Finding Time to Read

Finding Time to Read

As a teen I often rolled my eyes whenever my mom talked about how busy she was. I had a lot going on in high school and often pulled 13+ hour days. And, yeah, my mom worked a lot, but I suspected it was because she was a work-o-holic, not because she HAD to.

But man, she was right. Something about adult life is just busier. A huge part of it is the commute. Yeah, kid me was working 13 hour days, but school was literally 5 minutes away. These days I commute an hour each direction. Part of it is cooking real food for dinner, which takes forever. The biggest part of it is having kids of my own who need me to take care of them. (Kind of looking forward to the teenage years when they don’t need help going potty!)

So, yeah, I’m busy. I have a hard time finding time for things that weren’t a big deal in high school. Things like hanging with friends, playing video games, watching TV.

Things like reading.

I know that for so many adults reading gets put on the back-burner. It’s time consuming and not as easy and mindless as Netflix. Even as passionate a reader as I am, I sometimes find it hard to make time for reading.

So here are some ways that I have found that work to squeeze reading into a busy schedule. 

Read during your lunch break.

This is a super obvious one that I’m shocked people don’t do. I mean, obviously if you’re eating with people, don’t do this. And clearly if you’re eating something messy, leave your paperback at the office. But seriously, lunch break is a great time to take a breather and get some quiet time with a good book.

Personally, I’ve gotten pretty good at eating with one hand and holding a book in the other. I’ve also been known to prop books open by setting my cell phone on top of the pages. (This does NOT work with mass market paperbacks! Haha) But if you can’t read while you eat, read once you’re done. I don’t know about you guys, but by the time lunch comes around I’m so hungry that I inhale it in about five minutes. That leaves PLENTY of time to enjoy a good book!

Read right before bed.

Okay, hello captain obvious. Yeah, yeah. But really, if you’ve never done this give it a try. It saved me from not meeting my goodreads goal last year. Usually I read one chapter before bed. If a book has obnoxiously long or obnoxiously short chapters, I pick a time that seems reasonable. Usually only fifteen minutes, because I get up early y’all. You’d be amazed at how quickly you can get through a book even with only a chapter a night.

Read during the commercial breaks of your televised sporting event.

I realize this isn’t for everyone. Some of us are too distractable. But if you can compartmentalize, this one WORKS. A professional football game lasts for like, 3 hours, but has only like, 11 minutes of actual game play. And you just see the same commercials over and over again, so it’s not like you’re missing anything! I once got through a quarter of a book during a football game! And hey, baseball season is coming up. Baseball is an easy one to read during.

Read while you’re cooking dinner.

Obviously I don’t want you to try and read while you’re chopping onions. Bad idea. But a lot of recipes require quite a bit of standing around and waiting. “Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.” You mean READ for 15 minutes stirring occasionally! Just take my advice on this one, move the book at least four feet away from whatever you’re cooking. Spaghetti sauce spits.

Read while the kids play.

As my son is starting to get more independent and wanting to play by himself, this one has worked better and better for me. He wants me to be in the room, but he wants me to watch, not participate. Reading a book is close enough to watching for him, I guess, because he’s never complained about it.

This works for practice, too. If you’re not dropping the kids off and running errands during soccer, pull out a good book. You don’t need to give your kid your undivided attention while they run drills for the twenty-millionth time. And reading outside is SO NICE!

Read in the bath.

Again, not for everyone. I’ve not dropped a book in the tub yet, but I know some people aren’t willing to risk it.

My tub takes a long time to fill up! I usually read while the water is running, and then maybe for five minutes or so while I enjoy the hot, hot water before I have to get down to business. Yes, washing my hair is business. If your hair was this long and thick it would be business for you too.

Read in the car.

I read at red lights.

Honestly! Especially if I know I’m going to be sitting and waiting at it for several minutes. There’s a lot of trains around here too, so getting stuck behind a train will always see a book come out of my bag. Just, if you’re going to do this, keep one eye on the road. People get upset if the light turns green and you don’t notice.

I also read in the car if I’m not driving. In Texas even basic weekly trips often have car rides of a half hour or more. My husband usually drives the family around, so if we’re not talking I read. Sometimes I even find a book we’ll both enjoy and read out loud! I once read all of Bunnicula to him on a short road trip.


Are there any trick you’ve found for finding time to read? What’s the most unusual place you regularly read a book?

18 thoughts on “Finding Time to Read

  1. I live in a first-floor flat and my favourite place to read is at the bottom of the stairs, especially on a sunny day when I can feel the warmth of the sun streaming through the glass of my front door. That, coupled with lovely, hot mug of coffee is just bliss.

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  2. Thank you so much for the tips.
    Haven’t got kids of my own (yet) but I’ve been helping my cousin with her baby girl for the past six months, plus I’m working and finishing my Master, so automatically the spare time I have to read goes to a minimum!
    Another helpful thing nowadays is audiobooks. I’ve started considering them, especially when I’m commuting!

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  3. So agree that lunch break is the perfect time to read! (and yeah I pretty much inhale my food by then too 😉 ) And of course reading before bed is great! Ah yes I read in between cooking things. hahaha I think it’s hilarious that you read at red lights- I don’t drive, so I can’t do that, but I do read when I reach traffic lights when I’m walking- and the plus side of that is no one’s waiting for me to go, so I can just stand by the side of the road if needs must 😉

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  4. Great list! I’m lucky that I can read on my commute since I can take the bus, but I also read waiting in checkout lines at the grocery store or waiting for my ticket number to be call at the deli counter.

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  5. I used to read the tub all the time! Now I don’t have much time to dunk, but I’d do it if I could. Oh, and I do the exact same thing with cooking! It’s a great time to just lean on the counter and get lost in the book with the thought of upcoming food haha. And I do the red light thing when I’m desperate to get back to a book. XD

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    1. The first time I ever read at a red light it was because I was reading Ender’s Game and I literally just could not put it down. Even though I knew exactly what was going to happen I was just so desperate to read it! lol

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  6. I nearly always read on my lunch break! It’s a great way to get through a decent chunk. I also try to read when blow drying my hair quite often, but that’s never as successful as I want it to be (hair turns into a nest when you’re not paying attention to where your hairdryer is pointing)

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  7. That’s a really great, helpful list of tips to read more – I love it! 🙂
    I always read before bed (I’m truly an evening reader) as I usually have the most time in the evenings + it’s great to wind down after a long day 🙂 I’ve also recently discovered bath reading, it’s a great way to get some self-care in and free of disctractions 💗

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