In my last post I explained Why Creating a Reading Habit was so Important to Me. In this next post I thought it would be good to compile of list of ways in which we can find more time for reading.
Even just ten minutes here or there can add up to a substantial amount of reading time. By the end of the week you could have read for over an hour without really noticing it. Imagine what that means over the course of a year. Hopefully some of the ideas below might help you to find the time in your day for reading. I know that they have certainly helped me out in the past.
- Read on Public Transport – It used to take me a good 45 minutes on the bus on the way to work. This journey was even longer on the way home. This was time I would otherwise have spent sat there doing nothing. I decided to use it as a opportunity to get some reading in. I was one of the first people on the bus in the morning which meant that I was guaranteed a seat. It was rare that I would have to stand on the way home. This gave me up to 100 minutes of reading time a day that I wasn’t using previously.
- Go to work a bit earlier – bear with me on this one. For those you of who are driving or cycling to work obviously do not try reading during your commute! When I was a medical student I used to have to drive across Central Birmingham during rush hour. I would arrive at Wolverhampton hospital to fine no parking spaces available. This left me completely flustered by the time I rolled onto the ward. Quite quickly I got into the habit of leaving the house 45 minutes earlier. This meant I enjoyed a relatively quiet trip across the city before finding myself a parking space near-ish the hospital. I then made my way to the staff room and chilled out on the sofa, reading my book and drinking coffee. I would feel nice and zen by the time morning rounds started. The productive feeling that reading before work can provide really does set you up well for the rest of the day.
- Read before bed – I wrote about the importance of creating a bedtime routine previously (See: The Importance of Developing a Bedtime Routine). For me, reading a book is a really important part of this routine. I use it as a mindful activity. It is not long before my eyes are feeling heavy and I am ready to go to sleep. I usually read for 15-30 minutes before bed, so that’s a good two to three hours of extra reading every week!
- Enjoy a lie in – Nothing planned for your weekend? Why not just stay in bed with a good book? It still gives me the productive feeling of having read, but with the added benefit of staying in bed.
- Create your own book group – I started this recently with a group of friends. We agree a genre for the month and then everyone reads a book of their own choosing within that category. Of the 8 people invited to our group, on average 4 will manage to turn up to a session. We all take it in turns to tell each other about the book we read. Reading books that we have chosen ourselves gives us the flexibility to read something we know we will enjoy. Also, we know that we’ll have time to finish reading the book because we have chosen the length ourselves.
- Replace television with books – Over the weeks I found that as I became more engrossed in my book, I seemed to put off watching my regular television shows. It wasn’t long before I realised that I didn’t even miss watching television.
- Retreat from social media – I am a bit slow on the uptake with this one. I know I am particularly bad with Facebook. I do have a Twitter (@happybunnyfran) and Instagram account but I find them less addictive and therefore less time consuming. A friend on mine has recently gone on maternity leave. She commented that she could easily spend the whole day scrolling through Facebook (in between baby time of course). She then decided to delete the Facebook app from her iPhone. The result was that she was now reading more as she needed something productive to do with her day. I have now followed suit so we shall have to see how it goes!
- If all else fails then cheat! – Audiobooks are great! Many people find that they are unable to read on the bus because of noise or travel sickness. I find that audiobooks are a nice substitute to pass the time. I particularly enjoy listening to autobiographies read by the author, especially comedians. So far I have listened to Michael McIntyre, Tina Fey, Miranda Hart and best of all, Stephen Fry (he actually has several volumes so I have a couple more to enjoy in the future).
So, there we have it. You now have no excuse not to jump on the reading wagon. Any thoughts, ideas, comments I would love to hear from you. My current read is called 10% Happier and I shall write a review of it when I am all finished.