It is New Year’s Eve! The time of the year when people who either don’t read much or have drifted apart from their reading habit take up a resolution to read more. It is also the time when many bibliophiles decide what reading challenges to sign up for in the upcoming year and wonder if they can read ‘X’ number of books. Whichever category you belong to, it can be difficult to find time for reading.
Here are three simple and effective ways to make time for reading:
1) Keep a book with you at all times
This may sound strange to people who are not avid readers, but people who read a lot almost always have a book with them. In fact, some bookaholics will roll their eyes at this point because it is too obvious. Though simple, it is an important habit. If you don’t plan and pack a book with you, you won’t be able to squeeze in some reading when you find yourself unoccupied.
You don’t have to haul heavy luggage to hold your books. If you carry a backpack for your daily commute, you can easily accommodate a book or two in there. This can even act as your rucking workout if you pack enough books. If you are going to an event and have a dainty little bag, you can carry a pocket-sized book. If you like to switch between books based on your mood, you can carry two or more books with you.
It doesn’t even have to be a physical book. Unless you are a member of the “I only read the printed word” group, you can opt for books in digital formats, as explained in the next points.
2) Get access to ebooks – library/e-reader/mobile apps
Having access to ebooks can help immensely because you can just read from your phone anywhere, anytime. See a long queue in the checkout? That’s 5-10 minutes of reading. Waiting for the lift? That’s about a minute of reading. The business meeting where you aren’t really needed, but you still have to show up is yet to start? You can read something on your phone in the guise of checking emails or something… you get the idea.
There are many libraries that allow you to borrow ebooks and audiobooks. Apps like Libby let you borrow a book from your library. You can even scout a library in your locality and register as a member through the app.
Owning an electronic reader lets you have many books with you at all times. They usually come with a mobile app that syncs your books and reading progress across devices. So you don’t even have to carry around your e-reader with you at all times. Not convinced? Here is a post of me listing the pros and cons of my Kindle.
If you are doubtful of whether you would like an e-reader, find a friend who has one and try it out. A lot of bibliophiles will be more than happy to convert you into a fellow reader.
Like the idea of e-reader but not sure if you will actually like reading ebooks? There are apps that let you download classic books legally for free. You can try them out and see how you like them before deciding whether you would be comfortable with e-readers.
Note: Substituting electronic readers for reading physical books in a well-lit room may not be in the best interest for your eyes. Is it harmless for your eyes? No. Is it better than your phone/tab/laptop and other screens? Yes! So if you are going to be spending time on your e-reader instead of your phone, then definitely go for it. Otherwise, ask your ophthalmologist.
3) Listen to audiobooks
I know some people wouldn’t call listening to audiobooks as reading. But here is the thing. Whether you want to read a book to have fun or to learn something, why does it matter if you consume the content from text or audio? What is the difference between a podcast and an audiobook? As long as it is educative/entertaining and you have grasped the content, the format doesn’t matter.
The advantage of listening to audiobooks is that you can go about doing your chores while listening, which saves up a lot of time. Unlike physical books or e-readers, you don’t have to hold anything, so you can listen to an audiobook while doing the laundry or lunges. If your New Year’s resolution consists of fitness as well as reading goals, swap your workout playlist with an audiobook.
There are many audiobook services that deliver quality stuff. You can check out the trial of any of these services and see if you like them before purchasing. You can also check if your library lets you borrow audiobooks. There are also websites like LibriVox where volunteers record audiobooks and make it available for free download. You should also be able to find mobile apps that let you download ebooks and audiobooks from the public domain, meaning free of cost and legal.
Bonus Tip: Look up speed reading. Here is a link from Tim Ferriss’ blog on this topic. And below is a YouTube video I liked on speed reading: