This year, I am on track to read 50 books. Not only am I reading more than I ever have, but I’m enjoying it more than I ever have. You know why? Because I read what I want when I want to read it.
I’m an adult.
I can do this (and you can too).
In addition to reading what I want, I have five tips for making more time for reading. Here’s how I do it with four kids…
Eliminate to make more room.
Minimalism is often equated with material possessions, but in our family we have adopted it as a mindset. Instead of getting spread thin doing a million different things half-well, we focus on becoming really good at a few things. There is no one right way to do this, only choose what is important to you. We have friends who bond over family nights at the softball field and other friends who bond over the Harry Potter movies. Neither of those are our thing. Coffee is our thing. Politics are our thing. Reading is our thing. It works best for us to schedule a regular time each day to read. I hardly ever watch television or shows, so this leaves early mornings and evenings free for me to get in my book time. I read to my toddler every day before his nap and keep a basket of board books next to his bed for easy access. Me and the older kids always have a chapter book we’re reading through together. I often have them do a simple chore (like folding laundry or matching socks) while I read to them or sometimes while they’re sitting at the lunch table with their sandwiches I’ll read then. This keeps their hands busy and their attention focused.
Lysa Terkeurst’s book The Best Yes was probably the biggest motivation for me to prioritize and eliminate things in our life so that we had time for the things we enjoy.
Read what you like.
If you don’t enjoy reading, you’re probably reading something you feel like you should read not what you actually want to read. I hear from moms all of the time who say they want to read, but can’t seem to find the time. My first question is always, “What are your reading?” And then my second question is, “If you could read what you reeeeeally wanted to, what would it be?” And then I tell them to read that.This is the stuff of middle schoolers. Stop it. We are adults now. Like what you like and read what you want to read. I happen to love anything about business or life-hacking, but I acknowledge that a lot of women just want a good beach read to escape in for a few minutes. Hear me when I say, “This is totally okay!” Reading should not feel like a chore. As Gretchen Rubin says in Better Than Before, “We won’t make ourselves more creative and productive by copying other people’s habits, even the habits of geniuses; we must know our own nature, and what habits serve us best.” To find your style of reading, visit the Modern Mrs Darcy blog and Anne’s popular podcast What Should I Read Next.
Consider the timing.
We’ve all heard it said, “Timing is everything.” and in my experience, books are no exception. I am a much faster reader (and will retain more) when a book is on a subject that interest me at that particular time. Post US election I devoured Megyn Kelley’s book, “Settle For More” and when our country was faced with the controversial refugee crisis I began reading Seeking Refuge. Ask yourself what you’re curious about, or can never get enough of, and explore books in that field.
Create a book budget.
Creating a book budget depends on your reading goals. You can read for totally free utilizing your local library. You’ll have 2 weeks, maybe 4 weeks max, to complete a book and that can be a great motivator to finish. But if you are like me and read some books for research or personal development you may like to have a copy that you can underline and refer back to. I have a book budget and expect to spend about $50 a month on a combination of my Audible subscription and physical books. I consider this a business expense that has well paid for itself. I’ve saved thousands by not paying for college courses, as well as saved time by learning how to build better systems for my business and our home.
Organize and set goals.
Studies show that being able to see your progress goes a long way towards successfully reaching your goals. Enter the app, Goodreads. It has been life changing for me to have one place to organize all of the books I have read, want to read, and am currently reading via their digital filing system. I also set a yearly goal for myself on the app and keep track of how I’m doing throughout the year. It has a little social element to it, which you can use or choose to ignore. You can find friends on there and see what they’re reading, ratings they’ve given other books, and reviews they’ve written (which helps me narrow down my choices when I realistically will never have enough time to read everything on my wish list).
Go green where you can.
Buy used books from the online resale store Thriftbooks and never pay full price for an older title again (this is not a great resource for newer releases). The shipping is slower (4-14 days) than the 2-day turnaround of Amazon, but they are so cheap it’s worth it.
Download the app Audible and listen to books while you’re driving, doing laundry, or washing the dishes. Increase your listening speed and get through books twice as fast.
Do you still feel like at the end of the day you have to ask yourself what you actually accomplished? You know you did something, but you have nothing to show for it? Let me help you with my FREE productivity tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your day HERE.