How To Read More (Even When You're Super Busy)

We get it, you’re busy. Not just busy – you’re superhuman, not even time to breathe, let alone enjoy a leisurely read busy.

Well, tough.

If it’s something you enjoy, there is a way to make more time for it. The same goes for writing – or painting or line dancing – so feel free to swap ‘read’ for whatever your other hobbies are.

I adore reading. It helps me relax, but more than that – it inspires me and helps me to become a better writer. So when my To Be Read list started getting out of control (and when I got jealous of seeing everyone else read about twenty books a month on Instagram) I decided to do something about it. Here’s how:

Find your ten minutes
I refuse to believe that you don’t have ten minutes spare. At the end of each day, think about any spare or unproductive time you had. Could you have watched ten minutes less of Netflix? Could you have gone up to bed ten minutes earlier?

For me, it’s before I start work. I usually get to work early so I can get a parking space close-by, so instead of dawdling (or checking BuzzFeed) I now set a ten minute timer and read a couple of pages before my day starts. It’s now a ritual. Yes, it’s difficult putting the book down and trudging off to work – but it clears my head and helps me to feel motivated for the day ahead.

Keep books close-by
For the above reason I always keep a book in my car. I also keep a book in the living room and in my bag – so there is literally no excuse. But rather than spreading them about like breadcrumbs, you could just save space and keep an e-book reader close-by instead.

Be accountable
I used to be part of a book club where we had to read two books a month. Many of us struggled to fit that into our lives, but we managed it. The thought of being the only one to have not read the book motivated us to get it done. So even if a book club isn’t your thing, start reading at the same time as your friend, or see what people are reading on social media. It’ll give you more incentive to keep turning the page – plus you get to fangirl/boy over it together too.

Have a lunch break
This could fall under the ‘find your ten minutes rule’, but I just need to take a minute to get serious about lunchtime. Say it with me: eating at your desk sucks. I know sometimes it’s not possible to take a break – but if it is, use it wisely. Rather than eating whilst glued to your screen, take ten minutes to pick up a book and let your food go down. You could go and eat lunch with your colleagues, but that means having to communicate with others…

Swap screen-time for story time
I admit it, no matter what time I go to bed, I always find time to spend a good ten minutes hour reading BuzzFeed, fanatically like my friends’ statuses and staring at micro pigs on Instagram. Swapping this for story-time is helping me to get more reading done and feel more tired when I do manage to tear myself away. Only downside: my dreams have slightly less pigs in them.

Yes, graphic novels and short stories do count
It doesn’t have to be an epic to count as reading. Graphic novels, poems and even the shortest of stories can still inspire – plus they have the bonus of often being bite-sized (not counting Watchmen in that bracket).

If you can’t read, listen
I spend a good hour a day in the car, usually enraged about the traffic and angrily singing along to the radio. If you have to commute, why not listen to your favourite book on the way?

Create a ‘To Be Read’ List
It’s important to have a goal, so if your shelves are bursting, handpick a selection of books you want to read that month and set them aside. Also make sure you tick off every book you read to give you a sense of fulfilment.