One question I often get asked is, “How do you find the time to read?” Finding the time to read is difficult if you, like many of my acquaintances, are a college student juggling your classes, a part-time job, extracurriculars, a social life, etc. Throughout my university career, I managed to stay an active reader, reading my own novels of interest in addition to my class readings. A lot of this comes down to simple time management.
I remember last August being one of the busiest times in my life that I can remember. I was taking two classes, working a part-time job, tutoring, volunteering for the BC SPCA, taking swimming lessons, and still trying to make time for friends and family. I was pressed for time, sleeping less than I should, and eating quick meals on the go. But still, I managed to find the time to read for pleasure. And here’s how I did it:
- Read on the go. I’m not the type of person who can sit for hours at home with a book and a cup of tea. It’s nice, sure, but when I’m home I like to be lounging, watching my favorite guilty pleasures on Netflix. To be honest, I have too short an attention span to be reading for hours on end at home. I do most of my reading on my long commute to and from work or school, always sticking my Kindle or a book into my purse. You’d be surprised how much time you can find to read. I pull out a book when I’m waiting for a friend, taking a short coffee break at work, or otherwise killing time.
- Read what you enjoy. This is a hard lesson that I’ve had to learn. I’ve often been encouraged to read certain types of books, but what I’ve learned is that just because a book is a well-established literary masterpiece does not mean it is right for you. I’ve tried to get through A Tale of Two Cities countless times, and it still sits on my shelf unread. Whether you enjoy chick lit or crime novels or both, read books you actually like.
- Waste less time. We’re all liable to sleep in on the weekends, roll around in bed and watch pointless YouTube videos. I love to relax as much as the next person, but I’ve learned to limit myself. One trick I have to making the most of my time is leaving the house earlier. If I’m meeting a friend for a lunch date, I’ll just leave the house an hour or so earlier, grab coffee, and sit and read until it’s time for lunch. I make progress on my book, and I also make use of time that I would have spent just lying around.
- Set a reading goal for yourself. Goalsetting is a general habit I have that applies to all of my life, not just my reading. I keep a few Post-It notes stuck on my desk, which detail goals I’ve set for myself. One of these is to read a book every month, which so far I’ve kept up with. Actually having this written down and having to look at it everyday will force you to take action.
Making time to read, like making time to do anything, I think, just comes down to time management. What are some of your tricks to keeping yourself on track?