Despite my last entry about reading into the wee hours of the morning, this is not when I do most of my reading. It’s never easy to get in reading time, but if you are determined to get in, it will happen. Here’s a few ideas.
1. Believe in reading. Are you only seeing reading as a form of entertainment? If so, it may be hard to justify the time commitment that reading requires. Ben Franklin had a very busy life running a printing press and raising a family, but he always dedicated at least an hour a day to read. Was there a pay off for him? He founded the first library in America, invented the Franklin stove and bifocals, played with electricity, flirted with the French ladies (as ambassador), and persuaded the delegates at the Constitutional Convention to keep working together even as they were ready to call it quits. His eloquent speech at the convention is a classic. Could he have pulled this all off if he hadn’t read so much? Probably not.
2. Prioritize reading. For a long time, I felt that reading was a luxury and was not something I could indulge in unless I had all my work done. If you feel this way about reading, than you will never get to it, because you never get all your work done. Reading has to take a higher priority in your life. Schedule reading breaks during the day even if they are only fifteen minutes.
3. Use reading as a motivator. If you truly love reading, it can actually motivate you to get your work done. When I’m feeling overwhelmed with a messy house, I might say, “OK, for every room I clean, I get to read one chapter of my book.”
4. Read in small doses. While we might wish we had all day to read, we usually don’t, so just find snatches of time to read. Many of my friends say that they don’t start books because once they start a book, they can’t put it down. That may be true for some books, but not all books are page turners. Consider reading some books on finance, parenting, relationships, history, or health. (This is an untested idea as I never actually read these books.) Biographies are fascinating, but I can usually put the book down when I have to. If you really want to read a book, but know you’ll have a hard time putting it down, look up the book on-line and read the plot before you start the book. If you know the plot, you won’t be so compelled to find out what’s going to happen next. Otherwise, save page turners for vacations (and sometimes late night reading).
5. Make reading goals. When you make a reading goal, you are telling yourself that you take reading seriously. Make a goal for how many books you want to read a month. Write down a list of the books you want to read. When you have finished a book, write your accomplishment down in your journal or planner. This also helps you get through worthwhile books that you might otherwise put off reading. Before you know it, you might actually be reading that book on investing that you bought four years ago.
6. Create a comfortable reading space. Ironically, our most comfortable furniture in the home is usually placed in front of our television. If you have a quiet space in a bedroom or study with a comfortable chair or love-seat, you will find that you will be reading more.
7. Stay away from the television. Most of us do not have time to indulge in television and reading. I am amazed at how extreme my patterns are. When I’m watching more television, the reading completely drops off. When I start to read, I quickly lose interest in watching television. You might miss the t.v. for a few days, but you’ll surprised how much more you enjoy reading.
8. Make a financial investment in reading. Again, many of us feel like buying a book is a luxury. If you cancel your cable, you’ll have plenty of money every month to buy the books you need. If you or your spouse just can’t give up ESPN, consider putting books as a line item in your budget. The Amazon Kindle is one of the best reading investments we’ve ever made. They’ve gone down dramatically in price, and you can download the classics for free. The last three books I’ve read on my Kindle were free.
These suggestions are made only for people that LOVE to read. If you don’t like to read, don’t add another chore to your already busy schedule. There are plenty of different ways to learn and reading is only one way.
How do you find time to read?