The other day, a friend of mine met up with an old high school teacher. Over lunch, they discussed his wondrous ability to read all the time. “He has read so many books!” she said. “I just can’t figure out how he configures his time so that he can teach- make lessons, grade tests and homework, deal with students- and also read all the time.” It made me think, what are the best ways to fit reading into our busy schedules?
One of the biggest issues is that, for the most part, and for most of us, we actually have a lot more down time than we realize. How many of us spend a little too long on the computer, watching an entire TV series in one weekend? Or maybe you listen to music on your commute to work rather than reading or listening to a book. For those of you who don’t do these things, good job! But many of us squander time without even realizing how, or why, and leave little to do what we actually want. Perhaps we need to reach for a book- not the smartphone!
Are you as busy as you think? Image courtesy of http://bit.ly/1KifN18.
According to a 2014 study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and a CBS News article entitled ‘You have more free time than you think’, Americans have a surpsing amount of leisure time! Leisure time includes “TV watching, socializing, reading, excersing or playing sports, playing computer games and other similar activites.” Their research shows that full-time workers have an average of 3.34 leisure hours on the weekdays and 5.87 leisure hours on the weekend (per day). Those with children and those without a job report more leisure time, at 5.93 and 6.97 hours per day, respectively.
(Note: This is a National average based on statistics that have variability, but it might make you re-think your time).
As a person who isn’t great at managing time, I am more than open to suggestions on how to read as much as possible (because the list of books I want to read is increasing exponentially). For the meantime, here is an incomplete list of ideas:
1. Join or initiate a book club
Image courtesy of http://bit.ly/1W10BQM.
Book clubs are great. If you can’t find people in your area to form a book club, set up a Facebook or email group with your book-loving friends! Having a deadline forces you (in a positive way) to use your time wisely. You also don’t want to be the book-clubber to admit that you didn’t do the reading. Plus, reading is a great shared experience! Just make sure you are on top of assigning books in a timely fashion.
I am personally not one to read more than one book at a time, but whenever I join a book club, I end up reading at least two books (in order to not read ahead, I’ll pick up another book). Other book club members did the same, thus increasing our book intake.
2. Read the book before the movie
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Sometimes a movie adaptation of a book comes out and I never even realized that it was a book. For example, I watched No Country for Old Men at least two years before I realized it was based off Cormac McCarthy’s book of the same name (I vow it will never happen again). While the general consensus is that movies are worse than their book counterparts, not all of us read the book. And chances are that if Hollywood deems it fit for the big screen and worthy of millions of dollars of investment, then it is probably a book worth your time (which is not to say books that don’t become movies aren’t worthy of your time).
Plus, isn’t it always fun to say, “I read the book before the movie even came out?” You don’t have to admit it… but we know the truth.
3. Dedicate reading time with someone else
You can read with anyone, pets included! Image courtesy of http://bit.ly/27wRVWi.
Like joining a book club, doing things with other people gives you a reason, outside of yourself, to do things. We see it with friends and couples who work out together- they motivate each other to get to the gym or go to yoga at 6 a.m… before work.
Set aside reading time with a friend or loved one. Besides being a nice reason to hang out and/or cuddle (or not), it feels like you’re letting them down if you bail, and you end up letting yourself down in the process. Although guilt should definitely not be your motivation for reading, it could help. And you won’t be disappointed with the end result (more reading!)
4. The obvious: Make it a priority!
When is it appropriate to do anything but read on a train?? Image courtesy of http://bit.ly/1TGyUqu.
Even though this is an obvious solution to the problem of not reading enough, it can be so difficult! Especially for those of us who have become accustomed to unwinding by streaming our favorite shows. There’s also a chance you are so busy with thinking about work, school, etc… that you feel more swamped than you actually are. Take some time to put your feet up, pick up a book, breath and read.
5. Listen to an audiobook!
Image courtesy of http://anothergenericbookblog.tumblr.com/.
Open your mind to the world of audio books! If you commute to work, or if you are often in situations where your mind is unoccupied but you physically can’t read (like painting or taking a long walk), downloading an audio book is an excellent idea. I know someone who listened to all of Dostoyevky’s Brothers Karamazov and Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina while working on a month-long project. Think of all the hours you’ve wasted not listening to a book.
Please feel free to give us your tips on how to read more throughout the day, we always need more!
Feature Image courtesy of http://bit.ly/1OyhCtT.