In today’s fast-paced world, it’s often hard to find some quiet time to spend doing things that don’t require internet access and being plugged in to the rest of the world.
That’s a shame, because reading books is an activity that is so very worth the effort. Taking a few moments away from the real world to teleport yourself into the universes created by talented authors is well worth the effort.
So, how do you find that time to read in a busy schedule that is already likely to be overflowing with responsibilities? Here are just a few ideas on how to make room for books in your life.
• Turn off the television. So many of us have a TV set in the bedroom that we watch out of habit. How many times have you sat there with the remote control in hand, absent-mindedly scrolling through the listings in a search for “something” to watch and finding absolutely nothing? Yet, most of us will end up settling on the most-tolerable of the available options, even if we really aren’t interested in it. This is a time when you should be reading! Setting aside an hour before bed to read a book that you actually are excited about is a far better use of your time than watching the umpteenth re-airing of some reality show featuring people you can’t stand watching.
• Use your morning commute wisely. If you are in a big city and can utilize public transportation, you can easily pass the time on that bus or train with a book in hand, rather than staring mindlessly out the window waiting for your destination to arrive. If you’re driving to work, obviously you can’t “read” and pay attention to the road at the same time, but you can take advantage of books on tape. Maybe it’s not technically “reading” but it certainly can help to pass the time, especially when that traffic backup leaves you sitting there motionless for extended periods of time.
• Have a book for dessert. Instead of a lunch hour full of walking to a fast food joint, waiting in a long line, and rushing to scarf all that food down in time to get back to the office, why not use that time to relax? Brown bag your lunch to avoid having to hunt down a meal, and while everyone else is out, crack open a novel and forget about the stressful demands of the workplace for a few minutes. Not only will you enjoy the time more, but you’ll probably find your batteries recharged for the second half of the day as a result of escaping for a short time.
• Take advantage of time that finds you. So your schedule is jam packed with responsibilities. There’s no room at all for reading. Yet, each of us is going to arrive early to a meeting, find doctors to not be ready for us to enter the examination room, or be forced to spend endless minutes waiting for late-arriving friends to finally locate that hard-to-find restaurant. These agonizing waits can be made to fly by far more quickly if you simply bring a book with you, just in case. In fact, you may just discover that after a while you’re ending up arriving earlier to appointments on purpose, just to squeeze in that next chapter or two.
• Borrow a book from a friend. Let’s face it. Most of the reading we did as a child we did because it was assigned to us and we had a hard deadline that made it essential for us to find the time to read. Certainly, we don’t want to equate reading with “work” or to imply that reading isn’t a pleasurable activity.
It is! But when you borrow a friend’s book, particularly one that they can’t wait to discuss with you, there’s going to be an increased urgency to get that reading done sooner rather than later. If the act of reading is not yet habitual for you, this is a good strategy to work books into your routine.
• Read your partner a bedtime story. As kids, we all loved a good bedtime story. In fact, most parents are lucky to be able to escape from their child’s bedroom without being harassed to read even more of the book they’ve picked up. Yet when we become adults, the act of being read to seems weird. Sure, if we’re talking Dr. Seuss, but there are many erotic passages that might well get you into the habit of opening up a book and sharing the stories within before getting under covers.
• Schedule a date with a book. There’s got to be an hour of time that you can block off, either on the weekends or after work, in which you can simply turn off the ringer of the phone and engross yourself in a book. Even if you have a gaggle of noisy kids underfoot, if you plan a regularly scheduled block of time for reading and stick with it, you can easily incorporate books into the routine.
• Go to your local library. Most people don’t read because they don’t know what book to even consider reading. Making a regular trip to the library to see what catches your eye not only solves that problem, but also gives you a scheduled trip to a quiet location where you can crack open a book and actually get some reading done. Plus, with a time limit on how long you can keep the book, there’s extra motivation to find more time to finish those page-turners before fines start to kick in.
Let’s face it. There are only so many hours in the day and if you’re not going to make reading books a priority, you’re never going to find the time required to devote to finishing off that new novel everybody is talking about. But if you want to make the time, it is there for the taking. So quit making excuses!
Open a book.