Over the weekend someone asked me, “How do you find time to read when you have two small kids?” My answer was simple: I make reading a priority. I’m a true believer that people make or find time to do things that matter or are important to them. Therefore, I make daily reading one of my priorities.
I love reading. I love pushing myself to read, and I love making it a priority. I find it motivating to set big reading goals. But my highest priority ISN’T the total number of books I finish, but rather about being transformed by what I read. It’s about growing as a person. It’s about developing as a believer and of course being entertained in the process.
I know you’re thinking that sounds great, but how can I manage to read with everything else I need to do? Well, if you want to get into the habit of reading more here are a few tips:
1. MAKE IT A PRIORITY.
One of my weird pet peeves is when people complain about not ‘having’ enough time to do things. Their excuse always starts off with, “I don’t have time to do this or I don’t have time to do that.” Everyone has the same number of hours in a day, and if you truly WANT to read more you may have to CHOOSE reading over other things you also enjoy. For example: watching television, surfing the Internet, etc.
2. MAKE READING PART OF YOUR DAILY ROUTINE.
I tend to read first thing in the morning when I wake up, during lunch time and right before bed. By making reading a habit you’ll be surprised how many books you can get through without consciously working at it.
I find if reading isn’t part of my regular routine, it’s easy to let days and weeks or even months go by without reading something. Once something is part of my daily routine I don’t have to think about whether or not I’ve done it today; of course I have, right when I always do.
3. READ IN SNIPPETS
What does this mean? It means while the water is heating for a cup of tea, I can read a page. It means when the kids are playing quietly for a few minutes, I can read another page. Anytime I have a moment, I can read a paragraph or maybe more. The key is to always have something to read with me. Yes, I usually have a book stashed away in my purse or in the car.
4. READ WHAT YOU LIKE.
This one should go without saying, but many people tend to gravitate toward books that come highly recommended by others. I’ve fallen into this trap before too. Just because it’s a best seller, recommended by your best friend, co-worker, or recommended by a favorite resource, doesn’t mean that the book will be right for you. That’s ok – read what you like.
5. “READ” AUDIO BOOKS
When I had a daily commute into the office I made great use of that driving time by listening to audio books. Now since I work from home I use audio books less often than I used to. However, I still do use them on occasion when driving around town in the car by myself or with the kids.
My library had a great selection, but if yours doesn’t, I’ve heard great things about the Audible program as a way to get audio books. My library offers books as CDs you can borrow, or as MP3 downloads you can get from home. Super simple, once you get it set up initially.
No commute? I’ve listened to audio books while cleaning the house, exercising, or working on jigsaw puzzles.
And keep in mind, narrators can make or break an audio book, so if you try one and don’t like it, don’t write off the entire realm of audio books. Try a different book (maybe even a different sort of book), and a different narrator to see if you enjoy it that way.
6. READ TO YOUR KIDS
Not only does this help develop a passion for reading in your children, it fosters a close relationship and lets you read more. Win, win, and win!
You may have to be selective in the choice of reading material when you’re reading it aloud to your children, but there are plenty of great books for all ages. I fully agree with C.S. Lewis’ thoughts that a book that isn’t worth reading when you’re an adult isn’t worth reading when you’re a child.
What are your thoughts? How do you find time to read? Is there anything you’re spending time doing that you could cut back to allow more reading time?