Believe it or not, you have more time to read than you think. Here are some practical tips to help you work through that summer reading list.
On average, I read 4 books a month, but I’m just as busy as you are. I work a full-time job, I’m a husband, homeowner, 3x dog owner, successful blogger, freelance writer, book author, and on top of that I’m in the process of adopting a child. So I’m pretty busy, just like you. And just like you, I have a long reading list of books that I’m just dying to dig into. The most likely difference between you and me is that I am steadily making my way through it, one book a week. Jealous? Just follow my five simple tips and soon you’ll find yourself marking up your reading list with checks marks and notes. (And no, I don’t speed read.) Enjoy, and happy reading!
1. Determine your downtime
Whether you know it or not, you have at least an hour of downtime every day. It may come in small 5 minute increments throughout the day, but the trick is to be aware of them, and have your book (or e-reader) handy. For instance, take your book with you whenever you’re in the car. I can read a good page to page and a half at any given red light. Look for times when you’re just standing with nothing to do, like you’re in line at the DMV, or the post office, or even when you’re waiting for your egg to boil. If you live in an apartment complex, you can’t just let your dogs out in the backyard, you’ve got to stand with them on a leash. So while you’re waiting for them to do their thing, instead of pestering them to hurry up, dig your nose in your book and you’ll find you’re both more relaxed. And you need your potty time as well, which is always a good time to have your book around. Also, take your book to work and treat your book to lunch. Another tip: I know it’s unthinkable, but wake up a few minutes early or go to bed a few minutes late to finish that chapter.
2. Put your bookmark to good use
It sounds silly, but let your bookmark mark more than just the page you’re on. How many minutes have you wasted opening up to the page you left off on only to re-read what you’ve already read? To apply this tip, move your bookmark around and strategically position it to line up with the paragraph you left off on, and face the bookmark forward or backwards depending on what page you were on last. It’s a small gesture, but it works wonders!
3. Start a blog
I’m serious. Start blogging about what you’re reading and share it with your friends and family. I know you’re thinking, “That’s just going to take up more time that I don’t have.” Trust me. When you finish a book, just take a few minutes to write your review on your blog, and soon you’ll start gaining followers and you’ll delight in sharing your reading list with people, and it’s also a way to hold you accountable as people will be expecting more from you. Think of it as an e-motivator, or a sort of online reading group that you’re pioneering. Here’s a sample of my growing book recommendations: Book Recs. Another good site to write and get reviews is Good Reads.
4. Turn the TV off
Unorthodox as it may seem, you should try substituting a half hour of TV a week with reading. Everyone spends a good amount of time in front of the TV, whether it’s during breakfast or dinner. Maybe every now and then, suggest to your viewing partner that you both read, together or separate, instead. My wife and I have done this, and can’t believe how refreshing it is, and we look forward to the next time.
5. Arrange your books by season
Strange as it sounds, you should arrange your books by season. What I mean is this. If the next book on your list is a baseball book, you should read it during the spring or summer time. If it’s a Dickens book, you might want to read it during the holidays, as his books are more cozy while curling up next to a warm fire. I know you can’t do this with all books like business profiles and dieting books, but apply this to the books that you can. Doing this will help set the mood and feel for the book you’re reading, thus you’ll be more immersed in its story because you’ll feel like you’re there and you’ll have just a little bit more in common with the characters.