Have you ever looked at your ever-growing TBR pile and thought about how much you would love to read, but just don’t have the time or energy at the end of a long work/school day to finish some anticipated reads? According to the Pew Research Center, the average adult American reads 12 books a year but half reads less than 4 books or less. Being involved in the bookish community, I’ve met people who literally live and breathe books. Regardless of whether you are trying to get out of a reading slump, find time to read, or just trying to set new reading goals, here is a list of personal tips and tricks that have helped me read more despite my busy schedule.
1. Set a consistent reading schedule
I think this is probably the most helpful tip that has increased the number of books I consume every year. Back when I was finishing up my Ph.D., I would always dedicate at least 30 – 40 minutes in the morning reading while drinking some green tea. It was something that I always looked forward to and quickly became the favorite part of my morning routine. With my current job, I have to commute 2+ hours every day, so I allocate a majority of that time for reading or listening to books. Even though there are obviously some mornings when I’m busy and other times when I just don’t want to read on the train, but setting time aside for reading really helped me be aware of my free time and how I could dedicate time blocks towards finishing some books.
2. Always carry a book with you
This tip is especially helpful in my current circumstance where my daily commute is fairly long. Next time you go out, try to take your current read or Kindle with you! Maybe you’ll find yourself reaching to read a book when you’re waiting for a friend instead of doom scrolling through Instagram. I personally take my Kindle with me everywhere in case there are long stretches of downtime. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can also download the Amazon Kindle app on your phone and still have access to your digital library.
3. Take advantage of your local library (and Kindle)
This tip is one of my favorite tips and works really well if you have a Kindle. Whether it is ebooks or physical books, I love to check out two or three books at a time from the library. With an impending deadline for return, it feels like I am meeting mini reading deadlines to finish books on time. I know there are plenty of people that set annual Goodreads reading challenges, but meeting yearly goals is just so much more difficult than weekly deadlines. And the best part? It’s free! If you would like to learn about other ways to read on a budget, check out my post here.
4. Listen to audiobooks
In the early days of audiobooks, I remember checking out CDs and cassette tapes from the library. They were frequently scratched or damaged enough that I would miss part of the story in some of my favorite books. Now audiobooks are super advanced. There are tons of streaming services (my personal favorite is Scribd) and they allow for playback at your preferred narration speed. If you love podcasts and have mindless tasks that you need to complete, I highly recommend you to check out audiobooks. I personally love cooking or doing laundry while listening to a light contemporary romance! In some cases, the audiobook experience is better than actually reading the physical book.
5. Read books that you enjoy
I think this is an important tip that both beginner and habitual readers need to internalize. If I don’t enjoy a book, I tend to gravitate towards other tasks like playing video games or binging Netflix just to avoid reading. At that point, why not just set the book down and start something that excites you? Find recommendations in genres that you enjoy because, at the end of the day, this is your reading experience!
Drop a comment to let me know which of these tips are your favorite and which ones you most frequently use. Also, let me know if you have other reading habits that help you achieve your reading goals!
Until next time,