I don’t know about you, but for me, there are never, ever enough hours in the day for all the reading I want to do. (The fact that I could pretty much spend all day reading and still want to read more probably doesn’t help… but I digress.) The truth is, fellow bibliophiles, the desire-to-read versus the time-allotted-for-reading struggle is real — but if you’ve ever found yourself wondering how you can get more reading done, you’ve come to the right article. It just so happens ask myself that very same question nearly every day, and as a result, have become something of an expert in the field of Reading As Much As Possible. And the good news is, unlike, say, Ben and Jerry's Vermonty Python or Real Housewives of New Jersey reruns, when it comes to literature you can never have too much of a good thing.
Whether you’ve set yourself a reading resolution for 2017, you’ve been assigned an especially text-heavy syllabus this semester, or you’re simply looking to add more books into your already busy life, the tips below offer some tried and true methods for making sure this is your best reading year yet. Here are 8 great ways to get more reading done in 2017.
1. Curate That TBR Pile Mindfully
Between online reading challenges, endless book lists, Instagram shelfies, and — oh yeah — those little brick-and-mortar things called bookstores, it’s nearly impossible to keep my TBR pile (make that piles) from reaching the ceiling. Sound familiar? You don’t need me to tell you the TBR struggle is real. But one of the first steps to making sure you read even more this year than ever before is to curate that TBR pile mindfully. It’s tempting to add everything — I know. But if you take extra care to make sure that your to-read queue is only filled with the books that you really, really want to read this year, you’ll be more likely to actually, you know, read them.
2. Invoke The Pomodoro Method
Have you heard of the Pomodoro Technique yet? The totally buzz-worthy time management method was developed by expert Francesco Cirillo, and is designed to help you eliminate burnout, manage distractions, and work well within the time you have — and it’s super easy to do (perfect for folks who’d like a little more literature in their lives, but have a hard time sitting still long enough to read it.) To start Pomodoro-ing set a timer for 25 minutes. Then read until the timer goes off. That’s it.
Not only will this help you better focus on what you’re reading, it’ll help you realize how many pockets of free time you have throughout the day, just right for adding a little book love into your life: half your lunch hour, that subway commute, even adding an extra 25 minutes of free time in the morning or before you go to sleep. Those minutes will add up to entire books before you know it.
3. Binge Read
I know you’re already an expert at binge watching — it’s basically what Netflix was made for. But did you know you can take all those hours you’re watching The Real Housewives of everywhere, and reallocate them to binge reading instead? It’s just as fun, believe me (maybe even more.) And now, with websites like How Long to Read, you can find out exactly how much binge-worthy time you’ll need to set aside for all those books in your TBR pile.
4. Join A Book Club
There’s nothing like a little group accountability to get a job done, amirite? Joining a book club (or, if you’re like me, several) is a great way to step up your reading game in 2017. From can’t-miss online book clubs (like Emma Watson’s Our Shared Shelf, and Bustle’s very own American Woman Book Club) to the real-life, in-person deal with your best reading pals, joining a book club will not only get you reading more, it might even introduce you to books that wouldn’t have landed in your TBR pile otherwise.
5. Set A Goodreads Reading Challenge
The Goodreads Reading Challenge is kind of like FitBit for bibliophiles — you set a goal and then compete against yourself. But in the case of the Goodreads Reading Challenge, you’re working for books read instead of steps taken (much more fun, IMO.) There are few things more satisfying than reaching the end of the year and being able to look over your Year In Reading. Especially if you’ve met your goal.
6. Do As Rory Gilmore Did
Aka: take a book with you everywhere, at all times. (We’ll never forget the purse full of The Portable Dorothy Parker that Rory brought to the Chilton dance.) You never know when you’ll be delayed, stuck on the subway, standing in an especially long line, waiting on a blind date that never shows up, bored at a dinner party, or faced with any number of other situations wherein you’ll wish (desperately) that you had a book in your own purse.
7. Consider The Audiobook
While the audiobook isn’t my favorite way to take in that next great read (I miss the bookish smell) there are certain situations in which an audiobook comes in quite handy — like basically any time you’re doing something that requires the attention of your eyes and hands (driving, working out, taking a walk, cleaning all the things in your life that somehow always need cleaning, etc.) but you’d much rather be reading. You might be surprised how much more “reading” you get done when you throw a few audiobooks into the mix — just be sure you don’t give up print books entirely! (Like you really need me to tell you that.)
8. Use Your Tech-Free Time Mindfully
Thanks to Arianna Huffington, we’re now being much more mindful of our pre-sleep, tech-free, blue-light-eliminated routines — and catching up on your reading is exactly the kind of activity all that unwired time is perfect for. But unplugging in favor of more bookish pursuits won’t just help you relax after a long day — it’s guaranteed to help you get even more reading done too. And if you really can’t manage to disconnect completely (we’ve all been there) at least consider swapping that iPhone for an e-reader.