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Q&A: When do you fit reading into your daily schedule?

When Do You Find Time to Read?

Crystal, when do you fit in personal reading into your daily schedule? -Brenda

Ever since posting my 12 Books to Read in January post, I’ve been getting asked this question. And it’s a very valid one since I used to wonder how on earth people could manage to finish more than a few books per month.

However, I found that when I stopped saying, “That’s not possible!” and started looking for opportunities to fit more reading into my life, there were many nooks and crannies where I could fit more reading in.

Here’s how I’m currently finding time to read in the midst of a full schedule:

1. First Thing In the Morning

The first thing I do in the morning is to spend time reading my Bible, praying, and journaling. I also read a chapter or two of a devotional book of some sort.

I’ve found that by reading a chapter or two of a devotional book every morning, I can usually finish one book per week just in this early morning time. The thing I love about reading first thing in the morning is that it starts my day off on a great foot and it also guarantees that I always get a little reading in every day.

2. On the Treadmill

When I walk or run on the treadmill, I often read. I can’t hold a book while running, but I discovered I could prop my iPad up on the treadmill, make the text larger, and read while running. Yes, I don’t speed read, but it’s a great way to get through some of the free ebooks I download and I can usually read at least one ebook per week if I run 3-4 times in a week.

3. While Waiting

I pretty much always a book with me just in case there’s a little pocket of time that opens up while I’m waiting somewhere, riding in the car, waiting for the water to boil on the stove… you get the picture. 🙂

4. At Night

If I’m not really tired at night when I crawl into bed, I’ll often read a chapter or two of a book. I so try to limit my reading to something that’s not so interesting that I have to read “just one more chapter” and then end up staying up until the wee hours of the morning to finish the book! Been there, done that and it doesn’t work out so well if you want to be coherent the next day! 🙂

5. On the Weekends

One of my very favorite times to read is on the weekends — especially on Sundays. We take Sundays “off” from our normal routine and I usually am completely offline. So Sunday afternoons are the perfect times to curl up with a good fiction book and read for a few hours.

For more ideas and suggestions, here are a few posts from the archives:

Your turn: how do you find time to read? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks!

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36 Comments

  • says:

    This is probably your oddest response, but I actually nursed my daughter until she was three, mostly because nursing was the only time I had to read! I counted once, and I think I read around 50 books during the first three years of her life! Now that my three kids are teens, I read at night mostly. We’ve been shutting down the computers at 8:00 p.m.

  • Ellen says:

    I’m so glad you read fiction now! I remember you used to say it didn’t appeal to you much, and I just couldn’t comprehend that! I try to maintain a good balance in my reading choices and fiction isn’t a high priority for me right now, but I love well-written fictional stories and often learn lessons and gain insight through them.

  • says:

    I have finally figured out how to use voice over on my iPhone. My phone reads ebooks to me while I’m cleaning or out running errands. It takes a little getting used to Siri’s voice, but I hardly notice it anymore. You can also make an accessibility shortcut so you can press the home button three times to quickly turn it on or off. I get through many books by using this feature. I also enjoy audio books too. 🙂

  • says:

    I do similarly with fitting reading in, as well. I always have a book going in paper, eReader, and audiobook. I find I need to take breaks occasionally, and also diversify my reading genre to keep momentum.

    I wrote a “31 Day of Reading More without Living Less” series here:

  • says:

    Great ideas! There are some books though that I can’t stop and start on as easily, so I do better reading before bed or when I have a larger chunk of time. I am getting a Kindle and am hoping this will help with reading on the go. 🙂

  • says:

    I’m mostly a night time reader, although I have the “just one more chapter” problem a lot! I’m working on it, mostly by starting my bedtime routine earlier so I have a little more reading time before light’s out.

    One of my big projects for the last month or so is restructuring my week so I have Sundays “off”, inspired by you, Crystal. It takes focused effort throughout the week and on Saturdays in particular, but it’s paying off with a much more restful day, and more reading time. 🙂

  • Lora says:

    Krystal, what do your kids do on Sundays when you read for a couple of hours? I don’t think that could ever happen here. Lol 🙂

    • Crystal says:

      Since my kids are now 8, 6, and 4, they are usually pretty good at occupying themselves for a few hours (not always, but usually!). They’ll play with LEGOs, read, listen to audiobooks, play outside, create… it just depends upon the day!

  • NaDell says:

    I read during naptime after I’ve finished my little chores. I also read at night most of the time. =)

  • Lori says:

    I read mostly when I workout – walking/running on the treadmill, riding the bike, and elliptical. I look forward to the two for one benefit – exercise 🙂 and I get lost in a great book :-). I often do this for a bit early in the morning and then atleast 30 minutes during my lunch at work – I call it my “mental health” break 🙂

  • Angie S. says:

    I’m a voracious reader who can never get enough reading time in. I work full time and do many volunteer activities & church meetings in the evenings after work. I read on my 15 minute breaks, my lunch breaks, I take a paperback with me when I’m walking on the trails, I read between activities whenever I can and I even…don’t laugh…read at stoplights on the way to and from work. I can usually get 1-2 pages in at a stoplight sometimes as many as 16 pages a day doing th s even though I have a short commute. I have very good peripheral vision so I notice when the light changes and the flow of traffic starts again so I never have a problem with cars honking at me to get moving!!

  • says:

    I get a lot of reading done in the car. Last winter, I would drive to the beach – it was freezing!! And, my daughter would nap in the back seat and I’d read in the front seat until she got up. By reading while not at home, I found that I could focus better. It really helped. Reading speed will increase with practice, so now I can read about 40-50 pages in about a 1/2 hour (depending on the font and margin) this allows me to get through 1-3 books a week. I’ve read almost two books this week already not counting my kids’ read alouds. I like non-fiction in the morning and fiction at night.

  • says:

    I like to listen to my books. So I use my smartphone app to listen to my reading. This allows me to get it done whenever I want to … even at work … depending on what I am doing at the time. It also allows me to listen at double speed which allows me to get through more reading in less time.

  • says:

    I read a statistic a few years ago that the average US adult has not read 50 books in their lifetime. I think it explains a lot.

    If I compare my efforts to Crystals I could get discouraged– how on earth do you read 12 books/month? Are you counting those picture books you read to Silas? But that’s now what this post is about.

    So I just want to encourage people to start where you are and stretch. If you get in the habit of reading (even completing 1 book per month might be a reach for someone who is not already used to reading). And it does not have to be all the time- maybe you can find a few hours on the weekend, or a few minutes in the morning or at bedtime every day, like Crystal suggested but as you get used to reading (and find amazing books that speak to you in your season of life!) you’ll look forward to reading then next year you can set your goal to 2 books or 3 books each month and then up from there. Or reduce your goal if you start a new hobby or job that takes more time and leaves you less time for reading… but I’ve found even as life gets busier the time I carve for reading does not compete with those activities.

    12 books/month still looks insane to me…and I read 4-5 books consistently each month. But if this is another one of those areas when we stop comparing ourselves to others and stretch ourselves, to better ourselves and improve our lives, we can be happy with that.

  • says:

    You can use the propped iPad or kindle trick to read while knitting too! I do it often.

  • AK says:

    As another “voracious” reader, I think my answer to this might be: “How do you NOT find time to read?” 🙂

    I read constantly, in every available nook and cranny- as you say.

    If I don’t have a book, I start to read junk mail and cereal boxes. So, I’ve learned to have a book ready in arm’s reach. (Smile)

    I have five children and homeschool, and nothing has ever deterred me from reading. I love it! I’ve read while nursing, while riding in the car, while waiting for kids to finish activities, and…now that I’m an adult…even during less formal meal times. (Shhh…my father hates reading at the table! Wink!) I have found that it is helpful to keep a book stashed in my purse, one in the car, and also to have them strategically dropped about the house.

    Congrats to you on your reading successes.

    Your approach to thinking about your schedule has inspired me to re-think my avoidance of exercise, because I often don’t have “time” for it.

    I’m looking at my schedule afresh and thinking of a lifestyle where exercise MUST find a place– then getting creative with the ways I can fit it in…without losing reading time, of course. (Wink)

    Blessings.

  • says:

    I read just about any time I have a little “down time”: in the morning, before I go to bed, while my kids are napping, on a trip, while I’m nursing my baby, etc.

    I don’t read large amounts at once: just a chapter here and there, but it adds up!

    Reading is important (and so is WHAT you’re reading!). I notice that as my kids get older, they are starting to pick up the “habit” of reading too. I love that!

  • says:

    I try to always keep a book (or my Kindle) in my purse, so I can grab a few minutes of reading whenever I’m waiting. Otherwise, nighttime is my main reading time – sometimes in larger blocks, but I try to get a chapter or two in every night.

  • says:

    Totally agree about reading while waiting! I never leave the house without a book, because I just never know when I will end up having to wait. I also read in the evening while my husband is watching sports or a movie.

  • Ashley P says:

    I read the only 2 times I have available: on the train to work, and at work!

    I do my Bible study on the train to and from work and during my breaks at work. I have a Bible app on my phone and do my daily readings, then just slip the phone in my pocket when it’s time to get off the train.

    And since my job is a mundane desk job that allows me to wear headphones, I download audio books from the library and listen to books while I work. Ok, it’s not “reading” per se, but it’s the closest thing I can get right now.

    • Marissa Taylor says:

      Right there with you, Ashley. Lately I’ve been “reading” audiobooks at work. It’s the only way I get any reading in. I hit up Audible or wait for audiobook deals to hit Discountbooksdaily.com. Right now, I’m “reading” Gabrielle Bernstein’s “May Cause Miracles.”

  • says:

    Your tips are great – I do all of these too – along with two others – keep a book in the car and read while cooking (as long as the kids aren’t helping me):

  • says:

    You must also be at least a somewhat fast reader 🙂 I’m pretty slow, so I read at my own speed, when I want to, and whatever books I finish I’m happy with. I am thankful that I can renew books online 3 times at the library–it lets me go once and get more books than I could finish in 2 weeks without having to make the long trip back.

    I read while my hubby watches football. (At least, I used to. Now I chase the toddler while he watches football. 🙂 ) Also, Sunday afternoons and before bed. I enjoy it, so I don’t feel like I have to “fit it in.” Love your strategies for people trying to make a new habit of it, though!

  • Carole says:

    If you like to read and have reading material available, it’s easy to find time. You read while waiting for a pot to boil, when others are watching tv, in the bathroom , or while waiting for any reason. Where there’s a will there’s a way.

  • Katie L says:

    I mostly read at night. I listen to audiobooks and news or other interesting/education podcasts while I clean and sometimes while I run. (I run more slowly with podcasts than with music, but sometimes it’s the only way I can motivate myself to get out there). Our library system has great audio resources as well as books and e-books.

  • says:

    I read before bedtime and also take a book with me to read if I have an extra minute (like waiting to pick my youngest son up from preschool or if my husband is driving). I also get 10 minutes while I am blow-drying my hair. Now that I have started using the elliptical this past week, I definitely want to use the Kindle to read while I run. The two days I didn’t take anything to do, the workout took forever. I caught up on news on my phone this morning and I was done before I knew it! 🙂

  • Mrs. R. says:

    These are wonderful tips, Crystal—thank you so much! I’m gonna copy some, too. 🙂

    In the photo, it looks as if you’re knitting my current favorite pattern….and with beautiful yarn. May I ask what you’re using?

    • Crystal says:

      I think it’s something from the Martha Stewart line. I got it awhile back from a deal site and it was a collection of yarn from that line. I loved the color!

  • says:

    Currently, I’m nursing my infant and find this is a perfect time to read – either to myself or my older kids! I’ve been able to read quite a few books this way and I feel so much more accomplished than if I had just wasted a bunch of time on or ! 🙂

  • Denise Montgomery says:

    I combine my kindle and let the stories speak to me while I knit or crochet, it is most relaxing and I can turn the TV off.

  • Rachel says:

    I have been getting a lot of reading done while feeding my son. He is seven months old, and all of those feeding sessions really add up to a lot of time. He is my third child (ages 4, 2 and 7 mos)and I was wondering how I would find time to read. When he was 2 months I decided during feelings I would not turn on the tv but read instead. I now tell any expectant mother to hit the library before delivery!

  • Kathy says:

    We have a family reading time during school. Everyone reads…including me. My oldest son likes to read with me at night. We cuddle and read.

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