Hey guys! So, I’ve had a crazy busy month, and so have lots of my friends. One of the questions they always ask me when we’re snowed in is “How do you find time to read?”
In short, the answer is that I make time for it. I have routines and understand the importance of taking a step back and relaxing with a book. I know sometimes it’s easier said than done – when you’ve got a million things on your to do list, the last thing you think will help is spending half an hour reading – but the time to clear your mind and revive yourself definitely helps you feel more rested and productive.
Here are some of my top tips for fitting reading into a busy lifestyle!
Allocate half an hour before bed or first thing in the morning
Whether you’re a night owl or a early bird, set yourself an alarm to wind down/wake up with a book.
For me, I read for half an hour or more before bed, and I find that lying there, snuggled up with a book in my cosy bed helps me to relax and clear my mind.
I’m definitely one of those people whose mind goes into overdrive when I try to sleep – did I finish that thing at work? Did I turn the oven off? Oh no, I forgot to make lunch for tomorrow! – but reading until my eyelids get heavy and I can just drop off to sleep really helps!
Get a Kindle/e-Reader
I’ve had a Kindle for a while, and I used to use it religiously when I commuted to work, but since not using public transport, I’ve used it less. However, I’ve recently rediscovered the joys of it! I can read a chunky book with greater ease in bed – oh yes, I can lie on my side and still read a Stephen King 1200-pager now! But more than that, I’ve found its flatness is super handy for slotting reading time in when you wouldn’t think to do so. Now, when I’m drying my hair, which takes a good 15 minutes on the hottest setting because it’s so thick, I rest my Kindle on my knee and read away. It also makes a tedious job seem quicker!
On top of that, you can download the Kindle app so you can read whenever the time arises – waiting in the doctor’s surgery? Tune back into your book. Car’s broken down? Get reading!
Audio books are great! Whether I’m walking the dog, doing my make up, taking a shower, baking, or online shopping, I can whack an audio book on and be enveloped in a great book while I go about my day.
I can tick items off my to do list, and kick my reading goal’s butt at the same time!
Cut down on TV and social media
Oh, I totally know the allure of Netflix’s sneaky autoplay function. The amount of times I’ve “accidentally” watched another episode when I swore I was going to bed because of that pesky feature is probably in the hundreds! But think of it this way; even watching just one Netflix episode less a day could allow you time to read a fair chunk of a book – my half hour reading slot before bed usually has me finishing an average length 350 pager in a week!
Make a list of reading goals and keep track with a journal to motivate you
Set a goal to motivate you. It could be something like “read a new book each month”, or perhaps a Goodreads challenge. You can set a yearly reading goal and it will tell you how well you’re progressing and whether you’re on track. You could also spur yourself on with a handy reading journal to keep track of your reads and reflect on favourite genres, or take part in a discussion like What Are You Reading Wednesday! I’d love you to join in 🙂
Get recommendations from friends
Ask your friend what their favourite book is, and give it a try! It’ll be fun to discuss your progress with them – “I can’t believe x did that to y!” “I’m sure x plot twist will happen!” – and it’ll motivate you to keep going back to the book.
Similarly, buddy reading is great for staying on track! You and a group of friends pick a book, and agree to discuss it at a certain point each week. Set your own rules – could be that you each read 100 pages a week, or you just discuss up to wherever the person least furthest in got up to to avoid spoilers. Either way, it’s a nice way to share your thoughts with people reading along at the same time, and it’ll spur you on as you won’t want to be the person who’s only read 10 pages when everyone else is on page 100!
Join or start a reading club
Whether it’s at work or with a bunch of friends, gather up a group, throw a bunch of book titles in a hat, pick one and meet back up in a few weeks’ time to discuss the book. It’s a good way to branch out and try books you wouldn’t normally choose, and a good motivator for staying on track!
Read the book before the movie
Make a pact with yourself to read the book first if there’s a movie you want to see. I’m refusing to watch The Snowman until I’ve read the book! (Though, from what I’ve heard, the book is waaaay better anyway!)
If you’re dying to watch a film, you’ll fly through the book if it’s the only thing standing in your way. Plus, it’s always fun to see how the characters look on screen when you’ve been seeing them a certain way in your head as you read along!
Make yourself a cosy book nook
Whether it’s in your bed, in your favourite armchair, or by a window with a lovely view, find your reading nook and make it a place you want to be.
Set it up with cosy lighting, cushions, a place to put a hot drink and room to put your feet up, and you’ll be daydreaming about going back and picking your book up all day long!
Read in the bath
Is there anything more relaxing? (Well, until you drop the book in the water – then it’s the opposite!) But lying back with a book, a delectably scented bath bomb and a face mask on just screams “me time”! We all need to take a breather and relax. Plus, you can ramp up the bookish theme with products from Behind the Pages store – book-themed soaps, bath milk, shower fizzies, bath crumble, body lotions and loads more! Use my discount, TSUNDOKU10, for money off. I’m addicted to it!!
Start a postal book club with a long distance friend
I’ve been doing this for about a year now with my best friend, as we live at opposite ends of the country. It’s also a great way for us to branch out and try stuff we wouldn’t usually pick for ourselves, and a way of avoiding books that disappoint!
When you know your best friend’s tried and tested the book, you can be pretty sure you’ll enjoy. Plus, it’s a nice way of doing something together when we’re not physically close enough to pop out for a coffee together. If you don’t have a long distance friend, there’s plenty of people on Bookstagram who would love to do this kind of thing!
Read what you want, not what you feel you should
Reading should be about you. Ignore anyone who turns their nose up at you if you’re reading a chick-lit instead of a classic – your reading time should be your time to wind down, so there’s absolutely no point in forcing yourself through a dreary novel you’re not enjoying just so you can say you’ve read it. You do you when it comes to reading!
Take a book on holiday, or read a book that reminds you of a place you visited
Take a book abroad! I take several books each holiday, as well as audio books and the inevitable airport book purchases! It’s okay though, because I do get through a lot of books on holiday. I think I got through 3 and a half books in 5 days last time I went away!
Equally, if you haven’t got any trips planned, why not escape via the pages of a book? Maybe it’s a book set in a place you’ve visited and loved, or a place you’ve always wanted to go to. Either way, it’ll give you a great holiday vibe, and no one’s stressed on holiday!
What’s your top tip for making time to read? Let me know in the comments!