One of my most frequently asked questions is, “How do you have time for reading?” Between working from home, momming a toddler, and at the writing of this post growing a second little baby, reading has to be prioritized or it won’t happen! Reading is one of my passions, but for many years it had to go on the back burner. My teens and early twenties (up to age 25, really) were spent working full time while also taking college classes. I only had to time to read my assigned work, not the books I longed to read!
In my twenty-fifth year I resigned my job, moved to a new state, and gave birth to Adeline. As a stay at home mom, I suddenly had MUCH more time to read than ever before! But as Addie grew, making time for reading became more difficult, and I’ve had to more intentional. Below are four ways I make time to read (nonfiction and fiction) while still managing my work and home.
Schedule Your Day
I’ve written a lot on the topic of productivity, so I won’t spend too much time here – but the first step to making time for your hobbies is scheduling your day! I’ve been doing some form of this since I was single and working, to married and working, and now as a mom working part time. While scheduling might seem like extra stress, it actually RELIEVES stress because you know where your time will be spent.
For help with scheduling, try the following posts:
I usually plan when I’ll read during the day. If I don’t, I’ll use my spare time on work tasks. My favorite times are early morning and in bed as part of my evening routine.
Use the Fringe Hours
The “fringe hours” are the little minutes throughout your day easily forgotten. We often spend them distracted by your phone – fifteen minutes waiting in line for the bus, commuting to work, standing in the kitchen after dinner. If you don’t know what to spend those minutes on, you’ll default to the easy thing – your phone, computer, TV.
Instead, use these minutes to read. A few ways to do this: see if your library uses the Overdrive app to download audiobooks. You can also use Audible, but Overdrive is free! I listen to audiobooks while I work out, walk, wash dishes or cook dinner.
You can also bring a book with you if you know you’ll be somewhere with a long wait time. If you’re a young mom, read during nursing sessions instead of watching TV (I read at least two books a week while nursing Adeline!).
Switch Out Netflix
Speaking of switching out TV, Netflix is an easy go-to when you don’t want to think at the end of the day. But remind yourself that books contain equally thrilling stories and use those as your entertainment instead! Perhaps start by choosing a day or two a week designated for reading, then work up to more of them if you’re a Netflix addict.
I like to read at night in bed because we don’t keep a TV in our room, and it’s a calming way to prepare for sleep. I’ve also found there are more options for plotlines with books than with movies, and it’s easier to find morally compatible choices in books than on TV.
Find a Reading Partner
One of the best ways I’ve been able to read more is to have Josh read with me. Now, this was a process: Josh was NOT a reader when we met! In fact it took him three years to get halfway through a book I bought him before we were dating. Ha!
We try to go to bed together at the same time each night and spend about 30 minutes to an hour reading (we go to bed around 9 PM). Though I didn’t read fiction for seven years, in the last year I’ve incorporated more into my reading diet and usually spend evenings on fiction and days on nonfiction.
If you’re the kind of person who likes to track your progress, try using Goodreads to log what you’ve read. You can also find recommendations on Goodreads and on my personal favorite blog, Modern Mrs. Darcy (her podcast, What Should I Read Next, is my addiction!).
I hope these tips enable you to make reading a regular part of your life! There is no better way to spend your time!