5 Ways to Find Time to Read When Time Is Tight

I love to read. If you’ve found your way here, you probably do too. But life is busy and reading often gets shoved to the side. There are probably a bunch of reasons for this, but I think that–ironically–one of the biggest reasons for reader/writer types is that reading is so fun. I mean, it just feels so indulgent. Now, laundry–laundry needs doing. Laundry can’t be put off for too long lest your tighty whiteys get, um, less whitey. And laundry is not fun at all, so it must be more virtuous than writing, right? So we do the laundry and a bunch of other stuff too. And how can we possibly justify pushing our jobs and our chores and the bills aside to tear into the latest Kelly Barnhill novel (it’s fantastic, btw) or launch into that five-book series your read-a-holic son has been pestering you to try (#brandonsanderson). I mean, those socks aren’t going to wash themselves (though we writers really should create a world where they do…)

Today I’m writing this to tell you to do it. Just read. It’s good for your brain. It’s good for your soul. Do it as a duty to your mind and mental health.

And, now, because there are so so many things that really do need doing and that must be done because you are an adult and there is, as near as I can tell, no fairy who will come over and help out (or maybe mine’s just a hopeless slacker), here are some ideas for squeezing your reading in when squeezing needs to be done.

  1. Read while you workout. Hello exercise bike, treadmill, elliptical. You can read on all those things.
  2. Read in the bathtub. You needed that good soak anyway. It’s probably exfoliating or something. Buy Epson salts if you must to justify the process.
  3. Read to your older children. They still like it, and if you’re me it’s one of their books that you’re always wanting to read anyway. Hello quality time.
  4. Don’t be afraid to binge. Sometimes time is tight and we don’t get much reading in. But then life will relax a bit. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself to some reading, to jump into that series you’ve had your eye on.
  5. Consider it a task if that makes you feel better.¬†Interestingly I’ve seen boodles of parents do this with their children–reading time goes right up there with toilet cleaning on the to-do jobs lists; and then they can watch a show. But we rarely obligate ourselves and our adult minds to the same stimulation we must believe reading brings. Do it now.

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