1. Make Reading a Priority
In most every case, you can make time for what you truly want to have time for. I read this quote in Honey for a Child’s Heart awhile back and thought it was so good:
“A busy schedule is the enemy of reading. Agreeing in principle with all the benefits of books, you may at this point simply sigh and say, ‘I wish we had more time for reading.’ But the fact remains that we arrange time for what we think is truly important.”
2. Always Have a Book Handy
I keep a few books I’m working on reading through different parts of the house. That way, if I have a few minutes of extra time, I have a book handy to pick up and read.
When I’m headed out the door for an appointment, when I’ll be riding in the passenger seat instead of driving or when I’m going anywhere that there’s a potential I might have some “dead” time, I bring a book along. Sometimes, I don’t even get to crack it open. Other times, I end up having unexpected waiting time and finish half the book!
3. Set Goals for Your Reading
I’ve been amazed at how much more I’m reading when I have clear-cut reading goals in place. I picked 48 books I wanted to read this year and then broke this list down by choosing four books to read each month. Having this list (and publicly posting it!) motivates me to stay on track and get through some books I’ve especially been hoping to read for quite awhile.
In addition to my yearly and monthly list, I also set weekly reading goals. I don’t always reach those goals, but setting them inspires me to always be looking for opportunities to improve my mind through reading! And I’ve also found it fun to keep track of all the books I read each year on Pinterest.
4. Join a Book Club
Want extra motivation to be reading? Join a book club — or start one with a friend or two. Not only does the accountability help you actually get the reading done, but it’s fun to discuss good books with others!
5. Read Aloud To Your Kids
Want to know a secret? Many of the books I read to my kids are ones I’ve chosen because I want to read them, too! And I know that when I start a book with my kids, it’s pretty much guaranteed that we’ll finish it in good time since there will be so many pleas for “just one more chapter!”
We typically read aloud for a combined 1-2 hours every week day. We spread our reading times throughout the day reading some around breakfast time, some before and during lunch, and some at dinner time. I've also recently started reading a different book individually with each child. It's a fun way to get in one-on-one time everyday -- plus I get even more reading in!
6. Have Multiple Books Going At Once
I know some people are one-book-at-a-time people, but I’ve found I read a lot more when I have multiple books going at once. Why? Because I pick up the book that fits my mood.
Sometimes, I’m in the mood for light reading and know I have more time so I’ll pick up my current fiction read. Sometimes, I know I just have a snippet of time, so I’ll pick up my current deeper non-fiction read. If I only had one book going, I’d likely only pick it up when I was in the mood for whatever the topic was.
One caution, though. If you’re a great starter and a bad finisher, set some boundaries for how many books you can have going at once.
For instance, I never have more than one fiction book going at once and no more than three non-fiction books going at once. I have a rule that I can’t start a new fiction book until I’ve finished one non-fiction book. This might seem silly to you, but it’s a way that I guarantee that I’m not getting in a rut and just reading the same sorts of things, but constantly reading from different genres and perspectives.
7. Keep Books in Multiple Places in Your House
In the same vein as having multiple books going at once, I’ve also found it’s helpful to have books stashed in different places so that they’ll be handy where I’m prone to be at different times of the day. In my purse, on the kitchen countertop, in the car… or yes, even in the bathroom.
If you have to go to some effort to locate a book, you’re probably just going to skip messing with it. But if it’s right at your fingertips when you have a minute or two, it’s a no-brainer to pick it up and read a little bit while you have a little block of time.
8. Read Books that Interest You
While I think it’s great to sometimes push ourselves outside our comfort zone and read things that require some mental gymnastics to wrap your head around and contemplate, make sure that you have plenty of reading that is just thoroughly enjoyable to you. You want to look forward to reading, not dread it!
And if you start a book and find it’s not what you thought it was or just don’t find it engaging or helpful at all, just move on to something else guiltlessly. There’s no point in wasting time reading something that does nothing for you — especially when there are thousands of other fantastic books waiting to be read!
9. Establish a Family Book Basket Time
If you have younger children, you can help them develop a love for books from an early age by establishing a daily Book Basket Time. This is when they get to sit on the couch or in a comfy place and look at a basket of books you’ve put together for them (or that they’ve helped choose at the library).
When we have Book Basket Time at our house, I usually set the timer for 15 to 30 minutes and then every sits and reads — and mom gets 15 to 30 minutes of relative quiet to read, as well!
Not only does this introduce your children to reading from a young age, but it also gives your children the opportunity to see Mom setting a great example for them. If we want to raise our kids to be readers, they need to see us reading, too!
10. Read First Thing in the Morning
In the past year, I’ve made reading a higher priority in my life as I feel like reading good books is one of best ways I can improve as a writer and blogger. One way I’ve carved out more time for reading is by doing it first thing in the morning.
On a usual morning, I get up early, take my shower and get dressed and then I spend 20 minutes in Bible reading and prayer. As soon as I’m finished with that, instead of opening up my laptop, I set the timer for ten minutes and read from whatever book I’m currently reading through.
I can usually read at least a chapter in that 10 minutes and I’ve found it’s a great way to start my day off. Plus, if the day ends up being very full and there’s no extra time for reading at any other time of the day, at least I’ve read one chapter of a book!
11. Turn Off the TV
I know this might not be a popular opinion, but I think you’ll get a lot more out of a good book than you ever will out of the majority of television programs. If you usually spend 30 minutes watching television every day, challenge yourself to devote half of that time to reading instead.
Since I watch very little television (most weeks go by without me watching any), that may be one of the reasons I have more time to read than many people. I’d choose a good book over television any day!
12. Turn Off the Computer
There are so many amazing blogs and sites and articles to read online, but sometimes it can become noisy overload. I prefer to just follow a few blogs and read books instead. I seem to focus better and get more out of books I can hold in my hand rather than reading articles on a computer screen.
13. Listen to Audiobooks
There are many of you who don’t have the luxury of a fairly relaxed schedule like me. You work full-time, you have a gaggle of children and your days are packed from sun-up to sundown and beyond. If snatching a few minutes of reading time seems beyond comprehension, consider audiobooks instead.
You can listen in the car, while you’re folding laundry, while you’re exercising… any time your hands are busy but your mind is free. I’ve only just begun listening to audiobooks at the encouragement of my husband and I’ve truly enjoyed this extra way to fit in more “reading”.
14. Read While You’re Exercising
I run on the treadmill almost every day, so I use my 5-minute walking warm-up to read. You can also read while stair-climbing or doing the elliptical, ask me how I know!
Note: If you typically work out at the gym or walk outside, you might want to skip this tip as you may get some weird looks at the gym or might run into something if you usually walk outdoors!
15. Always Have a Book Going on Your Phone or iPod or E-reader
With the abundance of free book downloads available, there’s no excuse for not having a book handy in your purse at all times — provided you have the technology! I download quite a few of the free ebooks and slowly work my way through them during those unexpected wait times that pop up during the course of the week.
Crystal Paine, Money Saving Mom