I know the struggle, busy people. All you want to do is curl up in your overstuffed easy chair and read your book. But there's just so much work to do, classes to take, side projects to manage, and social obligations to endure, not to mention obsessively refreshing Twitter as you watch national history unfold. Plus, you don't actually own an easy chair. But no matter how busy you are, I promise that you secretly do have more time to read than you think. Here are a few simple ways to read more, even if you feel like you don't have the time.
I mean, sure, you might not be able to lounge around reading novels all day and still pay the rent. But there are plenty of ways to carve out little chunks of daily reading time, even when your schedule feels packed to the gills. If you can find time to complain to your friends about how impossibly busy you are, then you can find time to squeeze that extra chapter in. And that's a very good thing for the chronically busy, because reading can reduce stress, improve memory, and make you immortal (that last one might be a slight exaggeration, but you get it). Here are a few methods to up your reading without losing valuable time:
1Always carry a book with you
Whether you're lugging around a hardcover or carrying several thousand e-books on some kind of fancy robot device, it's always helpful to have a book with you. You can't read without a book, after all. And you never know when you'll have a free minute or two to read on your commute, between classes, or while hiding out in the office bathroom to avoid doing actual work.
2Limit internet time
"I'm just so busy these days," you say as you scroll through your middle school boyfriend's Instagram. "I wish I had more time to read!" you cry to the heavens, as you make no effort to stop the Netflix auto-play from going on to season six of The Office. Look, there's nothing wrong with glancing at social media or using Netflix to fill that gaping emptiness inside you, but set some time limits on all that internet nonsense. Set a literal timer, or download a self control app to lock you out of certain websites. Then pick up your book, and enjoy some distraction-free reading time.
3Read first thing in the morning
If you think you can handle it, set your alarm twenty minutes earlier and spend that time reading. Read five pages of a book before you check your email or start feeling queasy about the morning news. Even if you know deep in your heart that you'll never be a morning person, I bet you can still squeeze in a few pages over breakfast, or during your morning commute (just don't read and drive).
4Read right before bed
If you're really not a morning person, make reading part of your bedtime routine. Power down right before bed by shutting off all your screens and reading a chapter of your book. Just try not to get so sucked in that you stay up all night reading.
5Audiobooks are your friend
Audiobooks, man. They're amazing. Some people act like listening to a book is inferior to physically reading it, but I can't even hear the haters over the sound of my beloved audiobooks. Listen to audiobooks while you clean, cook, drive, walk, work out, etc. You can even increase the speed of your audiobook on most devices, for extra efficiency. Sign up for a monthly audiobook subscription with Audible, or download an app like OverDrive and borrow audiobooks from your local library for free.
Speedy reading is not for everyone. But if you really want to sprint through your TBR list, check out some of the many online tutorials for speed reading. It takes a little practice, but you can actually increase the speed of your daily reading, without losing too much comprehension... just don't expect to be devouring whole books in minutes.
7Set realistic goals
Sometimes you need to just sit down and schedule that reading time into your life. Write it in your calendar, set a timer for twenty minutes of reading a day, or type up your weekly reading goals and check them off one by one. But be sure that you're setting realistic goals for yourself. Three books a week might be a stretch, but one chapter a day is more than doable.
8Join a club or reading challenge
Reading doesn't have to be lonely. Join a book club, or pick a friend who'll read the same book as you and discuss. You'll make time to read if you have a loved one nagging you about it. Or, if you're less into friendship and more into winning, find a reading challenge and read competitively. There are plenty of reading challenges out there to choose from, complete with book recommendations if you're not quite sure what to read next.
Make reading a pleasant experience, not a chore. Your thirty minutes of daily reading time might also be the thirty minutes that you soak your feet in a foot bath, or indulge in the hot beverage of your choice. Read the books you want to read, not the ones you think you should read. And reward yourself every time you reach a big reading goal (even if that reward is just to buy more books).
10Make it a habit
If you can commit to thirty days of daily reading, chances are the habit will stick. You don't even have to read a lot every day: even starting with five or ten minutes can help you get into your new reading groove. The quantity is not nearly as important as the commitment. Start by telling yourself that you do have enough time to make a dent in that TBR pile. Then follow through, a little bit every day. You'll be a voracious reader before you know it.