I’ve been an avid reading buff since I can remember. But as adult-ing set in, the interest began to slow down and being too busy was a major factor. As a result of this, I knew something had to be done when I noticed there were a lot of people with a similar challenge – So I founded a reading community. This means I get to host events entirely around reading. The offshoot of this is that I meet other reading enthusiasts – women who are voracious readers, but also, women whose love for reading is affected by a growing absence time.
Some of the common phrases I’ve heard go something like:
“I can’t seem to find the time to read.”
“There’s no time to read.”
“I’m too busy to read.”
“I work 24/7 and barely have time for myself.”
“I’m a stay at home mum with toddlers and a husband to take care of.”
“I juggle a 9to5 and a side hustle.”
I guess it’s safe to say there are a million and one legitimate reasons not to read. But if you love it, you should find a way around it. Today I share a few tips that might help.’
Dedicate at least 15 – 30 minutes daily to reading
In 15 to 30 minutes, you are likely to finish a chapter if it is a short chaptered-book, or about half the chapter if it is a rather long read. Setting a time frame makes you see how easily we can accomplish some of the activities we find difficult. You can also set a timer, using the Pomodoro Technique I wrote about some months ago. This allows you to stay focused within the time frame.
Read a Chapter a day
You can opt for this strategy if you are a slow reader like me or you like to take your time engaging and meditating in between the lines. You can begin by reading at least one chapter a day. Let’s say a book has fifteen chapters for example, in fifteen days (or twenty days, giving room for getting really busy on some days), you would have completed a book in a month, no matter how busy you were!
Pick a time of the day that is most comfortable for you
This could be the early hours of the morning. This works best if you usually beat the traffic to get to work way earlier than the start of business. On the other hand, you can do late in the evening before you go to bed. I know some would probably want to be on Instagram to ease off the day’s stress but if we’ve been talking about healthy habits, you are better-of ending the day with a good read. Lunch hour is another good option and if you are social media savvy, you can take good pictures for the gram but be careful not to get lost in it – whew!
Start with the chapter that interests you the most
With this, you do not necessarily have to start from chapter one. This is great for non-fiction reads. If you are reading a book to gather knowledge and information, begin with a chapter that connects with you the most. For example, I recently finished reading the book, Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman. It was a tough and lengthy read. Tough, because it was not the usual read for relaxation type of book. I was reading it for a reason, I had a ‘why’ to it. So, I started with the introduction and jumped to Chapter 8 – Social Acts, then to chapter 13, and continued picking randomly as the need arose. I completed the whole book in less than a month despite my busy schedule.
Intentional reading is far from ticking off the numbers of books you have read in a month. Or writing a beautiful caption that wows everyone. If you have a question you need answers to, pick a book that is connected to that. By doing this, you have a ‘why’ for reading and you are more motivated to pick the book and read. This way, it doesn’t feel like an assignment you are pressured to do.
Choose reading mediums that work for you
Think audiobooks. Listen while driving, as you work out, as you talk a walk or run, as you go around chores or as you relax at home. I really don’t recommend that you combine listening to audio books as you work especially if it requires being mindfully engaged. This sort of multitasking will only make you miss out details in either from the work at hand or in the book or either both.
I hope with these tips, you will be able to adopt one or two that works for you and smash those reading challenges.