A few years back I decided to make a conscious effort to revisit reading for pleasure. It’s a hobby that I’ve always enjoyed but was getting more difficult to prioritize as I grew older. I started thinking about the obstacles (both real and imagined) that prevented me from spending more time doing my favourite hobby. Most of my friends who read have similar complaints like, how do you find the time? Here’s some suggestions- some I’ve incorporated into my own routine, and some I think might help others, too.
If you can’t find the time…
- Read during your commute. It’s a lot more fun than staring out into space. (Do not do this if you’re the one driving.)
- Bring a book to read while waiting for an appointment, meeting or class to start. Also, make sure you have one nearby any time a call is on hold.
- I keep a book in the kitchen for those in-between times when I’m waiting for the oven to preheat, the kettle to boil, or the coffee to brew.
- Use your time at the Laundromat wisely by bringing a book, or treat your building’s laundry room like one so you can snag some quality reading time.
- Read at work: during your coffee break, your lunch break, or if you’re waiting around. That is, provided all of your work is done and you’re doing it discreetly. Again, the key is discreetly. (And no, you cannot tell your boss I told you that.)
If you’re looking to make the time…
- Consider cutting down on your screen time. I think twice before picking up any electronics- do I really want to play a fifth round of Candy Crush, or do I want to read?
- Now cut down your other screen times as well. How many minutes do you lose every day browsing Netflix or turning on a show for the sake of just watching something? I limited my TV intake and now use that borrowed time to pick up my book instead.
- Make it part of your routine. I try to read for an hour before bed every night, but you may want to read a few minutes every morning, or set rules for a family reading hour on a weekly basis.
The second biggest obstacle that I came across were reading ruts- you know, when you just can’t get excited about the book you’re reading. Sometimes I’d read a few ho-hum books in a row and think, what’s the point? Or I’d read tearjerkers back-to-back that left me emotionally drained and unmotivated to pick up something new. Here are some ways to snap out of it:
If you’re looking for motivation…
- Tracking the books I read on Goodreads has really helped motivate me. I like being able to set myself challenges, and checking in with friends to see how they’re doing with theirs.
- Join a book club, go to a book lecture, or attend a reading by your favorite author.
If you’re looking for a new approach…
- Turn to reading as a coping mechanism. If I feel myself starting to unravel from stress or anxiety, I’ll give myself a time out to read a few pages until I calm down.
- Make it portable. I’m not a huge fan of e-readers but if you’re looking for a way to incorporate more reading into your routine this format may be way more convenient. No more toting around giant books on the subway!
- Try something new. There are so many books out there about virtually everything under the sun- you’re bound to find something that piques your interest. A new genre or author just might inspire your love of reading all over again.
Psst- wanna see which books have previously graced my bookshelves? Click here. Want even more fun reading recommendations? I’ve got some for you here. Don’t forget to find me on Goodreads so we can snoop each other’s bookshelves and dish about our favourites.