Reading Tips: making time for the things we love

  1. Today I’m sharing some practical tips about how I make reading in a busy lifestyle possible. I’d love to hear how you make time for things that are important to you…
    I truly believe we make time for the things we love and value so here are some ways I have found to help carve out time for one of those things in my life… Reading!

Don’t be afraid to have multiple books  going at the same time. My strategy to keeping storylines or content straight is to select different genres (or select different formats… but see the next tip for more specifics on that). By choosing totally different genres to read in tandem – like a science-fiction story and a nonfiction memoir the storylines don’t blend together. (Whether or not I change up format.)

Change the format. For example I might have nonfiction book in hard back and then a nonfiction book on audio (changing the format) or a fiction book going on audio and one that is nonfiction in my hands. I will give you this extra tip about audiobooks, if the book is non fiction it is almost always better if it’s read by the author themselves. I don’t seem to have that same preference for fiction. With the non fiction I’ve just found that the author’s voice can really change the overall reading. I will also add that I’ve found using two formats for the same book just doesn’t work for me. For instance reading in my hard copy and then trying to pick up where I left off on audio – or vice versa.

Borrow books. Utilize your local library!  The Overdrive app,  coupled with your library card, allows you to check out e-books and audiobooks with an automatic return. Love that there’s no fines! I listen to audiobooks from Overdrive when driving, folding, doing dishes, while my kids play outside – anytime!

If you carry your book with you either on your phone (kindle, overdrive etc.) or always bring a hard copy in your bag you can read any and all the time ! And just because you read a few sentences and not a whole chapter doesn’t equal progress. Any reading is reading.  This is also one of the greatest gifts you can give your children as they see books around them it increases their early literacy.

Just had to share this photo, albeit blurry, since my sweet Cashel took it on a sunny day last week. He’s getting better!

Write a list of books you want to read. I do this at the beginning of the year, but you could do it anytime. As you check books off the list you will feel more accomplished and motivated. Don’t be afraid to scratch one off or add a title as you go. Here’s a fun printable to fill out.

I love this adorable and more visual printable by BuJo Books that you can print here.

Or a really fun colorful “to read” or “i have read” printable list from “I Heart Planners.”

Make reading social, read with a friend. Ask a friend to read through a book with you. Having someone to talk about a book with will definitely encourage you to keep it up. I have several book friends who read alongside me. We often send texts asking each other questions, updating each other on our progress, or just giving each other recommendations. I have seen this first hand, I promise it is more fun and motivating with a friend. Or… if you are driven by social media or images you can use an app like Litsy where you can check out what others are reading and share about what is “in your stack.”

Retain and Remember. Memorialize what you have learned or loved about the story. If the book is nonfiction or of a self-help nature I encourage you to take notes. With fiction I find telling a friend about the story, the lesson I learned, or about the “friends I made” (you know those characters that you just want to hang out with, or sad to say goodbye to in the last pages turned… they are your new friends…), can really help me retain what I read. And remembering helps me stay motivated to keep reading.  I mean it’s not very fun if you can’t remember what you’ve read…  I have a few other strategies for memorializing what I have read. Sometimes I do this in a journal, creating art, other times I do this using the Litsy app by sharing favorite quotes, or sometimes it’s that I text myself for a friend about something I’ve read. If I do any one of those things I have seen myself retain the information better.

So many thoughts fill these journals. And having them written down helps me remember to share or recall, even years later, that “thing I learned” or “that favorite quote.”

Balance your time. I understand that sometimes life is imbalanced, in fact I think “An Unbalanced Life” is healthy and I wrote about it here. Sometimes you may be doing a lot more reading and other times you may be doing more writing or engaging in other activities…  Understand you can’t do it all. Maybe you love listening to podcasts,  watching television  or  listening to music is your thing.  Maybe you are on a healthy eating plan, cooking or baking up s storm, or just putsing around on social media. The good news is you get to prioritize and pick how you spend that time. Maybe getting through a hard bound book proves tricky, but having a book on your phone in the Kindle app works for you. Just know that anytime you’re reading you are expanding your horizons. And if you think about how much time we spend reading social media (guys it’s A LOT and it is proof that we are all “readers”) it becomes a little easier to justify time reading a book. I have worked to spend  more time in a book and then I do on social media each day.

I’ll close with the answer to the question I get most frequently… How do you have time with little ones? If the tips above didn’t demonstrate this, I make the time. I use every available moment and often let things go in order to read. I read during commercial breaks of the shows Benjamin and I like to watch in our kid free time together at night. I read while the kids eat breakfast. I leave the laundry undone

(this is my favorite chore to neglect for reading) although other times I use folding as a time to listen to an audiobook or watch a show that Benjamin doesn’t like. 😉 There really is a “Magical Art of Leaving Things Undone” which I wrote about here. I read while waiting (for anything), I use the child watch and café at the YMCA for kid free reading time, I get my kids occupied (like I did in these photos) and I sit nearby and READ. I put my phone down and pick up my book. I built a habit.

Outside play time is my BEST reading time. I’m perched on my hammock, swing, or rocker nearby and they are in heaven. I do have to let go of control – the come in wet, messy; they leave a mess in their wake; but come in happy and so do I!

A Few Freebies from Ben
Okay so a while back my husband wanted to “become a reader” so he googled “how to become an avid reader…” Don’t you just love that?!

These tips are from his findings. And boy have they worked for me.

1. Always keep your book with you.
2. Have your next book picked out before you finished the book you’re currently reading.
3. If it doesn’t grab your attention in the first chapter or to move onto the next book.

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