How You Can Find More Time to Read More Books

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.

The result?

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?

If you want some help with your reading goals this year, be sure to join The Everygirl’s 2016 Reading Challenge. #TheEverygirlReads


When do you find time to read during the day? Start a discussion in the comments!


Feature Image by Edyta Szyszlo for The Everygirl

  • Hillary Shesterkin

    Great article! Thanks for the tips! I’ve started to read a couple pages within the first hour of me waking up. I find myself too sleepy to read right before bed, and in the morning, reading is a nice way for me to ease into the day.

  • I’m going to use TheEverygirl as my accountability partner. I spend way too much time on Social Media. Plus, I’ve been reading the same book since December. My goal is one book a month. Or should I increase that to two? Decisions! Decisions!

    • I tried to up my reading last year! I started with one more book a month and now I’m at 2 or three depending on the month! I’d say start small and work up.

  • angelato3

    These are great tips! Since I’m a librarian and surrounded by books all day (it’s super hard NOT to read while at work!), when I get home I tend to choose reading over watching TV. The other tip I would share is listening to audiobooks on your commute or while working at your desk (instead of music). Your library has eAudiobooks or you can download Audible (through Amazon). Thanks for sharing!

  • Alix

    Great tips! Early on in the winter, I binged watched a couple of Netflix shows with several (6+) seasons. Shows with many seasons on Netflix that just continually play are so addicting and easy to get hooked on. I found myself rushing through dinner to lay in bed and watch the next episode. After about the 3rd show I did this with, I wondered what I was doing with my life. Watching TV shows just isn’t really productive or helpful. So, I decided to stop doing that and focus on reading or working on my blog. I, too, feel so much better all around after making that switch. I still watch Netflix on days I don’t feel well, but I purposefully try to make it something short that I won’t get hooked on. Great tips!

  • After dinner is usually my weakest time. I just want to sit and scroll through the old iPhone. After reading this, I realized that I can make those quiet hours my reading time. Thank you 🙂

  • LauraC

    I’ve had an annual goal to read 52 books a year (for the past five or so years). I recommend keeping a list of the books you’ve read – you’ll forget over the year and just seeing the titles will bring back memories of when and where you were reading it (holidays, cafes, etc). I like to set the alarm early and read with a coffee. The rest of the world is asleep, it’s nice and quiet, and you can enjoy yourself without interruption. I also recommend keeping a list of books you want to read and then ordering those direct from the library. Don’t be caught without a book!

  • I started taking my book to the gym and adding in a cool down of like 10 minutes on the bike. It’s a win-win because I get more exercise and reading time!

  • Hi,

    I use my lunch break to catch up on reading, makes it more special and I also read before bed time.

    Very nice article!

  • I need to follow that tip on leaving my phone/alarm across the room so that I have to get up to turn it off… also I might need to join that 2016 Reading Challenge even though I’m a bit late on it, lol!