I recently got the question of how I find time to read, so I decided to turn my advice into a post! For context, I read about 25 books per year, I read only hard copy books (no audio books or kindle), and am a mom to two small kids. There are two key elements for me finding the time to read: habit creation and logistics.
In the past few years, reading has become a habit for me. I’m not some type of superhuman—this did (and does) take work to maintain. Here’s how I made reading a habit:
- Identifying why I wanted to read more. For me, it was a combination of fun, wanting to learn more, and wanted to crowd out other bad habits (i.e. scrolling). It doesn’t matter the reason, but it is really important to identify your why otherwise it will be really hard to stick with a new habit.
- Start small. When you are trying to create a habit, there is nothing worse than unrealistic expectations that leave you feeling instantly defeated. This looked like a reading goal of 12 books for the year (or a book a month) the first time I starting getting intentional about reading more. Maybe it’s a book a month, a book a quarter, or even reading for 10 minutes 3 times a week.
- I created a running list of books I wanted to read. I find it so helpful to have a number of book titles at my fingertips for when I am ready for my next book to keep the momentum going. I get ideas from bestseller lists, blogs, podcasts, or sometimes just browsing the library.
- Leaving a book when I hated it. Just don’t force yourself to finish a book you hate for the sake of finishing. Cut your loses and move on.
- Always having my next book on-deck. I mostly use the library, but also have my own stack of books at home. When I’m getting close to finishing a book, I make sure to pull a book that looks interesting from my stack, or order a book from the library (this is so easy online).
- Having the tools I needed. For me, this is mostly a book lamp and a bookmark, but for you it may include an e-reader or headphones. Whatever it is, make sure you have it.
Now to tackle the logistics of when I actually read. My number one strategy here is to always have my book close by or with me. This can be really clunky since I’m not using an e-reader or audiobooks, but it works for me. When I read definitely changes based on the season of life, but here is a list of times I am actually reading:
- Before bed. This can be tough because many times I’m falling asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow, but I always try to open my book and find that if I can put my phone down as soon as I’m in bed, I can usually squeak out at least 10 minutes.
- As soon as I wake up. This one isn’t happening right now because I’m not waking up until my kids are waking me up, but there have been times where I will wake up and grab my book for a quick 10-15 minutes.
- While my kid is bathing, playing independently, at an activity, or watching a show. Again, this won’t always work depending on how involved I need, or want, to be, but I have found these times to be some of the best for reading.
- During baby nap times. This is very specific to my current life stage, but maybe you have a a similar forced down time!
- Waiting for appointments. If you are headed to the doctor, dentist, oil change, whatever—bring your book!
- On vacation. This is probably a pretty obvious one, but I always make sure to bring a couple book choices.
- Any other time I have a few minutes. This can look really different from person to person, but if you are having a hard time figuring out when to read, try to find moments during the day where you have a few minutes of down time. Maybe at lunch time, between meetings, listening to an audiobook on your commute? There is probably some time in there you can take back for reading!
I hope this was helpful and I’d love to hear your tips! Comment below with your favorite ways to fit in reading.