In these times of political turmoil and easy distractions, when many of us constantly find ourselves in heated conversations about presidents* or the recent episode of Game of Thrones, that on top of school or work or both, squeezing in more time to read is increasingly hard. (Whew. That is the longest run-on sentence ever.) But hard doesn’t necessarily have to mean impossible. So for today, I am sharing 3 practical ways to rummage for pockets of time hidden in the corners of the day and get reading. I am also acknowledging that there are endless articles like this that have existed in the interwebs since time immemorial, and I may not have something you haven’t heard in some manner or form before. But hey, what if I have?
Let’s get something out of the way first, shall we? Someone here might be like, oh, I love reading but I have no time, in which case, sorry, George, this list is not for you. This is for people who do want to actively incorporate more reading time in their lives. And please, call off the villagers with their torches. You are a reader if you read, irrespective of quantity and frequency. That is not the point.
Okay. Grab a doughnut or two and let’s talk strategies.
Read on Your Commute
Whether you’re taking the train or bus to work, reading on your commute is probably the easiest—and most recommended—way to get extra reading time in the day. This means you have to carry at least one book wherever you go; you’ll find it’s the one basic rule for all the items in this list. Now, hardbounds are delightful for bookstagram and all, but for the sake of convenience, please bring your good ol’ paperbacks. Or audiobooks** or e-books. Also, maybe read poetry or a collection of short essays since you can neatly break these down into segments and not deal with having to stop in the middle of a climax. It’s about time you pick up Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey, which your co-worker had been recommending since Christmas.
Allow Yourself the Wonders of Sprint Reading
I used to be one of those people who cannot—or would not—read for short amounts of time. The idea just seemed ridiculous to me. How can I get into the story? How am I supposed to connect with the MC and his current situation with a scanty 15 minutes? Or, conversely, how do I get back to reality after such a harrowing scene? So I didn’t read at all. Until I realized I was wasting time, precious time I could’ve taken advantage of to make progress with my current read. These days, I’d read while waiting for my students at work or if I happened to arrive early for a coffee date with a friend. I get to read AND overlook someone’s tardiness and there’s really no bad outcome to that. Maybe read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s smart and infinitely eloquent We Should All be Feminists on your next 30-minute break?
Have a Dedicated Reading Time
And protect it. So, back in 2013, I would wake up an hour before I needed to and read. And I know others who read a chapter or two before resigning to bed. It doesn’t have to be a huge parcel of time but you have to treat it with respect. If you decide to set aside 45 minutes between the time you get off school and dinner, it has to actually be for reading. Disconnect from the internet if you have to. Hide your phone in the drawer. Just, read.
At the end of the day, I guess it all comes down to knowing your priorities. If you want to read more, maybe do not rewatch Stranger Things tonight, which you’ve seen thirteen times already anyway. Or be on Twitter less. Whatever works for you. But you have to do it on purpose. You’ll be amazed at how much reading you can get done even if it isn’t Sunday.
*Hint: it’s not just Trump Everything, but it’s mostly Trump Everything.
**Actually, audiobooks are the only option for people who are walking or driving to work. Unless you hire someone to read for you, which, uh, I feel obliged to remind you that that is just a fancy version of an audiobook. Also, how is this poor human to walk? K bye.
Hey yoh, bookworms! Do you practice any of these? Would you like to add something on the list? Let’s talk!