(Photo Courtesy of Wallpaper Craft)
I frequently get asked how I find time to read, so I thought I would expand on the answer here.
If you’ve been reading here any length of time, you know books are important to me. A few months ago I listed every reason to read I could think of, and all of those reasons are important. So because reading is a priority, I make time for it. But I really don’t find that hard to do. Granted, I am in a season of life that makes it a little easier: when I had young children in the home, I may not have read as much, but I did always try to spend some time each day reading. A few years ago I saw a comment on 5 Ways to Make More Time to Read that resonated with me: a Michael D. Perkins commented, “Reading allows me to thrive. If I don’t, then I feel stagnant.” I feel exactly the same way. If I don’t have some time to read every day, I feel mentally and intellectually dry and dull.
I read more some days than others, but I do try to read (from books, not just the computer) every day. I rarely just sit down during the day for a lengthy time with a book unless I’m in a part where I don’t want to put it down or unless I am not feeling well. Here’s where I usually fit in in:
1. In the bathroom. I hope that isn’t crass or TMI. 🙂 I used to have a link to a cute article on that, but apparently it has been taken down. In searching for it I did find Why Do Some People Read in the Bathroom amusing. It’s mainly a profitable way to spend the necessary time in there, rather than just staring at the wall. More than one person referred to it as their Fortress of Solitude. 🙂 Some think it is unsanitary, but I don’t think a book left in the bathroom is tainted any more than the clothes you’re wearing while in there, your toothbrush, etc.
2. Any waiting time. If I am going to a doctor or dentist, a book is a must. Not only does it help pass the time in an edifying way, but it helps me combat nervousness by occupying my mind. Also, before the boys started driving on their own, I usually took a book with me when I picked them up from a youth activity or ball practice. That way if their event ran overtime, instead of stewing in impatience I looked on it as a few stolen moments to read.
3. Driving. Well, not while I’m driving. But if we’re going somewhere more than 20-30 minutes away, I bring something to read. I’m thankful I can do that: I know it makes some people carsick to read in the car.
4. Sundays. We’re not legalistic about it, but we try to make Sundays different and more restful than other days by not doing any work other than what it takes to get to and from church and meals on the table and then cleaned up. Sometimes we don’t really get to rest until after the evening services, but it’s nice to come home then and relax, knowing that I don’t have to toss some laundry in or whatever. Sometimes these days we’re Face Timing with Jeremy or doing something with the kids or doing stuff on the computer on Sunday evenings, but otherwise, if there is time, I like to stretch out on the couch with a good book.
5. Evenings. If there’s nothing on TV and everyone is otherwise occupied, I might pull out a book.
6. Meals. Usually if I am home by myself, I am at the computer for breakfast and lunch. But sometimes when I have had enough of the computer, I’ll read a bit while eating.
7. In conjunction with devotions. If I am reading a Christian non-fiction book that is not a biography, this is when I’ll usually work it in. Just occasionally I will take a break from reading the Bible through and read a book like this in place of devotions, or I might read it after devotions. But it takes a different mindset for me to read non-fiction: I can’t just pick it up here and there and get as much out of it like I can with fiction. I like to read it in chapters or at least in sections at a time.
8. Audiobooks. I began listening to them when we moved to our present location and I had more driving time than I was used to. I don’t enjoy time in the car at all, and I used to chafe at a 20-minute drive (though I know some people would think that is a dream commute time). But listening to an audiobook if I am by myself makes the time fly by. Now I also listen to them while getting dressed and fixing my hair in the mornings and occasionally while cooking. Classics are especially good for that: they often have some slow passages, and I don’t mind that nearly as much if I am doing something with my hands while listening. They’ve enabled me to get to many more books that I would otherwise.
9. Exercising. I know some who read while on the treadmill or stationary bike. I couldn’t do that on the treadmill – I guess my head bobs too much, but the constant up and down motion made it hard to read. I have listened to audiobooks, however, while exercising, and they made the time go much faster.
I used to be pretty much a one book at a time person. But now I usually have one in the bathroom, one with my Bible, one audiobook, and one on my Kindle app for those unexpected waiting times. As I said earlier, I rarely just sit down and spend an hour with a book: usually I read in snatches anywhere from 5-20 minutes at a time. But you can get through a decent amount of material in 15 minutes or so a day.
How about you: do you fit reading into times I haven’t thought of?