I read a lot. In fact, I read 46 books last year — all while balancing senior year of high school and starting college, working (I worked three jobs this summer and worked while I was in school as well), and extracurriculars that took up the majority of my time. Yet tons of people I talk to say that they too love to read, but just don’t have the time.
I totally understand this. Currently, I am taking 18 credit hours, have two jobs, and am very involved in my fraternity, and it seems like there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done — much less things I want to do, like reading or writing for this blog (hence why this is my first post after a couple weeks’ hiatus). Yet if you check my goodreads, I am consistently making progress on my readings (though nowhere near as prolific as over the summer). Here are some ways I keep up with my reading, even when it feels like I have no time.
Designate a specific time to read each day.
I started a habit of reading a few pages before bed every day back in my sophomore or junior year of high school — and I have continued it ever since. Each night, after I brush my teeth, turn off my electronics, and climb into bed, I spend about 10-20 minutes reading. This not only allows me to get a few pages in for the day, but helps me begin to wind down and prepare for high quality sleep. And it’s a perfect little respite at the end of a long day to dive into a good book. Some other bloggers will schedule time to read first thing in the morning as well, so that may work better for you. I have also seen others use a different approach…
Designate a certain number of pages to read each day.
I have seen other bloggers and bibliophiles who swear by holding themselves accountable for reading a certain length of their book each day — such as one chapter, or 25 pages. This may work better for you than the time-based approach, especially if you (like me) tend to get distracted while reading. You can also add an incentive or a disincentive to accomplishing your reading goal for the day — for example, treating yourself to Starbucks for completing your goal, or making yourself read the remainder the next day (so if you read 13/25 pages on one day, you have to read 12+25 = 37 pages the next).
Download audiobooks and ebooks to read/listen on the go.
I spend a lot of time walking to and from classes, work, etc. on campus each day, so I’ve begun to use that time to listen to audiobooks and podcasts. One app I love for audiobooks is Libby, which connects to your library card and allows you to browse and borrow from your library’s collection of ebooks and audiobooks from your phone — all for free. (Not sponsored, I just love Libby.) Audible is good for audiobooks too, but can get a bit pricey, and Spotify has some classics available.
For ebooks, Kindle has a ton of free classics available, and many books for only a couple of dollars. Ebooks are a great option to read on the go because they’re easily accessible from your phone or laptop, and are more fulfilling to fill your daily wait time (lines, public transport, the works) than just playing endless levels of Candy Crush.
Join a book club.
Goodreads has plenty of reading groups for every genre — fantasy, YA, classics, romance, you name it. Many of these groups designate a book of the month or something similar, in which the group votes for a book to read and discuss each month. This can provide an incentive to read, since you have reading “buddies” and people to talk about the book with instead of flying solo. And the commonly designated time of one month to read and discuss allows you plenty of time, so you don’t have to stress out about incorporating reading into your busy schedule.
Read books about topics you’re actually interested in.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but many people don’t read because they haven’t found material they’re interested in, or they were forced to read material they didn’t enjoy (we all remember high school English…). By reading books on subjects you’re actually interested in, you may learn to love reading, and the habit of reading each day becomes more of a treat than a chore. For example, a friend of mine in high school hated reading classics such as Of Mice and Men for English class, but absolutely loved books having to do with mythology, and devoured the Percy Jackson series.
Being more lenient with your deadlines may help, as well. I remember hating assigned reading in high school because of the amount I had to read each day, and because I felt that I was constantly cramming for the next test or writing assignment and thus couldn’t enjoy the book. Though I read nearly 50 books last year, I didn’t give myself any deadlines — I just read when I wanted, and ended up enjoying the books much better, as well as becoming a prolific reader instead of leaving a trail of half-finished books and Sparknotes guides in my wake.
Those are all the tips I have for helping you read more! I hope this was helpful. If you have any methods that work for you that I haven’t mentioned, feel free to let me know! And be sure to add me on Goodreads to see my current reads and favorite books.