Can never "find the time to read"? Here are 6 easy tips to get back into the habit of reading
From someone who reads 60+ books a year
As a writer and a self-proclaimed book addict, reading was always second nature to me. But, over the years, flipping through the pages of the latest must-read started to feel more like a chore rather than a hobby—and my stacks of to-read books started to grow taller and taller, and gather more and more dust.
That was, until 2017, when I challenged myself to read at least 60 books within 365 days—and I did it. Now, four years later, I'm still renewing that annual challenge (and sometimes even surpassing it), but thanks to this challenge, I have rekindled my joy in reading, finetuned my reading habits and stopped making excuses for why I couldn't make time to read.
Here are a few ways you can make that happen too.
Take a book with you
Whether you're a long-time reader or trying to pick up a new habit, taking a book with you on your day-to-day life is easily one of the best ways to kickstart your reading routine. Whenever I know I'll be out of the house for a few hours, or even days, I take at least two or three books with me, so I always have options.
Find an e-book you like
Carrying books around, or stocking them at home, can definitely be a burden when you'redealing with small bags or studio apartments. One way to counter that is by investing in a good e-book to minimise your book load while expanding your options. Whether it's Kindle, Kobo or PocketBook, your e-book will definitely help you make more time for reading—without carrying a dozen books at a time.
Start listening to audiobooks
As modern readers, there's so much time we can otherwise devote to reading—or listening—to books. Take walking, driving or standing up in the subway for example. While a paperback or e-book could be cumbersome or life-threatening in these cases, audiobooks offer a perfect opportunity to return to the story wherever you are. I personally use a mix of audiobook apps on my phone, and I always have several downloaded just in case. I can usually breeze through a few books a week this way—and don't let anyone tell you that listening isn't reading. As long as you're enjoying the book, that's all that matters.
Only read what you want to read
Here's one that has taken me my 30+ years to master: Only read what you want to read. Simple enough, but there's no harm in setting aside a book after reading a few pages just because you're 'not feeling it.' There are too many wonderful books in the world to be stuck on one you're not enjoying. Instead, spend that time discovering one you'd rather read. Remember: Just because a book is a bestseller doesn't mean it's best for you—don't pressure yourself to read a title simply because everyone else is.
Make time for reading
Here's the most challenging one for most modern readers. Finding time to read can often be more difficult than the act of reading. In addition to practising the tips above, take the chance to read as a form of meditation (because it is) and see where you can weave it into your everyday routine. It doesn't have to be for long—just reading a few pages every night before bed can help you finish a novel.
Tailor the book to the situation—or the destination
Here's a tip I'm particularly fond of—tailoring your book choice to the situation. For me, because I'm also an avid traveller, that means curating a list of books based on where I'm visiting. Planning a trip to Tokyo? Why not also read some books by Haruki Murakami or Yoko Ogawa? During my last trip to Japan, I read Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata—and it completely changed the way I looked at convenience stores. Please, consider this on your next trip—or staycation, given the times.