Do you wish you had more time to read? Life is hectic and most of us feel as though we could do with more downtime in our days. The all too easy distractions of social media and streaming services mean that even with the best intentions, many of us don’t read as much as we’d like too. Reading is great for broadening the mind, entertainment, relaxation and practicing mindfulness. Here are the top five tips to read more books.
Tip #5 Join a Book Club
Book clubs are a fantastic way for people who share a love of books and reading to get together, share insights and compare reads on a regular basis. The added bonus is that the structure of book club and the expectation that everyone will have read the book by the next meeting is a great motivator to prioritise your reading. Starting a book club can be as easy as getting a group of friends together who have a shared interest in reading and agreeing to get together once a month or every six weeks – whatever timeframe is realistic for everyone. Set some ground rules and be prepared that like anything worthwhile, book clubs require some work and a level of commitment from everyone in the group in order to be successful. The benefits are that you are reading more regularly, extending your reading interests and have a great excuse for regular, social catch ups with a group of like-minded people.
Tip #4 What to Read
Sometimes just finding a book you want to read is half the battle. Subscribe to a book blog (such as The Reading Edit http://www.thereadingedit.com) and follow The Reading Edit and other #bookstagrammers on social media (@the.reading.edit). Search Instagram using popular tags to find a Bookstagrammer with similar reading interests to you and follow them for recommendations:
Pop into a bookshop and support independent book sellers! As well as loving to chat all things books, independent book sellers often have a wall of best sellers or popular fiction in store. Alternatively, you can browse their websites for details on new releases and sign up to receive their newsletter. Don’t forget your local library is a great resource too.
Tip #3 Eliminate Distractions
Be prepared to put the phone down and turn the TV off. Leave your phone in a different room if you have too. At night, use the Settings app on your phone and set a regular, pre-determined time for the Do Not Disturb function. On the subject of eliminating distractions, it’s important to acknowledge that there will rarely be a time when there are no distractions at all, so don’t wait for the conditions to be perfect or you’ll never get to that book. Try to unwind at regular intervals of 10 – 20minutes throughout the day (or even longer if you can). Think of all the times during the day when you are scrolling through your phone. What if you picked up a book at some of those times instead? What a great example we would set for our children if they saw us picking up a book instead of picking up our phone.
Tip #2 Try to fit some reading into every day – and don’t wait until bed time!
Do you get into bed exhausted at the end of the day, pick up your book, read two paragraphs and fall asleep? Time to move that book off the bedside table, take it out into the world and show it a good time! Carry a book with you throughout the day and you’ll be surprised how many opportunities present to do some reading. Even a 10minute window can be an opportunity for a few quick pages. Don’t begrudge only reading two or three pages at a sitting. Each time your brain switches into reading mode, you are also switching it into mindfulness mode and the more you practise this, not only will you get better at reading, but you’ll reap the benefits of mindfulness practise. In addition, taking the opportunity to read several times throughout the day is also great for keeping you engaged with the story. Try these tips to get more reading into every day:
- Set the alarm 20 minutes earlier in the morning, make yourself a tea or coffee and enjoy the serenity of sitting outside with the birds and a book to start your day.
- Go to bed half an hour earlier, make sure you phone is on Do Not Disturb and enjoy unwinding with a book. You’ll sleep much better and have better engagement with the story.
Reading is like running. It might seem hard at first – you can’t concentrate, you have trouble finding the time, there’s too many distractions – but like running, the more often you do it, the easier it gets.
Tip #1 It’s a Matter of Priorities
How do some people get up at 5am to go to the gym before work? How do people find time to volunteer? To play club sport? To study as well as work a full-time job? It must be because they’re not as busy as the rest of us, right? They must have help – grandparents, cleaners, a better boss etc.
Everyone is busy. And yes, some people are busier than others, but how we spend our time each day is a matter of PRIORITIES. You get up an hour earlier to go to the gym because exercise and good health is a PRIORITY for you. You study while working full time with a young family because obtaining that qualification to get a better job, earn more money and potentially have a more successful career is a PRIORITY to you.
It’s the same with reading. People who read a lot of books do so because reading and the escapism, relaxation, broadening of the mind and the entertainment they get from reading is important to them.
So, if you want to make more time for reading in your life, it has to be a priority over other things, such as scrolling through your phone, mindlessly watching tv for hours and doing boring chores like cleaning the house. We are always told to make time for ourselves and the things we love and the various benefits that result when we do so such as improved mental health, better sleep and increased productivity. It can be as simple as picking up a book.
So there you have the top five tips to read more books. Now, if only I could get up at 5am to go to the gym….