Easy Ways to Fit in More Reading Time This Year
Want to read more but don’t feel like you have the time? These easy tips will help you effortlessly fit in more reading time every single day allowing you to set reading goals and read more books this year than you have ever before!
It’s no secret that I love to read — I’ve shared a time or two about my adoration for reading 😉 — but sometimes as a busy woman with many roles and responsibilities, reading can easily get pushed to the back burner.
This year one of my Goals with Grace is to be more intentional about reading, specifically by reading at least four books a month as determined by my reading category list, which I will share more about below.
It’s been a few years since I have set specific reading goals, mainly because I have been in the baby-stage of survival mode, but I’m finally ready to become more intentional about what to fill my reading list this year with.
Like all things, we make the time for what we truly value as important, so I’m reworking some daily habits and rituals to make reading happen a bit more organically.
8 Easy Things I’m Doing to Fit in More Reading Time in this Year
Deleting the Facebook App off my phone
I had it off of my phone but for some reason, I added in back on. As a result, there have been numerous moments wasted just aimlessly scrolling through with no intention or purpose.
Checking Facebook isn’t necessarily bad itself but it’s so easy to get sucked in and before we know it, we’ve wasted 30 minutes or so when we could have been doing something much more relaxing, refreshing and recharging… like reading!
Along with Facebook, do a quick app audit of your phone. Are there apps that are sucking away your precious moments causing you to waste time? Be ruthless and delete all the non-essentials only keeping the ones you genuinely love and add real value to your life.
Adding Reading Apps
By deleting Facebook, I’m also making sure my phone is updated with the latest reading apps that will help and encourage me to read more.
The biggest one is my library app. I use it almost daily to search for books I want to read, and place them on hold. It also has a feature that allows me to place books on a “For Later” shelf if I’m not ready to place a hold on them just yet.
My library also has a separate app for checking out digital ebooks and audiobooks, so I have that uploaded on my phone too.
I also use the Kindle app (even though I much more prefer to read physical books than ebooks) and the Good Reads app to better manage my reading lists.
I also have the YouVersion app downloaded for reading and listening to the Bible.
Embrace Audio Books
This one is new for me but it’s something I have been embracing in the past few months. Listening to books when you are on the go, making dinner, cleaning the house, folding laundry, or doing some other task that doesn’t require a whole lot of mental focus, is a great way to use those moments.
I prefer to listen to fiction or a non-fiction book that I won’t want to take notes in or highlight key passages, usually a memoir or biography. Again my library has an app to check out and read digital ebooks and audiobooks, so I always check there first.
There is also the Audible app, which you do have to pay for credits, but is a good option if your library doesn’t have a good selection of audiobooks to download.
Reading During my Morning Quiet Time
I’m a morning person, so I like to use my morning hours well but I know not everyone wakes up early. If you do, consider adding in reading a few pages from the current spiritual growth book you are reading.
A few pages each morning really adds up over time!
For example, if you read 2 pages over 365 days, then by the end of the year your morning reading time will have yielded 730 pages… that’s the equivalent of about 3 books!!!
Keeping Books in Prominent Places
My motto is to always have a book handy because you never know when you will a few minutes to read a page or two. Thanks to our phones, we easily have our reading apps available with only the swipe of our fingers, but I also like to keep my physical books nearby too.
Similar to my Bible book basket, I have a reading basket in the living room that houses the books I’m currently reading along with any new magazines. It keeps my books organized, in sight and in the same place so I’m not frantically searching for a missing book.
I loved listening to this podcast about finding time to read during the day, my favorite tip was to keep a book in the bathroom to read a page or two every time I am in there!
Reading During Nap Time
I realize not everyone reading this has a nap or quiet time built into their day for children… although even without children, if you do or can build this habit into your day, then you are a rockstar! 😉
This habit is mostly geared to young mothers in the trenches but the similar habit can be used when approaching your lunch time or just taking a few minutes in the afternoon to rest and recharge by stopping what you are working on and giving yourself a break mid-day.
For me, we still have a nap time for my youngest and a quiet time for my middle child, my oldest is in school every day. After I get my kids settled, I take 20 or 30 minutes just for me. My to-do is LONG and I have so much to do during that time but I know that if I don’t stop and give myself a rest, I won’t be nearly as productive then if I let myself take a short break to recharge and refresh myself.
My afternoon ritual is to light a candle, turn on my favorite Pandora channel to play softly in the background, brew a cup of coffee or tea (depending on how I’m feeling) and curl up to read a chapter or two in one of my books. Some days I will pick my fiction and other days I will choose a non-fiction depending on my mood.
Utilize Little Moments Throughout the Day
We all have them — five or ten minutes here or there — where we have those spare moments. Rather than just wasting them on activities that don’t add value, why not use them reading?
Some examples of simple ways to fit reading into to five or ten minutes blocks might include:
- while the kids are having independent play time
- waiting in the carpool lane
- listening to an audio book while cleaning or folding clothes
- waiting in the doctor’s office or waiting anywhere
- reading at lunch time
Set an Alarm on my Phone/FitBit to Turn off at 9 pm
The final way I’m setting myself up for success to read more this year is to set alarms for each evening to shut everything off and spend my last 30 minutes of the day reading.
I try so hard to not do work related tasks in the evening but sometimes I become more relaxed on that rule and before I know it, I’ve spent my entire evening in front of my laptop and it’s after 10 and I’m still wired. So this year I using both the alarms on my iPhone and FitBit to remind me it’s time to start shutting down allowing my body to not only start relaxing and getting ready for bed but to end my day doing something I love and fills me up.
Setting an evening only alarm on your favorite electronic devices is super easy and a great way to give yourself the physical reminder you need. You can set the time that works best for you. Since I wake up super early — I’m an early, early morning person 😉 — I need to be shutting down around 9 pm.
My Goals with Grace Reading Goals
This year it is my goal to read at least 4 books a month for myself. (This doesn’t include read aloud or books read to and with my kids or my own personal Bible study reading)
I have a huge reading list but I also know my time restrictions so I believe that starting with 4 books a month is very doable for me since I love reading.
As I strive towards reading more, this year, I’ve set up some specific reading categories with book titles to help me keep a good rotation of books so I’m not reading the same genre over and over again.
I tend to get stuck in a rut reading books I’m familiar and comfortable with, not that there is anything wrong with that, but I like to challenge myself to step out and read things I might not be initially drawn to.
My 2017 Reading Categories
This is a broad category that includes any and all books related to growing your faith through understanding theology, church doctrine, Bible study methods, prayer, spiritual disciplines, or anything about faith. I purposefully left it broad so I would have a nice selection of books to choose from.
Any books that pertain to nurturing and maintaining a healthy marriage, family and home, go in this category. Marriage, motherhood, parenting & discipline help, home management or anything related to home and family, particularly from the Christian perspective, belong in this category.
I love reading about people and their lives, whether that be in a well-written biography or from more of a memoir-style book, that sometimes is labeled in the spiritual growth category as well.
These books are not necessarily about growing your faith, but more about healthy lifestyle changes or learning something new.
For example, I love reading cookbooks, health & wellness related books, and books about understanding personality differences. This category is a way to make sure I have a well-rounded list, and I’m not just filling up my non-fiction list with only spiritual growth books.
Blogging & Business Growth
In order to continue growing my blog and business, I need to keep educating myself and one way I do that is to read books on that subject. Some are Christian-focused, whereas others are practical how-tos on a specific subject. Reading books from this category always inspire me to try new things and expand my thinking about how to manage this blog.
I view contemporary fiction as anything written in my lifespan. They are more modern works, whether they be the newest best-sellers or a book I have been meaning to read for a few years now. I do have to be careful with this category because I tend to become completely absorbed in what I’m reading which causes other responsibilities to be let go… you know, like cleaning and cooking! 😉
There are so many classics that I have yet to read but have always wanted to, so it’s my goal to incorporate 2 or 3 classic novels into my reading list this year.
Finally, I am one of those people who loves to re-read a favorite book, whether it be fiction or non-fiction. Not everyone likes to re-read books they have already read, but I personally enjoy re-reading a challenging or convicting book that really made me think or make big changes in my life. Or a fiction book that I haven’t stopped thinking about but re-reading it knowing what unfolds, helps me to piece together some of the plot points I missed out on the first read through.
I view re-reading a good book, in the same way, I view watching a favorite movie over and over again.
Later this week I’m going to be sharing my specific list of books I am planning on reading this year, including what books I am planning to read for each month so be on the lookout for that MASSIVE list! 🙂
Did you set reading goals for yourself this year? What are they?
LOVE THIS!!! And I agree, I should share that tip as well. I’ve had Facebook deleted off my phone for about 6 months now and it really does free up a little more time and a great idea is to fill that with reading 😀
Thanks for sharing a link to my podcast episode 😀 Can’t wait to hear how your reading goals go this year.
Thanks Jami, and I loved that podcast and your entire reading challenge concept, I wish I would have thought of that 😉
I love reading but i haven’t done it a lot lately. I have ordered a few books and i plan on taking at least an hour a day to read. I may sneak in times i am feeling stressed while work too. I have ordered a few books on my new found profession as well as a couple thrillers. My brother loves audio books but i like books i can touch, that sounds crazy. Hah.
Leslie, I’m the same way when it comes to actually holding books but I’m really trying to incorporate more audiobooks into my life because I do think it would help me get through more books that way.
Thanks for sharing these tips. I don’t have actual reading goals, but I have a long list of books I want to read so your advice about how to make more time to fit in reading is really helpful.
So glad to hear that Lesley! I hope you enjoy reading your list of books!
Not sure a good goal for reading next year. I met my goal (3 books a week) a few weeks ago. Maybe next year I will change it to read 50% non-fiction vs. 25%.
One of the ways I am able to read as I do is that I read multiple books at a time. I read across genres so that I always have something interesting to drop into. I then grab what sounds best at that moment. I also try to always have a book in my purse for when I go to town. I use all those minutes normally wasted in lines at the bank, post office, grocery, etc.
I liked how you left a reading category for spiritual growth. I think it gives you a lot of wiggle room in what you can read, but it can provide a good space to learn what is interesting you spiritually at the time. I’ve been wanting to get back into reading lately, but I haven’t known where to start or how to dive into the different topics I want to read about, but having a system like this could help with my reading goal.