Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Finding Time To Read

Would you like to know my secret to finding time to read?

Are you ready?  It's a big one...lean in close...

...I make time for it.  Sometimes people act shocked when I tell them I spend at least an hour reading every day. They act like maybe I have an hour somewhere that they are missing. Or that maybe I somehow have fewer responsibilities.

I don't have kids, but I do work full time (40+ hours a week) and I'm in graduate school full time.  I have a home and a husband and pets and friends that I do things with.  The truth is that we all make time to do the things we want to do, regardless of how many resonsibilities or obligations we have.  And don't think I'm making a value judgment on what people spend time doing - if you love refinishing furniture (which is another of my hobbies) you will find time to do it, even if it means cutting back on another hobby or cutting back on your amount of sleep or the amount of time you spend in the shower or whatever.  The truth is, that if you want to find the time to read, you can - even if it's only ten minutes here and there. 

Here are some ways that you can make time for reading if that's what you really want to do:

Multi-task.  Take your book with you to the gym.  Carry it in your purse during the day and read while you're waiting for an appointment or standing in line.  One of my online book club friends reads while she blow dries her hair.  Put an audiobook in your car or on your mp3 player for your commute.

Read on your lunch hour.  This both time and money efficient.  Pack a lunch, find a private spot, and spend an hour reading instead of chatting with colleagues, surfing the net, or going out to lunch every day.

And my #1 way to make time for books - the guaranteed first thing I will say to you when you tell me you don't have time to read:

Turn off the TV!  Don't get me wrong, I watch plenty of TV and I'm not one of those "TV will rot your mind and you shouldn't even own one" people.  I love my Real Housewives of Wherever and my Dr. Who and Bridezillas and everything else.  But I love my books more, so I limit my TV watching.  If you're watching four hours of TV a night and tell me you don't have time to read (ahem, certain co-workers) you will not be getting my sympathy.

It's like when my students say they don't have time for homework.  I always tell them that if they have time to do their nails, fix their hair, play a video game, or go out for drinks with friends, they have time for homework.  It's the same with reading.  Although I feel like if you're reading this right now I may be preaching to the choir...

So, what do you do to make time for books?

And coming tomorrow...My Dalek cookie cutter has arrived.  Tomorrow's post will have pictures and my explanation of how a teenage vampire could never measure up to my fictional love...


  1. I listen to audiobooks during my commute to work and always have a book in my bag in case I can grab 10 minutes here and there to read. I get a 30-minute lunch break, and I usually read then too.

    At my library, we have a summer reading program for all ages, and we have patrons track the amount of hours they read, not the amount of books. I think rewarding them with prizes for tracking their reading hours has certainly helped some of them become more creative about carving out reading time!

  2. Maybe it is just me being such a reading addict, but most days I don't have to "make time" to read...I just do. Does that make sense? It is such a big part of me, I can't imagine not reading.

  3. I always love this question! "How do you make time to read?" (or write, but it's the same answer.) I don't even think about it, I just do it!

  4. I get the same reaction when I tell people that making time to read is a priority: "What? Isn't reading a sort of fall-back activity to do when you're bored with everything else?"

    No, reading IS a priority - and I love your tips about fitting it in your busy schedule. Turning off the TV is certainly key.

    Nice post!

  5. I am the "book nerd" (what my friends call me!) that reads at red lights!

  6. I have a book in almost every room in my house. I listen to audio books my commute in the car. The rest of my commute is by train so I read a book.
    I always have a book on my phone or my e-reader, and never without a book at work.
    My co-workers always look at me funny when I sit down at our lunch table with a book and read while eating. I've been called anti-social, but for me, it's relaxing and I do talk to them at lunch while I read.
    Our TV usually doesn't get turned on when it's just me at home. Soft music and a book for me!