Free time has slowly shifted from a thing we all craved to something that we now seem to have way too much of.
This can either make us more productive as we have ample time to complete our never-ending to-do lists, or it can lead to less productivity since we can constantly tell ourselves, “I have plenty of time, I’ll do it later.”
If staying at home has made it more difficult for you to tackle that TBR (to be read) list, here are ten tips to fit reading into your schedule.
Tips for Reading Better
1. Read in the Morning
On the days that I don’t hit snooze five times on my alarm, or scroll aimlessly through my phone for 20 minutes, I use my mornings to pick up my current read. Sometimes this is easier said than done. This is something I have to plan in advance and wake up earlier than usual to accomplish. Mornings can be hectic, especially for those with large families. However, I’ve noticed that my productivity and mood is significantly better when I allot time to myself in the morning. It’s relaxing, helps me progress in what I’m reading, and it gets me off of my phone. So, whether it’s ten minutes or thirty minutes, you’ll be amazed at the wonders reading in the morning can do.
2. Audiobooks audiobooks audiobooks
Audiobooks are honestly a lifesaver when it comes to reading more. And yes, audiobooks do count as reading. You’re still consuming a story. Listening to an audiobook is perfect for when you have a list of chores to tackle, a long commute, or you’re taking a walk. There are many platforms for consuming audiobooks, but my personal favorite is the Libby app. This app connects with a library card and allows you to access a number of audiobooks for free. Many audiobooks these days have a full cast of voice actors to always keep listeners engaged.
3. Keep a Book on Your Phone
Speaking of the Libby app, I’ve always found luck downloading ebooks from the app, so I can access a book anytime and anywhere. If I’m out waiting for a carryout order, in a doctor’s office waiting room, or just taking a minute to myself, I can read a book on my phone. It’s a great way to transition the time spent on social media to time spent reading. I tend to read things much quicker on my phone and often fly through ebooks.
4. Read 30 Minutes before Bed
In similarity to reading in the morning, reading 30 minutes before bed is the perfect way to wind down after a long day. If mornings are too hectic to cram in reading time, I recommend this as an alternative. Reading typically requires a bit more brainpower than just watching tv or scrolling through social media, so it can help you become more tired, making for a better slumber. This is also a sure-fire way to create a consistent reading schedule for when life becomes too busy.
5. Read Multiple Books at Once
I’ll be honest, reading multiple books at once can sometimes be a struggle, but I do recommend it if you want to switch up your reading to fit your mood. This works best if all of the books you’re reading are completely different genres and stories. For instance, reading two high fantasy novels might prove to be a challenge. I’ve been able to accomplish this well by having a specific book before bed, an audiobook, an ebook, or even a book I’m rereading. There are a lot of ways to mix this up, but this can help if you’re a mood reader.
6. Don’t be Afraid to “DNF”
On the flip side, if you’re truly not feeling a book, it’s okay to file it in the “DNF” (Do Not Finish) category. Life is too short to read books that you’ve lost interest in. Not every book is a match for everyone and that’s okay. There is often a stigma with not finishing books, but if you’re not feeling it, forcing it will lead to a lack of motivation to read. You can always pick the book back up once you’re in the mood.
7. Read What Interests YOU, not What Everyone Else is Reading
With social media sites like Goodreads, online book clubs, and YouTube videos, it can be easy to feel like you have to constantly keep up with what’s popular and what everyone is talking about. I am definitely the type who wants to read all of the hyped-up books, so I can be a part of the conversation. However, these books aren’t always ones that I’m remotely interested in, and oftentimes, they can put me in a reading slump. It seems like common sense to say, “Read what you want,” but sometimes, it really can feel like you have to read what everyone else deems as a good book or a classic.
8. Make TBR Lists or Monthly Goals
If you’re someone who thrives off lists and goal making, then it can be highly beneficial to make monthly TBR lists of books you want to tackle or make a monthly goal to read a certain number of books. Writing it down can be highly motivational, as it puts you in a competition with yourself to achieve this feat. The best competition is with yourself, right?
9. Read outside of Your Comfort Zone
Some of the diamonds in the rough or my favorite books have been born from reading outside of my comfort zone. I used to read exclusively YA, but once I made the transition to reading adult fiction, I was exposed to a world of incredible stories. The same can be said for only reading adult fiction or solely nonfiction. Read what you enjoy obviously, but never be afraid to read a genre that might scare you. My favorite books tend to be those that surprised me, and this goes for every genre and demographic. Surprises are always exciting when they’re book related.
10. Read Something Quick
In a reading slump or have too much going on? I wouldn’t recommend picking up War and Peace or Gone with the Wind. Instead, I would pick something light, easy, and quick to get you back into the reading groove. Shorter reads don’t equate to a lesser book either. Some of my all-time favorite books have been those that I could read in one sitting. For this, I suggest plot-based stories such as mysteries or thrillers, memoirs, poetry/short story collections, or graphic novels.
If you have any tips for how you fit reading into your schedule, be sure to let us know in the comments. Happy reading!