It’s no secret that adults are busier than ever in this changing world. I don’t know about you but I’m definitely feeling it right now. Not only am I a mother of a six year old girl, a wife to an equally busy husband, an author, an author blogger, an equestrian blogger, I also work full-time at a day job. This is not entirely uncommon, especially for us authors. Another secret; being an author does not make you rich. There are times I can hide that I’m going through a struggling artist period, but that’s the life I chose. It’s a labor of love that doesn’t always pay off but I couldn’t quit if I tried. Writing is in my blood. That’s why I keep creating more work for myself with all these blogs and book series I start writing and journals I keep designing. It never ends (Thank God!) Even if you’re not an author I’m sure your schedule looks equally as busy as mine. So many of us are juggling family, friends, jobs, school, hobbies, and more. Just reading that sentence made me feel a little exhausted. How do we do all that and still find time to read in our day?
For me as an author reading is not only a pleasurable hobby, it’s a part of my job. Trying out different authors and genres keeps my writing style and interests fresh and it motivates me to get to writing too. As a reader, that little time I get to carve out is my great escape from my hectic life. I’ve put together some of my favorite tips and tricks to squeeze reading time in when you can so you don’t keep blowing it off.
Create a Schedule
I don’t mean a reading schedule exactly, but an actual half hour-by- half hour schedule for your daily activities. I have found this extremely helpful in finding those little pockets of potential free time that I can dedicate to reading. If I never put my schedule to paper I never would have realized that after my daughter comes home from school before I make dinner I have a good half hour while she’s playing with friends and decompressing from her day to decompress from mine with a good book! If I hadn’t planned that moment in my day I might have wasted it staring at my phone or Netflix (not that those are totally useless either.) Which brings me to my next point.
Put the Technology Down
I find that so many readers (myself included) complain that they can’t find time to read even though they enjoy it too much. But when you take a hard look at your tech and social media use, are you sure you really couldn’t find the time? How much time a day do you spend scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed mindlessly, liking post after post? A half hour? An hour? I’m not saying you have to give it up completely but maybe figure out how much time you spend scrolling through your social media and cut it in half to share it with reading time.
Small Unexpected Blocks of Time
I think it’s a good idea to have the book you’re reading on you at all times. You never know when you’re going to get an unexpected block of time to read for five, ten, or maybe even twenty minutes! One place I have realized is a good ten to fifteen minute reading niche is while I’m waiting to pick my daughter up at the bus stop. It’s supposed to be home at 3:55pm. I showed up on time and it consistently does not arrive until between 4:10 and 4:15. I would hate to show up late and then actually have it be on time so I go at 3:55pm every day still and wait around. Sure I could take that time to socialize with the other parents and that’s important too, but sometimes its so hot they’re all sitting in the air conditioning in their cars like me watching YouTube to kill time. Another great place to pick up a few minutes of reading is in waiting rooms; doctor, dentist, appointments, etc. Read until your name is called and then bookmark it. Sometimes it can be a little jarring to have to stop in the middle of a paragraph but for me that few minutes of reading was well worth it because it relaxes me.
If you work full-time you probably get a half hour or more for your lunch break. I don’t know about you but it takes me only about 5-10 minutes to woof down my meal. The rest of that break can be spent with your nose in a good book!
While the Kids are Playing
It’s so tempting to check things off our list when the kids are occupied with playing either in their rooms or out with friends. There’s a balance to life and we’re happiest when we teeter on that fine line of everything being in harmony. Sometimes when the kids are otherwise occupied you’ll want to get some housework, cleaning, laundry, extra work, or something productive done, but you also need to give yourself permission to not be productive every minute of your life. If your kid loves to play out of the house with friends like mine does, one day clean, another day read, another day write your blog or whatever your extra work is.
These are just a few of the ways I find time to read daily even with my overly busy schedule. If you have any more tips or tricks for carving out more reading time please leave it in the comments below! Happy Reading!