5 Tips on How to Read Between School and Life

We’ve compiled a list of some tips and advice to help you fit reading into hectic schedules involving school and homework. Come read our tips!

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As someone who’s a full-time college student with two majors, is on the college dance team, works for Bookstr, spends hours doing homework and art projects, practices martial arts and works out, and struggles with a sleeping disorder and mental health issues, I’m always pressed for time and feel like I never have enough. In a world that’s constantly moving, we may feel like we don’t have time to spend on things we love doing, like reading.

In a world with not enough time, I have some advice that can help you find more time for the enjoyable things in life, specifically reading. These tips have helped me survive through college. If you struggle finding the free time to read, or if you struggle with time management and find yourself never having enough time to relax and curl up with a good book or doing something else you love, this article is for you. Here are some tips that might help you spend more time with your favorite fictional characters.

1. Try Avoiding Procrastination/Prioritize Tasks

As someone who is the queen of procrastination, I should take my own advice. However, I have found that procrastination usually stresses me out, and while I tend to get these things done regardless, it helps to get the most important tasks done first before taking a break for extracurricular activities. For me, it makes it easier to get my homework done before I take the time to read or write for pleasure, as I no longer have to worry about getting things done, and I simply just have more time.

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Deadlines also personally tend to stress me out, and as a student, or just in general, you may feel the same. If I get things done before they are due, it helps relieve my stress of deadlines and allows for more time doing things I enjoy, such as video games and reading, or just self-care.

2. Try Setting Time Limits

This trick helps when doing homework, especially if you have a big project or something that requires working over multiple days. If you set time increments aside to dedicate to a specific thing, it can be helpful to eliminate stress over deadlines and time. You can try setting aside one hour a day to work on homework, or this works the opposite way as well; I tend to set myself an hour time limit for watching TV before I begin on my homework or give myself an hour of reading for fun before I begin an assignment.

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Similarly, I have also utilized the trick of setting a limit to schoolwork. For example, I tend to limit my homework and schoolwork to 10:00 pm at night. After that, I don’t allow myself to work on anything school related. That way, I have time to relax and unwind before bed, which usually means flipping the pages of my favorite novel. This tip may help you, or it may not, but this has helped me personally tremendously, and I use it at least once a day.

3. Read Every Chance You Get

This one might seem obvious, but try to read every chance you get. Personally, I read in between classes or while I’m eating my lunch. Sometimes, I also read while I’m making dinner and waiting for something to cook. Even if it may not seem like a conventional time to read, you can do it if you want to, regardless. No one can stop you from reading anywhere you want if you truly want to (except maybe your teachers and professors).

A wok with two spatulas inside and some onions, peppers, and other food items.

You could also potentially read while in a bath or a shower if you’re daring enough with the Kindle app and your phone. I have occasionally shoved my phone in a plastic bag to read without the risk of getting it wet (life hack if you will). If you want to read, do it! If you have free time, you can totally utilize it to do things you love, including reading. So what, if you may burn your dinner? Reading’s totally better, in my opinion, as long as you don’t burn your house down.

4. Proritize Self-Care and Your Mental Health

Self-care is becoming increasingly popular, and for good reason. Mental health is incredibly important, and sometimes you just need to take a break for yourself. Try not to let yourself get so stressed out that you feel like you can’t function. If you need a break, some self-care can be exactly what you need.

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Some self-care things I utilize are reading, taking long showers, and writing. Some people might take walks, listen to music, or go to the gym. Try not to let your mental health suffer at the sake of your schoolwork, or like me, you might not get anything done. Also, try not to let anyone make you feel bad for taking a day to yourself. It’s human to need some time to yourself, and sometimes, curling up with your favorite book can be the best thing you need to reduce your stress.

5. Don’t Let Other Books Burn You Out

This tip specifically goes for someone who spends a lot of time academically reading. As an English major, specifically a creative writing one, I’m always reading books for classes and easily get tired of reading. It’s hard to read for pleasure when you just read ten chapters of Moby Dick (no offense to Melville or anyone who loves the book) and don’t want to look at another word ever again. However, that could be all the more reason to sit down with a book you love. It’s easy to fall into the trap of reading only for academic pleasure, and you might find yourself secretly dreading reading, especially when all you read for weeks are textbooks (at least, for me, I totally fall into the trap).

A textbook open to a random page of writing with a pair of glasses sitting on top.

The last thing you probably want is to despise reading because you only associate it with school and work. For a long time in college, I could only read academically and couldn’t bring myself to pick up another book because it felt so tiring. Between reading and writing for my degree, I began to loathe sitting down with a book because I would get so easily distracted and couldn’t bring myself to pay attention. Try not to let yourself get put off by other books, especially textbooks. If you do, it might be the perfect time to sit down with your favorite novel and fall back in love with reading.

With these time management tips and advice, you might be able to find some extra time to fit that romance or fantasy novel into your schedule. However, some tips may apply to you more than others. This is not a one-size-fits-all article and comes from my personal experience to help advise other students and avid readers.

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