I’ve always loved books, but the amount of time I actually spend reading has definitely peaked and troughed during different periods of my life. I think this is only natural. For me, I tend to read a lot less during periods of stress. Its a bit of a paradox, as its these times of anxiety when I would probably benefit even more from relaxing with a book, but there we go, the happier I am, the more I read.
But even aside from all that, it can be difficult to fit an activity like reading into life. I definitely don’t always manage to read as much as I would like, but here are my thoughts on some strategies you can use to try and up your book time.
1.) Watch less t.v./ spend less time internet browsing. Its not going to be popular with everybody, but there are only so many hours in a day and you’ve got to decide where your priorities lie. I still love to watch t.v. but I find when I make sure I only watch set shows that I actually enjoy (and less time mindlessly watching rubbish just because I haven’t turned the t.v. off)I have more time to read! Ditto for scrolling through pinterest.
2.) Read before going to sleep. Its got to be one of the best ways off helping you settle down for a good night’s rest. Much healthier than staring at the blue light of a screen and even if you only manage a few pages before your eyes start to droop, it all adds up.
3.) Find a reading buddy. Its much easier to get into a habit when the people around you are developing that habit too. If you can convince a partner or housemate to try and increase their reading time, chances are your good intentions will rub off on each other and you’ll both benefit. Its also great to have buddies that read because you can swap and share books and make recommendations to each other.
4.) Utilize technology. Not everyones a fan, and I know I could never give up ‘real’ books but the benefits of an ereader are that you can always have it with you and thus take advantage of otherwise wasted time! I personally don’t actually own an ereader, but make sure that I have a book downloaded on my phone. I can then read while I’m waiting for a friend, or alone in a cafe rather than just sitting or browsing facebook. The same applies for audiobooks. If you’re into them, they mean you can be ‘reading’ even while you’re driving, walking or running.
5.) Read multiple books at the same time. Not literally at the same time, obviously. But its ok to have more than one book ‘on the go’ at any one time. Sometimes you’re just not in the mood for a particular book or story, but you might still be in the mood to read something.
6.) Don’t be afraid to give up on a book. I used to struggle with this a lot and it really held me back. I would find myself not enjoying a book and it would sit on my table for months on end while I didn’t read it….or anything else! Whats more, this weird belief that I had that I had to finish every book i started, meant I sometimes had issues even beginning them! It felt like too much of a commitment. Allowing yourself to quit if you feel like it, frees you up to try new things and to move on if they are not for you! It makes reading a whole lot more fun!
7.) Put aside time for more challenging books (If they’re something you’re into). Of course sometimes there are books that are less enjoyable, at least in a straightforward sense, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t want to read them or that they aren’t worth the effort. If a book falls into this category I find it helps to put aside a set amount of time (maybe half an hour a day, or an hour each weekend, whatever fits your life) and to focus on it then. Meanwhile read something lighter and easier at other times. It might take a while to get through them this way, but you’ll get there in the end and without getting stuck in a rut!
8.) Keep a big ‘to read’ pile. I just love having a big stack of books I’m yet to get through. I like always having lots of choice when its time to start something new and I find that keeps me excited about reading. Now books aren’t cheap, and although I will occasionally buy new books (or spend a voucher!) the vast majority of my books come from charity shops.