To say I’m a bookworm is a bit of an understatement. I’m the girl who knows the librarian by name, brings a book in her purse no matter where she goes, and considers wandering the aisles of Barnes and Noble a spectacular afternoon. I usually have a goal of reading fifty books a year and more often than not, I exceed it.
I frequently share book recommendations on Instagram. About half of the time I share a snapshot, I’m sent a message inquiring how I can possibly have time to read. After all, I have two kids, own two small businesses, and write books of my own! But like anything worth doing, it’s all about making time for things in your schedule. I used to be one of those people who constantly talked about how busy they were. Then I came across a recommendation to start re-phrasing the idea that “I don’t have time for that” as, “That’s not a priority right now.” That one little change helped me that the things I give my time to are, de facto, my priorities, and, conversely, that the things I think are my priorities are what I should give my time to. For me, reading is a priority, so I fit it in—simple as that. There are tons of science-proven benefits of reading, from better sleep to higher empathy. But for me, it’s also simply an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
If you have big goals to tackle a reading list this year, here are some ways to squeeze more minutes out of your fringe hours and finally start turning the pages of your goal.
01. Don’t finish books that aren’t to your taste.
If you’re anything like me, you have a hard time not finishing a book. But it doesn’t matter who says that novel on your bedside table is an American classic—if it feels like homework every night, you’re not going to read it. There are thousands of amazing books out there; don’t waste your time with ones you don’t actually like even if they’re popular with others. Here’s your official permission to put something down after the first chapter if you aren’t feeling it.
02. Look at what can be eliminated from your schedule.
Time to be honest—how important is reading to you? To fit something into your schedule, something else obviously needs to be cut. Maybe it’s your nightly Netflix binge, that extra thirty minutes of sleep in the morning, or you daily Instagram scroll over lunch. Find something in your life that isn’t serving you, and cut it to make room for books. Reading is like any other habit; it may take a while to form, but practice makes perfect.
03. Craft a reading list.
Visuals always help with goal setting. If you’re the type of person who likes checking things off a list, curate a list of books you want to read this year and go at it! If you need some inspiration, head to Pinterest—there are pins for everything from Rory Gilmore-approved books to must-read cozy mystery lists.
04. Go outside the box.
If your schedule is truly jam-packed, consider audio books! Snag an Audible subscription or ask your local library if they have an audio book program. Audio books can be a great way to get your reading in; listen while you walk to class or drive to work in order to start your day peacefully and check some books off your list. Also, consider picking up books you wouldn’t normally gravitate towards. If you love historical fiction, try out a non-fiction work on the time period of your choice. If you can’t get enough biographies, try a novel that takes place within your favorite historical figure’s lifetime. One of my favorite places to learn about new books is Instagram—just search the hashtag #bookstagram!
05. Bring a book with you everywhere.
My family often teases me for this, but I bring a book everywhere. Hey, if my car breaks down and I have to wait for a tow truck, I’ll be prepared! But in all seriousness, when other people whip out their phones or people watch, I simply prefer to read. So if you’re early meeting someone for coffee or headed to the carpool line, bring a book to occupy your time. You’d be amazed how much reading you can get done if you simply resolve to fill your waiting time with books.
Imagine looking over your list next December and having finally read some of the books that you’ve been meaning to. With a little planning and a touch of intentionality, you’ll find yourself fitting in that pile of books in no time.