10 Practical Ways to Make Time for Reading in Your Busy Life
How do you find time for your own pleasure reading?
Everytime I post a booklist or share book ideas on Instagram, I am asked this question. After all, I am a busy homeschooling mom of four kids. How on earth do I find a quiet moment to read?
I do believe that reading is like most other things – you will make the time if it is a priority to you.
That said, so many other items seem to creep up your to-do list when you have parenting responsibilities, so I’ve recorded some of the ways I have snuck in reading time over the last few years.
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As you read these ideas, keep in mind that the success of these ideas will vary based on your own season of life.
A house full of little ones will look quite different than my life with tweens and teens. It is my hope that you’ll find the perfect trick for your situations.
With that in mind, these are a few of my own secrets to making time for reading on a regular basis.
Practical Ways to Make Time for Reading
1. Get to bed early enough to read each night.
It doesn’t always happen, but I try to make it happen every night for one or two weeks. That gives me at least a week or two of bedtime reading.
2. Pick up a book instead of the phone
When I have some downtime during the day and start to reach for my phone, I pause and consider whether I should reach for a book at that moment instead.
3. Enforce a reading or quiet time at home
Pick 30 minutes or so each day and make everyone quietly read. Or let them draw, nap, or play computer while you read for a half hour.
4. Ignore the mess
I am completely comfortable reading on a sofa in a messy room. If the mess is bugging me, I will ask the kids to help me with a 5 minute pick up and then I’ll read. Perfection just isn’t going to happen.
5. Pick a week for reading
If you are like me, it is hard to put a good book aside, so it is important to make sure you are intentional about when you start a good fiction book. It’s not always the best idea to begin reading a good book during a particularly busy week. Instead, plan to read during a low key week. BONUS: Plan easy dinners that week to allow more time for reading.
6. Pack a book in your purse
Sometimes you are stuck sitting around and waiting for a child in a class or activity. Instead of scrolling the phone (see #2), pick up your book. *This can be frustrating in 10 minute spurts so use it for times you have to wait for the entire 45 minutes lesson.
7. Take a bath
Bring a book. Lock the door. Remain for 30 minutes. Relax and read.
8. Make a date with your book
When the kids are with Daddy or old enough to remain home alone for a bit, take your book to starbucks and read for 30 minutes.
9. Keep an ongoing list
Sometimes the problem is knowing what to read. Keep a list handy so you always know what to read next. My seasonal booklists have helped me be more intentional about the books I read, and they also provide the next title when I need it.
Many people find Goodreads helpful for this sort of recording keeping, so I am going to try to use that app more frequently as well.
10. Keep your book handy
I know this seems obvious, but bring your book into the main living area in the morning. You’ll have a visual that will remind you to curl up on the sofa and read. It also means that your book is handy when a free moment presents itself.
You deserve a good book too, Mom! Read more often with these 10 helpful tips.
Need a good booklist to help you get started?
My Previous Booklists:
1. Summer 2019
2. Autumn 2019
3. Winter 2019/2020
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Getting a Kindle Paperwhite has been a game-changer for me. I will always love paper books, but in this season of my life having easy access to books is what has made a difference. It is so convenient to carry it in a purse or bag and then read whenever you are waiting for a kid or at a doctor’s office. I can also immediately download new books from the library without having to go the the library. In my first year with my Kindle, I read 40 books on it alone and in year two almost 70. That wasn’t happening for me when I was just reading real books. I prioritize reading over other forms of entertainment especially watching TV or Netflix etc. It has made such a big difference in my reading life.
I love the idea of a paperwhite – convenient, lightweight, transportable! Such a good idea. Thanks!
I love suggestions 4 & 5. I’ve done most of the others over the years, but unlike you mess DOES bother me! I like having a 5-10 minute tidy with EVERYBODY right before I sit down to read, so I can enjoy my reading time without feeling guilty. And like you, I too get engrossed in a good book, so I appreciate the idea of planning quick and easy or slow-cooker meals the week I decide to dive into a new read. Great suggestions!