I am well-versed in the ways of not having any free time. I’d say it’s a college thing, but honestly, I’m convinced that almost everyone as an adult lacks free time. We’ve all got busy lives; it doesn’t matter if you’re in college or a Real Adult™ with a job. That being said, reading can be time-consuming, which means it often gets pushed to the back of people’s to-do lists (not that I think reading should become a chore if you’re doing it for fun…it just sometimes feels like everything becomes a chore when you’re super busy).
However, here’s a few ways to find more time to read books:
1. Always have a book with you
This is probably pretty obvious advice, but just always have a book with you. Keep one in your backpack or your briefcase or your purse (it’s always a good idea to invest in a book-sized purse). You never know when you’re going to end up in a waiting room or waiting for a late friend or just having some random downtime in your day. What if you get stuck in an elevator between the 96th and 97th floors of a building and have no cell service and need something to entertain you while people try to rescue you? You’ll always be grateful for having a book on hand then.
2. Be conscious of your social media time
My second suggestion was originally going to be “read before bed or right after you wake up,” but as I thought about it, I realized that’s not only pretty common advice, but it’s also not necessarily practical for a lot of people. Some people just don’t like reading before bed, and others don’t have time to read when they wake up in the morning, which is totally understandable. Now, I personally do have time to read before bed or on most mornings when I wake up, if I were to feel like it, even though I often don’t. The reason I have that time? The last thing I do before I fall asleep is scroll through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, and I do the same over breakfast in the morning. Basically, it’s not really the time of day that’s important for scheduling your reading, but rather, what you’re replacing with reading time. All of us could probably cut down on a half hour of social media time every day to read instead, and honestly, we probably wouldn’t miss it much (hell, I get bored sometimes checking social media if there’s nothing new on there, even though I just stay on the app or site anyway). Basically, pay attention to when you’re using social media, and when you’re actually BORED using social media, and replace that time with reading.
3. Make reading social
This isn’t practical for everyone, but make reading a social thing! If you have book-minded friends in real life, set up a time every week or two where you guys hang out and read for a couple hours, even if you’re not reading the same book. It could always turn into a little book club-type thing, even if you’re not reading the same things or having regular meetings.
Alternately, just read when you’re hanging out with people but not really doing anything. Again, this might not be practical for everyone, but at least for me, as a college student, I end up hanging out with people sometimes while they do homework or do something I’m not necessarily interested in, like playing a one-player video game. I readily welcome scenarios like this, because I can hang out with friends and still socialize, even though we’re both doing something separate that we both enjoy.
4. Buy audiobooks (or just check them out from the library or YouTube)
I hate reading in the car, or even on buses and trains, so I’m not necessarily going to suggest reading while on-the-go, because I know it can make you motion sick (that’s what happens to me anyway. I get dizzy). But audiobooks are a great solution to that (you can listen to them even if you have to drive too, which is not possible with books unless you’re actively trying to crash your car). I’ve never used Audible, though I’ve heard good things, so you could always consider investing in that, or just checking some out from your local library! Alternately, YouTube has a lot of audiobooks uploaded to it if you search it, though it’s mostly classics and older books, because newer ones get taken down for copyright issues. However, if you’re looking to get into some classic books, an audiobook (and a free one on YouTube at that) is a great way to get into them, since classics can be a bit tedious to read sometimes.
5. Literally just schedule a time for yourself to read
This might be difficult, but if you just block out an hour of time for yourself to read, you’re more likely to actually sit down and do it when that time comes. And while you might not have time to do this every day, it can be pretty simple to carve out a bit of time once or twice a week, wherever it fits in your schedule. You don’t even have to be consistent week to week. Just read!