Making time to work, write my next books (including sequel to The Travelers), take care of the family/house and read, is very difficult. I don’t even like the term “making time.” If I could figure out how to skirt the space-time continuum and somehow make more time in a day, I’d be a much happier person. Alas, unless I stumble on a wormhole connected to my computer, I don’t think that’s going to happen.

It’s really more like finding time or finding strategies to set aside time to read.

But there’s so much to do in a day…

There’s so much to do in a day, I often forget even some of the basic essentials – food, clothing, shelter, usually food. If it weren’t for my husband we’d subsist off of cereal.

20140914_160350For example, yesterday around noon, my dog, Cupcake, stood in the kitchen “talking” to me, which is what we call it in our house when Cupcake does this series of repeated sounds that sound like “rararara.” It means she wants something. I looked down at her from my computer on the kitchen counter, muted my conference call  and said, “What?”

She pointed her little furry face at her empty food bowl and then back at me. She did it again. On the third time, I suddenly realized I hadn’t fed her breakfast.

I felt so awful! Thank goodness she’s a good communicator and can tell me when I’m being negligent. I’m obviously not winning any dog mother of the year awards. I’m probably not wining any human mother of the year awards either.

If I can’t even find time to feed my dog, how am I going to find time to read?

booksAnd right now you might be thinking – maybe she should be finding more time to take care of her family than for reading. You’d be right. I need to do that too. But, for the moment, let’s put aside my inability to find a work/life/reading balance and focus on the reading problem, one I can at least try to solve or get better at using my internet searching skills.

There are many articles and blogs on how to be a better reader and I decided to comb through these for the best advice.

Words of Wisdom for Finding Time to Read More Words

Here are some highlights from my search. Some of them I already do and have been successful. Others I’d like to try to help me tackle my giant TBR.

Read first thing in the morning and/or before bed.

reading in bedI think this is good advice. The only problem I have is that I’m working until about 11 pm and then I start reading and I stay up until 2 am. Then I’m way too tired to read first thing in the morning because I haven’t had my jolt of caffeine yet.

This is a good suggestion, but it may not be the best option for everyone. That said, the idea of making a routine for reading I think is a good solution.

If you have a set time and place to read every day, it becomes a habit.

Don’t leave the house without reading material.

This I think is great advice. You never know when you might get stuck somewhere. Instead of pulling out your phone, pull out a book, or pull up a book on your phone.

Don’t always try to read War and Peace.

You don’t have to always read the thick book. Try a novella or a book of short stories. Short stories are particularly great when you only have short bursts of time to read. That way you’re not trying to remember what happened at the beginning of a book, which you read 3 months ago.

Join a book club or join more than one book club.

I like this idea because it puts pressure on you to read. And much of the time reading is about inertia. If you stop it’s hard to pick it back up again. Book Clubs help you get going again or keep you going.

reading group.jpgCreate a reading group.

This is different than a Book Club. It’s a similar principle to a writing group. The idea is (if you can manage to not sit around and talk the whole time) reading around people who are reading encourages you to read. This could also be a family reading group. Perhaps you and your significant other or family always reads at a certain time.

slide1Join or create a reading challenge.

I like this because I like to challenge myself. And it also makes me feel good to check off boxes. (Yes, it’s weird.) You can make up your own reading challenge or find one online. Here is a blog that shows mine and my progress as of March as an example.

And if you share that challenge with others, maybe even make it competitive, that could help as well.

Track your progress.

This is kind of like counting calories or documenting your food intake to lose weight or eat healthier. It can be eye opening. If you don’t know how badly your doing, you’ll never be able to do better.

Ignore what you “should” be reading.

I love this one. This advice essentially says don’t read something because everyone says it’s good. Read something because you want to read it and it speaks to you. If you are excited about a book or type of book, you’re going to want to read it. Of the same ilk is the advice that, if you don’t like a book, stop reading it and move on. Don’t force yourself to finish.

If reading is a chore, you aren’t going to find time to do it.

Sacrifice something.

This is probably the best advice and the one I’m the worst at taking. If you can’t find time to read, you need to stop doing something else to free up time to read or get really used to insomnia. (I generally opt for the latter.)

Don’t want to sacrifice or can’t figure out what to sacrifice? Maybe you could try to use the favorite piece of advice I read. (I actually thought this website was joking. Nope, it’s a serious suggestion.):

Ask your family members to do more housework so that you may relax for a half hour each day to read.

Additional Advice 

I realize not everyone is the same. The above suggestions were the ones that either have helped me or I thought most likely to help me read more. However, we’re all different and what may work for me may not work for you.

Here are some suggestions I thought were also good, but just not for me.

Block out time in your calendar.

If you are a calendar-driven person who adheres to a schedule, this may help. Non-work calendar events are more of a suggestion for me, at best they are a reminder of something I’d like to do and probably won’t get to. They almost depress me.

Set reminders for yourself.

If you are a calendar-lover, this will probably also work well for you. I approach reminders that are not work- or responsibility-related the same way I do calendar events – optional and easily supplanted by the rest of the madness of the day.

Set reading goals

This means you say – I’m going to read at least one chapter. I could see this approach working for some people as it’s much less abstract than saying “I need to read.” And if you’re a goal-oriented person, this may be very helpful. My problem isn’t the amount of reading. Once I start reading I have difficulty putting a book down. So I don’t really need a goal. But, if you’re like me, perhaps this could be used to say – no matter what I’m going to read at least one chapter today. That might work.

Practice speed reading.

This is interesting advice. Essentially, if you want to read more, read less. To get through more books you can speed through a page. Again, this could be appealing to some. I’m a little more methodical in my reading and like to read more slowly probably than most. But, I could understand how this might be an appealing option especially when tackling something a little lighter and fluffier in content.