Make Time to Read

There was a time not so very long ago (actually, it’s pretty recent history), when I believed that reading was a luxury enjoyed by those who had more time on their hands than I did. My sisters and friends would talk about this book or that book and I’d think, “Man, I wish I had time to read!” Not that I never read – that would have been sad indeed – but I didn’t read very much. I either read in stolen moments here and there (like in the only room in the house where a person has a little privacy if you know what I mean), or I’d binge-read late into the night and regret it the next day.

Then one day, I happened to read a really really really really REALLY good book (more on that book in another week or two), and suddenly my love of reading came rushing back to me and I remembered what I was missing. From that point on, me and my Kindle (and Thrift Books and library sales and my own neglected bookshelf) have been inseparable and I’ve been reading several books a week (have to make up for lost time, you know).

So if you’re in the place where I was not so very long ago, I have good news for you: yes, my friend, you DO have time to read. You just have to make the time!

If it helps you, this is how I made time for reading in my life.

1. I realized its importance.

Reading became a priority when, about a week or two after I started reading regularly again, I was amazed to find that my spirit was more settled than it had been in a long time, my relationship with my husband was better than ever, and I was enjoying myself immensely. It had been a really long time since I had felt so relaxed and at peace, and I’m pretty sure that reading played a large part in that. When talking about it with my husband, he agreed that he could see a difference in me when I spent more time reading, and he encouraged me to continue.

From that point, I consciously made an effort to read more, and I gave myself permission to do so. It’s not a chore for me – I love reading! – so it’s not like I have to force myself, but I do have to overcome that mommy guilt if I ever feel like I’m neglecting other tasks for the sake of reading. Acknowledging the importance of reading in my own spiritual and emotional well-being went a long way in assuaging that persistent mommy guilt. 

2. I deleted Facebook from my phone.

Back when I kept telling myself I didn’t have time to read, I had Facebook (and Candy Crush) on my phone. Guess what I was doing every time there was a lull in conversation or I was waiting in line somewhere? Yep! Facebooking or crushing candy. After a while, Candy Crush became boring so it wasn’t as much of a temptation… but there’s ALWAYS something new on Facebook and I could get lost on there for hours!

One day, for reasons that had nothing to do with the current topic of conversation, I decided to delete Facebook from my phone and save it for whenever I was actually on the computer. In terms of time management, it’s the best thing I’ve done in a really long time. I should have done it ages ago! Suddenly, all the time I used to spend on Facebook (it must have been hours) was now freed up for other, more worthier pursuits… like reading. 

3. I keep my current book with me wherever I go.

As a child, this is how I managed to read copious amounts of books in short amounts of time: I always ALWAYS had a book in my hand. Nowadays with smart phones, tablets, and Kindles, it’s super easy to always have a book at your fingertips. I even have a medium-sized purse that fits almost all paperbacks, so I take real books with me everywhere I go, too. That way, if I’m waiting around somewhere for somebody or something (which happens surprisingly a lot), I whip out my book (or smart phone or tablet) and start reading away.

4. I read whenever I can.

I’m learning my limits on this: for example, when The Boyz are crazy in the backseat of the van, I can’t read. (I hope it goes without saying that in this scenario I’m the passenger, not the driver!) I have to engage with them or they will start doing things that make my eyeballs pop out of my head and wonder if they’re really human and if it’s possible they actually came from my body. Either that or I will start screaming. So I’ve learned that while riding in the van is a great time to read, it’s not perfect, and it’s definitely not a good idea of The Boyz are in a mood. 

I also have a strict rule for myself about not reading when eating out or at the dinner table. Mostly because I want to teach my boys not to always have their nose buried in an electronic device when spending time together, and it’s my job to set the example for that.

Otherwise, I squeeze my reading into available moments like these:

  • in the bathroom (the perennial favorite of busy moms everywhere)
  • in the bathroom (not only when I’m taking care of business but when I’m doing my hair or getting dressed or slathering myself with oils, I have a book propped up so I can read it while I’m busy)
  • riding in a car or other transportation (except for when The Boyz are crazy or we’re having good conversation)
  • waiting in a hair salon, doctor’s office, at school, etc.
  • in the evening before I go to bed
  • when I’m cooking (I prop the book up and read it whenever I’m standing still long enough. This is also a good opportunity to take advantage of audio books.)
  • watching TV (I try to stick to watching it during commercials because it drives my husband crazy when I try to read AND watch a TV show at the same time. I kind of see his logic. But sometimes a book is just that good, you know?)
  • at nap time (I’m a preschool teacher. Yay! for nap time!)

5. Sometimes I listen to audiobooks.

I’ve discovered that audiobooks really aren’t my thing, but sometimes it’s the only way to get reading in. The problem is that if  it’s a book no one else in my family is interested in (which is probably 99.9% of what I read) then I have to wear earphones which makes me very inaccessible to the needy people in the house (which is all of them). Plus when my mind is not actively engaged in the reading process, my mind tends to wander and daydream and collect dust bunnies and I end up missing half the story. Consequently, I’ve discovered that the only time audiobooks really work for me is when I’m in the kitchen cooking or washing dishes.

You, however, might find that audiobooks are the perfect solution for you!

Want to see what I’m reading? I’d love to see what YOU’RE reading! Join me at Goodreads, where I keep track of books I enjoy (and even books I don’t)! I’d love a sneak peek onto your bookshelf, too.

Join Our Summer Book Club!

Some blogging friends and I are going to spend the next six weeks talking all about reading… and sharing our favorite books with you! Follow our blogs to join in the discussion and find some new favorite books to love. We’ll also be chatting about our blog posts – and the books we love – in our Facebook community for women, Christian  Homemaking Community.