Ever heard or used the phrase: “I just don’t have the time to read some books right now.”? The phrase surely rings a bell. In fact, I’ve said the same words myself as an excuse as to why I’m not as well-read as I hoped to be. I really wanted to read more, but by the time I pull out a book, it was already late and I’m already exhausted from a long day at work. Luckily, this shouldn’t always be the case. From my experience, I learned a few tricks on how I can make time to read books and those tricks are as follows:
1. Turn Off Your Social Media Notifications
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it once again: Smartphones are the death of reading books. Although the time we spend on checking our Instagram and Twitter accounts may seem miniscule at the time, truth is we end up sacrificing hours of our day staring down at the tiny screens of our phone. Checking my social media accounts less has helped my brain crave a more mindful and productive form of entertainment again.
2. Set a Goal During Your Reading Sessions
If you haven’t develop the habit of reading a rather large number of text at a time, simply set a reading goal for each of your reading sessions. For instance, challenge yourself to finish a chapter or read not less than 50 pages before setting your book aside. Set your goal higher each time you read. Remember that reading a bit extra every day will prod you to read more books in an annual basis than you did before.
3. Make Use of Your Daily Commute
Daily bus and train rides that were once a drag can now be turned into a precious ‘me’ time. This is how I get the bulk of my reading done. The only problem? Missing the bus stop since you’ll likely be too caught up on the book you’re reading to even pay attention to your surroundings. If you drive to work, consider making use of the book’s audio format.
4. Turn Reading Into a Break Time Ritual
I usually head to work at an unholy hour, which is why at around 8:00 a.m. I treat myself to a 20-minute break. In the past, I just go hang out on my phone in the break room, but now I head straight to the café, grab my daily dose of coffee and read my book for a few minutes. This break time ritual is so refreshing and relaxing that it’s become a highlight of my day.
5. Read as You Workout
The arc trainer, stationery bike and elliptical trainer are workout machines that accommodate book reading, and some gyms in Singapore even offer book holders if you’re really serious about reading while working out. Through this, you’ll be able to get fitter and smarter at the same time, and your workout will now be more enjoyable for you.
6. Practise Digital Reading
Planning to read digitally? Then make sure that you’ve installed a reader application on your phone so that you’ll be able to read whenever you’re free. When you’ve already installed a reader app, make sure that it is in sync with your gadgets – tablet and smartphone alike – so that you’ll be able to read a few pages even while you’re waiting in line in the bank, or while you’re taking a break during the day.
7. Read Before Going to Bed
Falling asleep while answering an email or watching Netflix used to be a normal occurrence for me, but no longer. I make it a point to set my phone alarm and leave it on my dresser to force me to stand up and read several pages of my book. As a bonus, I’ve been sleeping better since I practised this routine.
By reclaiming reading as a fun and relaxing activity, and by making it one of your priorities, you’ll surely be able to lessen your stress. While I can only speak based on my personal experience, I’m confident enough that these tricks will help you in making reading a bigger part of your life. And really, who doesn’t want to be more well-read, right?