Whether it’s with a cold drink on the porch on a hot Summer day or under a big old blanket on the couch through the cold days of Winter, curling up with a good book is my favourite kind of cozy living.
Reading has long been one of my very favourite pastimes, but even for the most avid of readers, it can sometimes be hard to find the time to actually sit down with a book. So today, I thought I’d share some of my favourite ways to carve out more time to read.
6 WAYS I MAKE TIME TO READ
ONE: Schedule it into your day.
Of all the ways I carve out more time to read, this one has the biggest impact by far. I learned years ago that if I wanted to find the time to read, I had to plan for it.
Being a morning person, I’ve always loved getting up a little earlier than I have to, to give myself some quiet time before the day gets going. Starting my day with 30 mins of reading on the couch while I sip my morning coffee was an easy way to plan more reading time into my day. Not only does it mean I’m not fighting off sleep three pages in like I do at bedtime, but it’s a much better way to start the day than losing 30 minutes scrolling Instagram in bed.
Now, getting up at at 6:00 in the morning to read might not work for you – maybe heading to bed a half hour early to read might be a better fit or you might choose to pick up a book while you eat your lunch or maybe you’ve got a bit of time between getting home from work and starting on dinner. My biggest tip for finding more time to read is to plan it into your day at a time that will work best for your life, so that curling up with a book becomes an easy part of your day that you can look forward to.
TWO: Trade in some screen time.
It’s a bit sad when you stop to think about how much time we spend looking at a screen each day. Whether it’s 20 minutes lost to mindlessly scrolling Instagram or Facebook on my phone or a couple of hours in front of the TV before bed, I spend far more time looking at a screen than I would like (or ever would have guessed really). I swear time just disappears while I’m looking at a screen – what feels like minutes can easily turn into hours (it’s a bit like sleeping, isn’t it?!). Now, it’s not like I never pick up my phone or park myself in front of the TV, but I am definitely more intentional about it now. Sometimes I’d rather just wind down from my day in front of the TV (especially if we’re caught up in a really good show) and that’s totally okay, but it feels like more of a choice now instead of just a habit. And sometimes, because I stop to think about what I really want to spend my time doing, I choose to pick up a book instead.
THREE: Bring it with you.
If I’m going somewhere that I know I’ll have some time to wait like a dentist appointment or school pick-up, I always grab my book. That way, instead of scrolling my phone because I have nothing else to do, I can open my book instead. It’s an easy way to make the most of some minutes that would have otherwise been wasted.
Taking a book along is even easier when it’s on your phone or an e-reader, especially when we travel (you can find mine here). I know there are a ton of readers out there that will never be convinced to trade in their print-books for e-books and I totally get that (I still read print-books too for the most part), but the more I use my e-reader, the more I fall in love with it. Not only is it SO much easier to take along with me wherever I go, but I love that it lights up for reading in low light (albeit subtly so that it doesn’t hurt your eyes), tells me how far I am through my book at any given point in time, makes it easy to read with one hand (I often read while eating if I’m by myself), and best of all, it counts down the pages left for each chapter (this might just be my favourite feature!). I also love how quick & easy it makes buying or borrowing a new book (which I’ll talk more about next).
FOUR: Get a library card.
This is one piece of advice I wish I’d caught onto sooner. Buying piles of books to read is expensive. Sure, spending $25 for several hours of entertainment is a pretty good investment, but it can quickly add up to hundreds, or even thousands of dollars on things you’ll only ever use once (more times than not anyway).
It was the start of the pandemic that made me finally get myself (and my family) a library card. Without the ability to wander around the bookstore to find books to read (another favourite pastime of mine), I found myself stuck at home with my stockpile growing dangerously low. I thought about ordering a few online, and then a friend suggested borrowing from the library on my e-reader instead. It was brilliant! I wouldn’t have to leave my house and I could have a new book to read instantly instead of having to wait on mail delivery. Borrowing e-books through our library is actually what made me start falling in love with my e-reader. It’s also what made me really start finding more time to read. There’s a time limit to how long you can take to read a book before it has to be returned (you can’t renew a library book that has a hold from others that are waiting in line to read it, so if you don’t finish it, you still have to return it and then wait for it to become available again). There’s nothing more motivating to carve out some extra reading time than knowing you’ve got just a few days to finish a book you’re only halfway done. Ha!
FIVE: Try an audiobook.
I’m just getting into audiobooks myself, but Carson has been listening to and loving them for years. He loves having a story on in the background while he plays (he even listens to them while he’s playing video games) and it’s long been our secret weapon at bedtime, making it something he actually looks forward to after we read our own stories with him. As a teacher, I know how great it is for him to develop the listening skills and comprehension that he’s learning while he listens without even knowing it. As a Mom, it’s a brilliant motivational tool that’s healthier for him than screen time or sweets. He often listens to stories on road trips as well, which was something I’d never thought about doing myself until just recently. It turns out, listening to audio books while driving is a great way to pass the time when you’re on the road alone and it’s such an easy way to carve out more time to “read” that you wouldn’t otherwise have had.
SIX: Use an app to keep track and find your next read.
Have you heard of Goodreads? Honestly, it’s nothing short of brilliant and it’s totally changed the way I read! It keeps track of what I’ve read (I can’t be the only one that’s ever opened up a new book to realize I’d already read it) and whether I enjoyed it. It also helps me keep keep a running list of what I’d like to read (239 books and counting right now), so I have a go-to list that I can easily refer to when I’m book shopping. It even lists ratings and reviews for each book so that I can prioritize my growing list of what I’d like to read when I’m choosing my next book. I can connect with friends, who often share recommendations there for books they know I will love. I can set yearly reading goals and easily keep track of my progress, find tons of inspiration for books to read from the many compilation and best book lists they share and even look back on my own “Year in Books” , including my rating for each (33 through 2020). Seriously, I don’t know how I ever lived without this brilliant app!
I hope I’ve left you with a few tips and ideas today about ways that you can find more time to read. Do you have any other tips I could add to this list?
Now, don’t forget to check out the other cozy living ideas linked up below:
Wishing you SUCH a lovely day my friends!