So many of us struggle to read as much as we’d like. Whether that’s one book a year or 100, it can be intimidating to start a book and procrastination is so often the culprit! So here are 10 tips to make more time to read, and to get some more motivation so that you actually use your free time to get through the books you want to read.
Tip the first
Get. Off. Social Media! Most people don’t really want to sit there for hours and scroll through other people’s lives, but for some reason, we all end up doing it because it’s so easy to do and laziness takes over. I’m definitely guilty of this, to the point where I’ve had to just delete Facebook off my phone completely (although I’ve accidentally swapped it for Twitter… not good). I have also massively culled the people who I follow/am friends with on all accounts. This has had the biggest impact on Instagram, as my feed now has so fewer photos on it and therefore I am on there for a lot less time. This might not work so well for you, I am someone with maybe 20 close friends and 50 more that I want to keep in contact with (and family too) so I deleted people from school who I hadn’t seen in 7 years or more. I wish them all the best, but I just don’t need to know about their latest cooking endeavour. This will hopefully mean you’re on social media for less time each day! You can use this time for whatever you need, but obviously reading is the intention here.
Always have a book with you. Whether that is a physical book, an e-reader, or an e-book app on your mobile phone. The mobile phone app, either a generic one or a kindle app, can be a really helpful one if you’re also utilising the social media reduction tips as you can go to these apps instead when you instinctively reach for social media. Having an e-reader, physical or audiobook with you can be really good for any instance where you end up waiting and/or alone. Waiting at the doctors’ office or walking alone to do the food shop can be a great time to get a physical or audiobook and work some more reading around everyday life.
Three times a charm
As mentioned above, audiobooks can be really helpful to squeeze some more reading time in. They aren’t the quickest way for me to read books, as I can read about 100 pages in an hour (which I’ve been told is fast) and audiobooks run much slower, even with them on double speed, but as I listen to them while shopping or traveling when I can’t have a book out they utilise time which wouldn’t be able to be used for much else. I have mine on a separate iPod, as my phone has pretty much no memory, and I keep this in my coat pocket (welcome to Britain, I almost always need a coat) so that I always have it with me. I get really disappointed when I let it run out of charge without realising as I’ve really got used to listening to a story while I walk and it makes the most menial of necessary tasks much more enjoyable.
Another really great time for reading is before bed. Some people claim it’s relaxing, however, I feel that personally depends on the book! It is, however, good for giving your eyes a break from the constant screen use we seem to have nowadays and escaping into another world. For this reason, eBooks aren’t great for this activity although I imagine a paper-like screen may help. This won’t work for some people, my dad, for example, find that books cause him to fall asleep (and he reads action books!) but I would stay up for hours as a child just to finish my book. It all depends on how it’d work for you.
Booktube and the bookish internet can be a godsend in terms of finding new books, however, it can lead to you adding books to your TBR (to be read) which aren’t within a genre that you enjoy or that you only want to read as you’re curious about the hype. This can be great, you can unexpectedly find new favourites this way, but when you’re struggling to read the books you have and you’re losing motivation it can be a good idea to go through your TBR list and remove any books that don’t still spark your interest, or even unhaul any physical books that you know you’re not going to get to unless there is nothing left. You can always re-add these books again at a later date, but having a smaller TBR pile can make it less intimidating and can make you less stressed about working your way through it.
Tip the sixth
Set a Goodreads goal for yourself, sometimes you just need a little accountability to encourage you to pick up that book. In case you’ve never heard of Goodreads, it is a website (with apps for most phones) which is designed for readers. You can add books that you have read, put reviews of them up and organise them into groups, as well as adding books to a “want to read” list in order to keep track of them all. You can also mark books as “currently reading” and then input the page that you’re on in the book. This will then generate the percentage and show you how far through you are. This will automatically be posted to your Goodreads account, where you can add friends or just have the account on private. There is also the ability to set posts to be shared on your social media, Twitter and Facebook being the main two. This can result in interaction with others who are interested in the book online as well as knowing that others can see when you last updated. Knowing that others can see the last time you read can give you that kick up the bum to get one with it!
7 reasons to read
Figure out why you want to read. Is it for education? If so then how much do you want to be more knowledgeable on a subject and which books are best to help? Use this knowledge to narrow down the books you are reading and remind yourself of why you want to know about this subject. Knowing that there is an end goal of learning all the facts could help you to push through and pick up a book when you want to give in and just scroll through social media.
Do you want to read purely for pleasure and the fun of it instead? Why don’t you read more then? Why is it not a priority? Find out what it is that stops you from reading, is it that you don’t want to read the books that you’ve set yourself for the month? You don’t need a rock solid plan for each month, that can take the fun out of reading for some people. Is it that you have other priorities right now such as education, childcare or a demanding job? If this is the case then you either need to look at finding ways to squeeze in reading where you can (audiobooks, treats after success or long work periods) or accept that in this busy period of your life, reading for pleasure isn’t something you can do right now. You don’t need to beat yourself up about it, and you can look forward to being immersed in a good book sometime in the future when you have the time to enjoy it.
Don’t kick yourself for having a reading slump. It happens, and it can be really hard to get over. The best solution that I’ve found for myself is to not pressure myself to read at all. I might re-organise my shelves, or just go through and clear out my Goodreads TBR to get rid of books I’m not so keen on. The exposure to books might make you pick up a new read, or re-read an old favourite and help you out of that slump. You really just have to give it time, which is really annoying, but maybe if you focus on a different hobby your love of reading will come back to you!
Another tip which may help you to be more excited about your upcoming reads is to have a separate TBR pile for books which you want to get to soon, rather than having all your books clumped together or all your unread books staring at you in a huge group. Seeing this pile of books separate from your other unread and read books in your eye line during the day will make you focus on each book individually and remember why you were so excited to read it in the first place. If they are in the same spot on your bookshelf for years you’ll find yourself not really noticing that they are there, and therefore you won’t feel excited. Moving the ones you will read soon to your bedside table, for example, will refresh them in your mind and hopefully make you feel more clear about whether you want to read them or not.
Last but not least, number ten
The most important point of them all. Don’t compare yourself to others! Accountability might help you as mentioned in #6, however, that doesn’t mean you need to feel like you have to read 30 books in one month. Read at a speed which is comfortable to you and don’t put pressure on yourself to read as much as a friend, family, or anyone you see online. It’s a pleasure activity. Keep it that way and you’re much more likely to carry on consistently! 1 book in a year or 1000, as long as you’ve enjoyed yourself it doesn’t matter.
That is the main point of this post, reading is for pleasure. You may be reading for various different reasons, but you’re doing it because you want to, not for anyone else. Don’t forget that and maybe it’ll remind you of your love of reading and encourage you to read more.