I get quite a few questions about my reading life. The most common question I get, maybe other than what are you currently reading? is how do you find time to read?
That’s a totally fair question, especially since those asking know that I am a mom and continue to have a life apart from reading a number of books each year. Growing up I was that child who always had my nose in a book. Reading is definitely different now as a mom. I can’t just ignore all my responsibilities like I used to. When I was younger my reading was a definite source of contention between my parents and I (because of those ignored responsibilities). They went as far as taking my books away, but I always found more. #cantfoilabookworm
While having time to read is definitely more challenging as a parent and adult with responsibilities, it is still possible!
I think I read more than the average person but still not nearly as much as some people. As of the middle of August I had read 55 books so far this year, that averages out to about 6.5 books a month and seems about average for the last few years.
So, want to increase your reading and wonder how I get as many books in as I do? Read on!
READING IS A PRIORITY
First of all, I value reading on both a knowledge level and an enjoyment level, and as a result it is something I make a priority in my life. Because of this, reading is not something that gets my leftover time each day (because who has that?!), but rather it is something I make time for.
If you are serious about wanting to read more you will need to make a conscious effort to do so, you will need to make it a priority in our own life.
HOW TO FIND TIME IN YOUR DAY TO READ WHEN YOU ARE A BUSY MOM
1. ALWAYS HAVE A BOOK WITH YOU
The easiest way to increase your reading is to channel your inner Rory Gilmore and always have a book with you. There are a couple of ways to do this, if you have a good memory you can just make sure you throw a book into your bag before leaving the house. If your memory cannot always be depended on (because you’ve got too much mom stuff stored in there), you can have one book that always stays in your bag, something that you want to read in short little bursts would be good, maybe a collection of poems or short stories. Or, what I have been doing for the last few months is trying to keep my Kindle in my bag, what way I have some variety in case I’m not in the mood for a certain book, plus it’s lighter than almost all my books.
It’s amazing how much reading time the simple act of carrying a book with you can really add up to. If I have a doctors appointment and don’t have the kids along I will often try to arrive a little early so I can have some extra reading time (it’s the one case where I actually hope the doctor is running a bit behind schedule).
2. READ IN SMALL INCREMENTS
I know some people feel as though they need to have a fair sized chunk of time available before they will read, my compulsive reading as a child cured me of this and I’ve gotten really good at reading in small increments. It’s not uncommon for me to open my book and only reading one page before being interrupted to go do something else, but that’s one page farther in the book! Obviously one page is less than ideal but even if you only have five minutes while something is finishing up in the oven you can usually get a few pages read before having to concentrate on making dinner.
3. SET ASIDE TIME FOR READING
I like to set aside some time each morning to read. I generally start by reading as I eat breakfast, I like to use my Kindle during this time because I don’t have to hold it open. I generally spend about 15 minutes reading after breakfast while I finish up my hot beverage (which I know would be coffee for most people but it’s homemade dairy-free hot cocoa for me).
Think about other times in your day you could set aside for reading, before bed is a common one, if you are one of those who can stay awake while reading in the evening. If you work, maybe your breaks would be a good time. If you are at home with your kids, set aside a time where you all read for a bit (or “read” for the younger ones). Modeling reading for your children is excellent!
4. SET ASIDE A DAY FOR READING
Every now and then I like to have a day where I don’t do anything other than the essentials and a whole lot of reading. Sometimes I plan this out but more often than not it just happens when I get into a really good book. Generally the weekends are a good time for this for me because Jared is home and I’m not the only one having to feed the children who seem to be hungry all the time.
5. HAVE MULTIPLE BOOKS ON THE GO
While I have really just grown into this in the last few years I now really love having multiple books on the go. While it does mean each individual book will take a little longer to read, this way you can pick up whatever book you are in the mood for.
I started by having one fiction and one non-fiction on the go and have gone from there. I am currently working on creating my own “curriculum” for the year as I work on my homeschool plan for my kids so because of this I have quite a few more books on the go that will be more long-term books (ones I read slowly, over the course of a few months up to nearly a year).
6. LISTEN TO AUDIOBOOKS
When I discovered audiobooks and the free apps my library uses my number of completed books skyrocketed. My favorite times to listen to books is when I am doing dishes, sweeping, or folding laundry. I have a pair of bluetooth headphones so I can move around and do the cleaning I need to do and it doesn’t feel nearly so tedious because I’m listening to a good book at the same time.
Everyone is different but I generally find it easier to listen to fiction books because if I get a little distracted I don’t feel like I missed much like I can when listening to a non-fiction book.
Oh, also, I listen to books at 1.5x or 2x speed so I can get through them faster, so an eight hour audiobook usually only takes me four hours to listen to.
7. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE LIBRARY
So, we use the library a lot. Like, a lot, a lot. Our library has this handy dandy feature where our receipt tells us how much money we saved by using the library each visit (they total the value of the books we take out) and it also includes a total of the value of all the books we’ve taken out for the year. This only counts for physical stuff we take out from the library (not audiobooks and ebooks) and last year we saved over $23,000 by using the library!
By using the library it keeps your reading habit super cheap and possibly entirely free.
(In case you are interested, I have a post with some library tips over here on my homeschool site.)
8. JOIN (OR START) A BOOK CLUB
Confession: I’m in a number of book clubs. What I love is they are all different! I started a classics book club locally, we meet every 2-3 months and read a variety of classic books. Then I am also a part of a monthly book club at my library (though I haven’t always gone but I plan on being more consistent through the fall and winter), these books generally tend to be more contemporary fiction. And then there are the online book clubs I host, like the Simplicity Parenting book club that is starting in September.
Being in a book club helps give the motivation and accountability to get some books checked off of your list, at least it does for me! I don’t enjoy every book I read for book club (I am looking at you A Tale of Two Cities!) but now I can say I’ve read them.
9. QUIT BOOKS
Does this seem like the wrong kind of advice in a post about reading more books? I think this one is actually something that really does increase my reading; if a book doesn’t catch my attention I quit it and move on to a more interesting book. A lack of good books is not my problem so if I’m stuck on a book that isn’t capturing my attention I just end up wasting time when I could be reading books I enjoy.
I usually give a book about 75 pages if it starts out kind of meh but if it’s terrible right from the beginning I feel no pressure to continue on.
10. READ GOOD BOOKS
This goes hand-in-hand with quitting books. If you are reading good books you will read them faster and get through more books each year!
The obvious next question then is: where do you find lists of good books? I get book recommendations from all over, random blogs, Pinterest, Instagram, podcasts, from books I’m currently reading, etc, etc. I currently have a few book lists here on the blog. And I recently shared what I read last month and I plan on making that a continuous series. Plus, I am working on one really good list of books for moms to read, watch for that coming soon!
And there you have it, ten tips on how to read more, even as a busy mother!
If you have any other tips or any really good book suggestions I would love for you to leave them in the comments!