. If it’s one book a month, fine just keep reading.
- Next, decide what kind of books you want to read. Is it books on marriage, mystery, Christian living, biographies, etc. Create a reading list of books to want to read.
- Read books that pique your interest. I know I said to challenge yourself but if you start a book and it bores you, you probably won’t finish it. So before you branch out, read books that will keep you going back for more. While I like to learn something when I read, it would be pointless to try and immerse yourself in something you know you won’t complete. You always want to read something that excites you.
- Find a book club. I was a member of a great book club when I lived in Orlando. I loved everything about it. We read, laughed, ate, hung out together, and held each other accountable. Joining a book club will force you to dive in a for real. A real bookclub will know if you’ve read the book or not. I attempted to start a book club when I moved to Tampa but my friends here only wanted to hang out (which I love, but I wanted to discuss the book).
- Read more than one book at a time if you can. Read at least two books at one time. For instance, I’ll read something like Brokenness: The Heart God Revives during my morning prayer and devotional time and Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America during my downtime.
- Keep a book with you at all times. I like the feel of a real book so I keep a book in my purse and car. I know many of you read on your tablets and phones, which is great especially since the release of the Kindle and Nook Apps. It’s easy to take your book with you without weighing you down. Whip out your phone during your downtime and you’ll finish a book in no time.
- Make it a part of your morning ritual. Instead of grabbing for your phone, tablet, or laptop, grab your book After I’ve prayed and read my bible, I reach for my book. I try to read at least 10 pages before I finish my devotional time. This helps me begin my day with more mindfulness.
- Decrease your television time. So many hours are wasted watching T.V. Reading is the perfect way to help you break that bad habit. If you can’t quit cold turkey, then start by decreasing it by 30 minutes per day. So instead of watching 2 hours of T.V. use 30 minutes of that time to read. Reading just 30 minutes a day will help you with your addiction. Decrease that time each week and replace it with reading and you’ll be on your way to reading a book a week depending on its length.
- Check out audiobooks. Many of my friends love audiobooks but not me. I don’t feel like I can’t curl up on the couch listening to a book. I heard audiobooks can be quite addictive, especially if you have a good reader. You can listen to books on your way to work, cleaning, working out, driving, etc. I said I would listen to at least one fiction book this year but we’ll see.
- Start Small. If you haven’t read in a while or have never finished a book, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Reading a 500 page book may not be smart. Set aside 10 minutes a day. You’ll be surprised at how many pages you can read in just 10 minutes. Once you are consistent, add more time when you are ready.
- Track your progress. I love tracking what I’ve read. Keep the list of the books you want to read. I track my books in my planner and on Good Reads. Love Good Reads because it recommends books based on my reading history and tracks the reading goal I’ve set for myself this year. I initially set a goal to read 100 books but quickly realized that was not realistic because of everything I’ve got going on.
- Limit social media. How many hours do you spend on social media? I deleted Facebook and Instagram from my phone to help me avoid mindless surfing. I haven’t cut it out completely but I’m more mindful now that they’re off my phone. It’ helped me be more focused on my marriage, faith, blog, and reading.
It really is simple. Either you want to read or you don’t. People invest in what’s important to them and if you want to more time to read, you have to steal it. Life will always be in the way and we should tell life what to do, not the other way around. What are some of the ways you steal time to read?
How to Steal More Time to Read was seen first on Hobbies and Cents.