Would you like to find more time to read but you think you’re too busy to fit it into your schedule?
You’re not alone. The most common messages I get on social media are from people asking how I read so much. I wouldn’t even consider myself an especially speeder reader by any means. I also don’t use audiobooks on a regular basis. I use physical books or Kindle Unlimited
I should also admit that yes, I have a job (more than one), I have two kids, and two furbabies that do demand attention.
But if you’d like to know my tips for finding time to read amid the chaos, then buckle up and let’s go:
Discover Your Reading Motivation
How to find time to read begins with understanding your motivation. Ask yourself, why do you want to read more? Identifying your reasons for wanting to read more can help drive your actions and make reading a priority in your life. Whether it’s for personal development, relaxation, or entertainment, let your motivation guide you.
I’m an emotional reader. I go with my gut. While I will finish a series in sequence (because that’s how the author would prefer it right?) I won’t stay within certain generes when I finish. I see how I’m feeling, see how busy my life is going to be and pick a book that I have the brainpower for at the time.
For example, I’m not going to start entering into Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere when I know my work life is crazy and my kids are up to their eyes in after-school activities! I’ll pick smaller, usually indie authors on Kindle or single book recommendations from the wonderful bookstagram community. So figure out why you want to read and balance it with a book you know you’re going to have the capacity to enjoy.
Set Reading Goals and Track Your Progress
Setting a reading goal is a great way to keep yourself accountable and focused on finding time to read. Start with a small, manageable goal, such as reading one book a month, and track your progress using reading apps or a reading journal. Seeing your progress can be motivating and help you stay on track.
Goodreads and Storygraph both have goal trackers, but by now you probably know I love journals. So I keep trackers in my bullet journals and my reading journal and sometimes Notion if I want to pop that book on my blog or talk about it at bookclub. So, if you’re the type of person who likes to tick off boxes or gets a kick out of click little buttons from red to green, trackers can motivate you to pick up and finish a new book.
Schedule Time for Reading
To make reading a habit, schedule regular reading sessions in your daily routine. Whether it’s during your morning commute, lunch break, or before bed, find a time that works best for you and stick to it. Consistency is key to forming a lasting habit. At least that is what they say but after a while you start to naturally pick up a book. To be honest, you start to feel a bit odd when you aren’t reading when you’re on a bus.
Yes, I do pack an emergency book just in case my phone or kindle dies when I go on a trip. Don’t you?
Establish a Reading Routine
To follow on from the above point, developing a consistent reading routine can help turn reading into an integral part of your daily life. Experiment with different reading times and strategies to find what works best for you, and then stick to your routine.
Over time you’re going to realise what makes you feel good and how you enjoy reading. You’re going to realise if you enjoy reading in the morning or at night or if you prefer to read on your commute or at lunch.
Create a Reading-Friendly Environment
A comfortable and inviting reading space can make a world of difference in encouraging you to read more. Why not set up a dedicated reading nook in your home, with comfortable seating, good lighting, and minimal distractions. Except furbabies. Those can enter as long as they aren’t like my cat and bat the book out of your hand for attention.
By having a favourite place to relax and read it will make it easier for you to settle in and enjoy your reading time. I also like to add a candle or a diffusor to my space. As I work from home, it’s hard to differentiate my work time from downtime, especially if I have just had to read and edit for work. By adding a fragrance to my reading space, it almost tricks my body into realising I’m done with work for the day.
A certain family member will also add soundeffects to their reading. Imagine Frankenstein with a soundtrack of thunder and lighting and you’d be on the right track. It’s your space. Make it a fun place to be and you’ll want to hang out and read there more.
Embrace Unexpected Reading Opportunities
Life is full of unexpected downtime, such as waiting in line, during a commute, or waiting for an appointment. If you’re in my life that includes many unexpected vet visits and trips to the ER. Keep a book or reading app handy, so you can take advantage of these moments to sneak in some reading time. It also helps to avoid unwanted conversations, too.
Unlike knitting. When I bring my knitting, it sparks conversations. Apparently, people are not put off by an annoyed mum who can wield pointy sticks. I digress. Back to fitting in time to read:
Prioritise Your Reading Material
Focus on reading books and articles that align with your interests and goals. By prioritising your reading material, you’ll be more motivated to find time to read, and the experience will be more fulfilling. Before I continue here, I want to be clear:
How you read is not as important is you reading. Borrow a library book, share a book with a friend, pick up a secondhand pre-loved copy of something you love. You don’t have to have the most expensive copy of a book with gilded edges. As long as you’re interested in what you’re reading and you keep reading, that’s the important thing.
I do subscribe to Illumicrate and I use those books as motivation to finish a book on my TBR pile first. They go on my bookshelf and taunt me. Each day as I log into work, they mock me until they are read. It’s how I motivate myself to keep my TBR pile low. I also don’t request many arcs unless I know I’m going to have the time.
Utilise Audiobooks for Increased Reading Time
Audiobooks are an excellent way to “read” while performing other tasks, such as commuting, cooking, or exercising. By incorporating audiobooks into your routine, you can increase your reading time without sacrificing other activities.
The only time I use audiobooks is when I take my dog for a walk on the beach. I have thoroughly enjoyed The Sandman as an audiobook and also Grim Lovelies. I find the voice of the narrators to be highly important as to whether I’ll stay and listen to a full book, so I usually take recommendations from others for audiobooks.
Break Reading into Smaller Sessions
Finding time to read can be overwhelming. Divide your reading time into smaller, more manageable sessions throughout the day. This can make it easier to fit reading into your busy schedule and may improve information retention. I find books with shorter chapters or even flash fiction pieces to be really good for fitting reading into my day. I really enjoy reading and writing flash fiction, which I only got into when I had two kids under 3 and my time was tight.
Read What You Love
Ah, if you take one thing from this post, let it be this one.
Reading should be enjoyable, so choose books and topics that genuinely interest you.
If you’re struggling to get through a book, don’t hesitate to move on to something more engaging. You also don’t have to read the current trending books on BookTok, BookTube, or Bookstagram. Read what you’re drawn to at the time. It really is that simple. If you love a book,you’ll stick it out to the end. Especially if it’s a slow burn enemies to lovers and you’re on page 350 and they STILL haven’t had their first kiss. Looking at you, Maas!
However, if the book you’re reading has a whiney needy main character that you don’t vibe with, ditch it. Your time is more important and there are more books out there. Again looking at you Maas!
(I feel like I need to say I love ACOTAR here nad I do. Cass and Rhys have my whole heart. Cresent City however….grumbles inaudibly)
Set the Reading Mood
Have you seen those ‘Blind Date’ books?
They are a mystery book to buy, usually packaged with chocolate. Let’s be honest, I’ve had more luck with Blind Date books than dating in real life sometimes. Well, back when I used to date.
But bear with me.
If you create an atmosphere that encourages reading by incorporating elements that make the experience enjoyable for you. This might include soft music, ambient noise, or a dedicated reading corner in your home. So go on and buy that latest romance or romantasy book that you’ve been eyeing up, hell pick up 50 Shades of Grey if that’s your jam and make a date with a book.
Sometimes it’s all we need.
Identify and eliminate distractions that can hinder your reading progress. Kids. Husband. Pets. Yup, they all go on the warning list here if I’m reading a particular book or writing. This might involve turning off notifications on your phone or finding a quiet space away from noise and interruptions. It’s okay to turn off your phone to read the last section of a book. Whatever you find pulling you out of your book world and into real life needs to be muted, in my opinion.
Hold Yourself Accountable
Join a book club or take part in a reading challenge to create a sense of accountability for your reading goals. Sharing your progress with others can provide motivation and support. Here is where social media is great. There are lots of reading challenges online, so you can always find one that suits your reading or audiobook tastes.
Not only that, you’ll find some of your best virtual friends in these reading challenges and you’ll be wondering how you’ve never met in real life. However, you might find you’re spending more time talking about chapter 55 with your new bestie than reading but they WILL Motivate you to get to a specific chapter when you’re lagging!
Integrate Reading into Social Activities
Make reading a social activity by reading with friends or family members, either through a shared book club or simply reading together in the same space. This is actually something that I’ve really enjoyed. I’ve loved being present when people get to THAT chapter. I also love when my husband finally reads the dang book so I can talk about it so I highly encourage reading as a social activity.
Use Reading Apps and Tools
So I was rather skeptical about this, but reading apps and tools can help you manage your reading list, track your progress, and access books and articles offline. Explore different options to find the tools that best support your reading habits. In fact, here is a handy table of 8 reading apps that can help you do just this:
|Goodreads||A social network for book lovers, Goodreads lets you track your reading progress, discover new books, and share reviews with friends.|
|Kindle||Amazon’s Kindle app provides access to millions of ebooks, allowing you to read or listen to books on your device.|
|Audible||A leading audiobook app, Audible offers a vast library of titles, enabling you to listen to books on the go.|
|Libby||Libby connects you to your local library’s ebook and audiobook collections, allowing you to borrow digital titles for free.|
|Blinkist||Blinkist offers summaries of non-fiction books, condensing key ideas into short, digestible formats for quick learning.|
|Scribd||A subscription-based service, Scribd provides access to ebooks, audiobooks, and more across various genres.|
|Bookly||Bookly helps track your reading habits, set goals, and offers personalised statistics to motivate you to read more.|
|Google Play Books||With Google Play Books, you can purchase and download ebooks and audiobooks to read or listen on your devices.|
Be kind to yourself
Remember that reading is a personal journey, and it’s essential to be kind to yourself when you struggle to find time to read. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a reading session or fall behind on your goals; simply pick up where you left off and keep moving forward.
We all have reading slumps. It happens. Go enjoy another one of your hobbies. don’t worry the books will still be here when you need them.
Balance Reading with Other Hobbies and Interests
While reading is an essential part of personal growth and development, it’s important to maintain a balance between reading and other hobbies and interests. Make time for other activities that bring you joy and provide relaxation, ensuring a well-rounded lifestyle. I love knitting, painting and playing the Switch.
Yes, I do expect that when Tears of the Kingdom comes out, I’ll be MIA for a while. Again, that’s good. It’s healthy to switch things up. Finding the right balance is always the hard part.
Speed Reading Techniques
For those of you who want to fit reading into what little time you have, I have to mention this. Consider exploring speed reading techniques to help you read more efficiently and effectively.
While speed reading may not be suitable for every book or reading material, it can be a helpful tool for tackling larger volumes of text or familiarising yourself with a topic quickly.
To develop speed reading skills, follow these key steps:
- Eliminate subvocalisation: Subvocalisation is the habit of silently pronouncing words as you read. By reducing or eliminating this habit, you can significantly increase your reading speed.
- Use peripheral vision: Train your eyes to focus on multiple words or lines simultaneously, rather than reading word-by-word. This will help you cover more text in less time.
- Utilise chunking: Chunking involves reading groups of words together rather than individually. This technique helps improve reading pace and comprehension.
- Skim and scan: Skimming refers to quickly glancing through text to get the gist of the content, while scanning involves locating specific information within the text. Both techniques can save time and help you focus on relevant content.
- Use a guide: Use a finger, pen, or cursor to guide your eyes while reading. This helps maintain a consistent pace and prevents you from losing your place in the text.
- Practice regularly: Like any skill, speed reading requires consistent practice to improve. Set aside time daily to practice and track your progress.
Remember that speed reading may not be suitable for all types of content, especially complex or dense material. However, with practice, it can be a valuable skill for quickly absorbing large amounts of text.
Finding time to read can be challenging, but with the right strategies and mindset, it is possible to incorporate reading into your busy life. By understanding your motivation, setting goals, and using various techniques to maximise your reading time, you can enjoy the benefits of a rich reading life while maintaining a balanced lifestyle. Remember to be patient with yourself, experiment with different approaches, and most importantly, enjoy the journey.
FAQ on Finding Time to Read
How can I find time to read when I’m busy?
To find time for reading when you’re busy, try setting goals, scheduling dedicated reading time, and taking advantage of unexpected free time. Experiment with different strategies to see what works best for you.
What are some tips for creating a reading routine?
Establishing a reading routine involves identifying the best time to read, setting a goal for each session, and removing distractions. This helps create a consistent and enjoyable reading habit.
Can audiobooks help me read more?
Yes, audiobooks can significantly increase your reading time by allowing you to multitask. You can listen to them while commuting, exercising, or doing household chores.
How can I break down reading into smaller sessions?
Divide your reading goals into smaller, manageable chunks, such as a set number of pages or minutes per day. This approach makes it easier to fit reading into your daily schedule.
How do I choose the right books to read?
Select books that interest you, resonate with your current mood, or have been recommended by trusted sources. Reading material you genuinely enjoy will make it easier to find time for reading.
How can I make myself accountable for my reading goals?
Join a book club, participate in reading challenges, or share your goals with friends and family. This creates a sense of responsibility and motivation to achieve your reading goals.
What are some reading apps and tools that can help me find time to read?
Consider using reading apps such as Goodreads, Kindle, or Audible, which offer features like progress tracking, book recommendations, and access to audiobooks to enhance your reading experience.