6 Ways to Read More (and Make Time to Read)

Those who don’t read often say it’s because they can’t find the time. Those who do read usually just want more of it. Inspired by National Readathon Day and a few recent conversations, I aim to offer both categories some quick tips on getting a bigger book fix.

These are not original ideas, and in fact I have a sneaking suspicion I may just be repeating what I read in On Writing (a fabulous guide by Stephen King) years ago. But here goes:

1. Always carry a book with you. Take it out whenever you find yourself waiting: in line, on the train, to meet a friend. No wait is too short to read a little more.

2. Audiobooks, audiobooks, audiobooks—the fantastic medium that allows us to experience prose while actively doing other things: cooking. Cleaning. Exercise. Driving. Art. The possibilities are endless. With audiobooks you don’t really even have to make time—you just have to recognize the activities that allow you to multitask.

3. Read before bed. You’d be surprised what headway you can make before drifting off to slumberland. Warning: in the case of extremely good reading, may result in missed hours of sleep.

4. Turn off the TV. For those that watch even half an hour of something a day, here is a golden opportunity to pick up a book instead. You don’t have to give up your favorite shows or choose books forever; you just have to make the decision to swap for the evening/day/hour. How much and how often are up to you.

5. Make a conscious trade. Maybe TV and movies aren’t what you do in your downtime. What is? Can you give it up a couple times a week, or maybe a full week, or over the course of a month and read instead?

6. Set a bar. Concrete, achievable goals are galvanizing and effective. By committing to a standard (one chapter a day, X hours a week, Y books a month or a year) you will read at a steady rate and finish your book(s) in due course.

Other ideas? Leave ’em in the comments below!


6 responses to “6 Ways to Read More (and Make Time to Read)”

  1. For me, it’s definitely about the trade. I love movies, but I love books too, so I haven’t been watching as many flicks in the past year. Another trick that works for me is not saving reading for just before bed. Otherwise, I fall asleep and don’t get to enjoy what I’m reading.

    1. Yes! It’s interesting but I also find reading before bed a very divided experience: sometimes I fall asleep within a few pages, sometimes I’m up till ridiculous hours because I can’t put the book down!

      1. Haha, yes! Been there plenty of times. Totally worth being tired at work the next day. 🙂

  2. ‘Haven’t got time’ is a great excuse for just not doing stuff. Personally, not having a TV lets me get on with productive things, maybe not reading. Must give audiobooks a try sometime.
    I love it when I see someone (rare these days) walking down the street reading a book.

    1. Me too! Or reading on the train. Though in fairness it’s getting harder to tell when someone’s reading or not because of all the electronic formats these days!

  3. My wise old grandmother told me in 1966: “You always have time to do those things you do first.” So when the clock strikes midnight, my book comes out and I get my reading out of the way for the day. However, I do carry a book and several magazines in my backpack so that whenever I have to wait at a doctor’s office, post office, grocery store………..I just pull out something to read.

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