One of the only good things about middle school was that I always had time to read. In high school, this time decreased significantly and was diminished even further upon entering college. Now I spend my summers desperate to consume every book that has been patiently waiting on my shelves or drifting in the back of my mind. But what about the rest of the year? How are we supposed to find any time to read for pleasure when it always seems that we have something more important to do? Those who go to school, work, play sports, raise kids, belong to clubs, hang out with friends, cannot possibly have any time to sit down and read a book. Right? Wrong. I have found that if you actually want to read, and as long as you are willing to make time to read, you can always find an opportunity. There are a few methods I follow in order to guarantee some one on one time with a book.
One of the first things to help you get started is to make a list of books you are interested in reading. One of the biggest deterrents and frustrations for reading is actually deciding on what book to read. If you have an ongoing list, at least you have somewhere to start. Not sure where to start? My list was inspired by another I found (of which there are numerous versions) naming 100 books everyone should read before they die. You are bound to recognize at least some of these titles and then start to recall, “Oh yeah, I wanted to read this book, but I forgot all about it.” Add it to your list. Exploring other lists on reading platforms or book websites is a great way to build your own. Of course, you can always ask someone to recommend something, but then you might end up reading pure garbage. The risk is up to you.
You will also want to keep your list accessible. Mine is on an app on my phone and comes in handy during impromptu visits to the library or bookstore. If you prefer not to create a digital list, have a picture of the paper one or just carry that paper list with you. Having a “To Read” list is a great motivator for reading. After all, you don’t want those books to be a part of that list forever do you? Won’t it be so satisfying to check those titles off after you read them?
A way to create time to read is to simply build reading sessions into your schedule. Some may argue that having to schedule reading into your day takes the fun out of reading. Honestly, it just creates something for me to look forward to. I even create a slot in my planner for it– “Try to read 25 pages today!”– and adorn it with doodle smileys. Don’t think of this as something you have to do, because then you won’t want to do it. Instead, try viewing it as a reward, a break from work or homework. It’s a gentle reminder that it is okay for you to read your book and that you deserve to spend time reading.
I know this is easier said than done, and it will take practice. But soon you’ll become so good at juggling your everyday tasks with reading that you won’t even notice it anymore. Whenever I can finally dive into a good book, I find myself wondering why I never thought I had time to read in the first place. You will fall into a habit of choosing to read the next chapter instead of re-watching that episode you’ve already seen at least five times. It will become second nature to pull out your book while waiting for an oil change or an appointment. If you have the time to stare at your smart phone for hours upon hours every day, you definitely have time to read.