Does your stack of books to read keep growing, but you can’t seem to make any progress through them?
That’s how I felt when I looked over my booklist at the beginning on the summer: I had only finished reading two books in the first six months of the year (unless children’s literature counts!) The list of books on my want-to-read list kept growing, but even though I’d read lots of articles and blog posts and snippets here and there, I simply couldn’t seem to make my way through whole books.
Although I love articles and blog posts (and hope you do to), my ratio of books to blog posts was way off. My brain felt like it was constantly hopping from one thought to another without adequately digesting the information and allowing myself time to reflect and learn from what I read.
So one of my personal goals over the summer was to make time to read good books. I doubt I’ll ever read a dozen books a month like Money Saving Mom, but at least now I’m reading more than one per season!
If you also find yourself in a reading rut, here are a few simple strategies that helped me make time to read.
How to Make Time for Reading
View Reading as Worth the Time
“We all have 24 hours in a day…. what we make of that time is up to us.” As Andrea Dekker elaborates in her excellent post: We Have the Time, once we stop saying “I don’t have time for _______” and instead saying, “I’ve chosen not to make time for _______” we will begin to take responsibility for our time.
Maybe at this stage in your life, reading is not a priority. That’s okay. But if you do want to read more, you need to view it as worth the time.
Eliminate Time-Wasting Distractions
Although I hadn’t “found” time to read many books on my booklist, I had found time to browse Facebook daily. Something had to change. Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with checking Facebook regularly, but we only have 24 hours in a day and have to choose how best to redeem them.
For me, that meant making Facebook hard to access on my phone. The Kindle App replaced it. Now, when I have a few minutes, instead of scrolling through my feed, I spend a few minutes reading a book.
Although these fragments of time on my Kindle app haven’t amounted to an incredible amount, I find myself more refreshed and rested than if I hopped all over the place on social media.
Conveniently Place Books
If your books constantly end up at the bottom of a stack of junk mail, chances are they won’t get read. Place books were you can easily reach them when you might have a chance to read: on your nightstand, next to the couch, in your purse, etc.
Don’t Finish Every Book
Some people have a tendency to start half a dozen books and never finish them. My tendency is to start a book and then feel guilty if I don’t finish it. Which made me put off reading to avoid the book on top of my pile that I didn’t really want to finish but felt like I ought to finish before starting another.
Time is limited. Finishing a book just to say we’ve finished it is silly and stubborn. As John Irving said, “Grown-ups shouldn’t finish books they’re not enjoying.” (Thanks Modern Mrs. Darcy for sharing this awesome quote!)
Pick Good Books to Begin With
“You’ll be the same person in five years as you are today, except for the people you meet and the books you read.”
Ideas challenge and change us. Our book selections should inspire us to the good, the true, and the beautiful. (One of many reasons we should seek to be women of the Word.)
It’s also why we should be picky about what books we read. Although I have given myself grace to not finish books, picking good books to begin with is even better: read a snippet, get a trusted review, or skim through the contents before making a selection.
Use Books to Fight Insomnia
When my head hits the pillow, my mind likes to start racing. Sometimes I lie awake for hours. Reading the right type of book can help. I have a selection of books I fondly call my “insomnia books” by my bed just for nights I can’t sleep.
Looking for the perfect insomnia-fighting book? Avoid fast-paced novels, thrilling biographies, or any book that you find too engrossing to put down. Choose books that are calming and uplifting like the Psalms, devotionals, and non-fiction texts.
Listen to Audiobooks
Make monotonous jobs pleasurable by listening to books while you work. It’s amazing how much faster the ironing seems to go when you’re listening to a story.
A few favorite sources are Librivox (whose goal is to record–for free– all works in the Public Domain), Christian Audio (which offers a free selection each month), the library, and Audible (which offers a free credit to new members and high quality work— thanks Natalie!).
Ponder What You’ve Read
This may not help you zoom through more books. It is worth it though.
Once you’ve finished a book, don’t instantly jump into the next one. Take a few minutes, or hours, or days to soak in what you read. To digest it. To savor it. To become changed by it. Because reading a book without gleaning from it is just a waste of time.
Make Time to Read as a Busy Mom
Good books help make us better wives, moms, teachers, and Christians. Finding time to read is worth the effort! By placing books strategically throughout your home, eliminating time-wasting distractions, listening to audiobooks, and using books to fight insomnia, even busy Moms can carve out a little time each day to read.
(If you struggle to find time to read the Bible, here are a few ways that I’ve found help me get to spend time in God’s Word, even when my days are crazy.)
What are your best time-management tips for reading more? Any awesome books I need to add to my booklist?