If you’re anything like me, you’re constantly adding books to your reading list; mine grows almost daily. I am, admittedly, a fast reader; I’ve been known to finish books in a matter of hours, let alone days. Even so, in the midst of working, taking classes, planning my wedding, and trying to stay in shape, I often find it hard to keep up.
Reading is meant to be an escape from our otherwise chaotic and busy lives, but the ever-growing list of books can turn into an overwhelming obstacle. And then, when I do finally sit down with a book, I find myself wasting away the afternoon reading with little attention paid to those things that should take priority. So it’s important to find balance.
Here are my suggestions for finding time for books in the midst of (not instead of) your other daily responsibilities:
- Set aside time each day to unplug and read. A great time to do this is right before bed. Experts suggest that the use of technology (be it cell phones, computers, tablets, or television) before bed can make it harder to fall asleep. Instead, turn off the technology and jump into bed with a book. Even if you’re only able to read for a few minutes, you’ll slowly make progress—and you’ll sleep better as a result.
- Join (or start) a book club. Regularly scheduled meetings, dinners or drinks to discuss the most recent book will not only help you choose which of the many books on your list to read but will also give you a deadline by which to have it read. Plus, you’ll have people holding you accountable to whether you finish. Try Meetup.com to find book clubs in your area!
- Purchase an e-reader. As much as I love reading from a printed page, e-readers do have their advantages. Much lighter and thinner than traditional books, they’re easy to carry around in a purse or bag. You can always have a book on hand for those moments when you find yourself waiting around with nothing to do. If you don’t want to splurge on an e-reader, download one of the many e-reading apps to your smart phone. You’ll have access to all of the same titles without the bulk or cost of an actual e-reader.
- Invest in audio books. Audio books are great for the same reasons as e-books, with one added advantage. They allow you to tackle your reading list in circumstances where reading wouldn’t be possible—on the treadmill, walking to the grocery store, or driving to the beach. A quick Google search will reveal numerous options for downloading audio books: Librivox.com provides free audio books in the public domain, while Audiobooks.com and Audible.com offer books at monthly subscription prices.