Raise your hand if you’ve heard (or said) this phrase: “I just don’t have time to read right now.”
It’s a phrase I’ve heard before. In fact, I’ve said the words myself dozens of times as I made up excuses about why I wasn’t as well read as I hoped to be. I wanted to read more, but by the time I even thought to pull out my book, it was late and I was exhausted from a long day.
Maybe this sounds familiar to you. Since we’ve committed to reading more books in 2016, I wanted to share a few easy ways I learned to make time for reading real books in my day-to-day life:
I turned off my social media notifications.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Smart phones are the death of reading real books. Though the time we spend checking Twitter and Instagram might seem miniscule at the time, the reality is that we sacrifice hours of our day when we stare down at those tiny screens. Checking social media less has helped my brain begin to crave more mindful, productive entertainment again.
I made use of my daily commute.
Daily train and bus rides that were once a drag are now precious “me” time. This is where I get the bulk of my reading done. The only problem? Missing the correct stop because I’m too caught up in the book to pay attention (its happened more than once). If you drive to work, definitely consider making use of a good audiobook.
I made reading a break time ritual.
I have to head to work at an unholy hour (about 5:00 a.m.) so every day around 8:30 a.m. I take a 20-minute break. I used to just go hang out on my phone in the break room for a few minutes, but now I head to the cafe upstairs, grab a juice or a coffee, and crack open my book undisturbed for a few minutes. It’s so relaxing and refreshing that its honestly become a daily highlight for me.
I read before bed.
Falling asleep to Netflix or while answering a work email used to be a common occurrence for me but no longer. I make a point to set my phone on my dresser before heading to bed (also forcing me to stand up to turn off my alarm!) and read a few pages until I’m too tired. As a bonus, I’ve been sleeping significantly better since I’ve made this a routine.
I only made reading an active part of my life again about six months ago, but I can tell you with absolute certainty that I’m happier for it. I’m a better writer, a more eloquent speaker, and both my body and mind feel healthier. By reclaiming reading as something relaxing and fun (instead of just another chore) and by making it a priority, my feeling of work life balance has skyrocketed while my stress levels have nosedived.
While I can only speak to my personal experience, I’m confident these tricks will help you make reading a bigger part of your life. And really, who doesn’t want to be more well read?