Want to read more but just can't seem to find the time? You're not alone. There are millions out there just like you. They have great intentions to do a great many things but amid the ever increasing responsibilities and tasks of life can't find the time to get'er done.
What I'm going to share with you today are a few handy little ways you can change all that, no matter what it is you can't find time to do. Since my personal struggle and that of many of my friends is finding time to read however, we will use reading as our backdrop.
1. Set goals
Reading is just like anything else in life, it isn't going to just happen. Not only do you need to make reading a goal, but you have to break it down into smaller daily goals as well. So if you purpose to "read more" in 2016, you'll have to start by defining exactly what "more" is for you. But more than that, it is extremely helpful to set a goal to read a particular number of pages each day. This daily goal will help you see progress towards your overall reading goal and define exactly what you must do each day to take steps towards accomplishing it.
If you set a goal of 10 pages per day, you'll end up reading 3650 pages in 2016. This small daily effort in pursuit of your goal, will get you there in the end.
2. Turn off the TV
This one won't make me popular but it needs to be said, we waste too much time sitting in front of the TV. A 2014 study found that the average American age 15 or older spends roughly 2.8 hours per day watching television. Imagine if we invested that much time on reading next year. My wife and I do this from time to time for what we call reading nights and love it. After dinner we pull out our books, snuggle up on the couch and spend the evening reading.
Instead of watching The Voice or the next episode of your favorite show on Netflix, pull out a book and read for 30 minutes. I promise it will change your life.
3. Redeem potentially wasted time
The average American commutes 28 minutes or more to and from work each day. That's potentially over five hours of wasted time each week. That might be fine if the wasted time ended there, but sadly it doesn't. How much time do you spend doing household chores such as cooking, cleaning, laundry or lawncare each week? Add those hours to the time you spend commuting each day and that's a lot of wasted time! The great thing is, it doesn't have to be. Why not redeem back this time by using it to accomplish your reading goals and learn?
Download an audio book and let it feed your mind while doing these activites. I've personally been using this method whenever I'm in the car, mowing the lawn or helping around the house and find it an absolutely fantastic way to recapture this time.
4. Learn to say no
As I've confessed previously, it's hard for me to say "no" when a new request comes in. But if I don't discipline myself and learn to say no, I quickly become over committed and allow an ever growing schedule to crowd out the things that are most important to me. Isn't it funny how when things get crazy the first things we drop are the things that keep our heads screwed on straight?
Niether of us can do it all. We just aren't built for it and the more we try the more problems it causes for us. Healthy boundries are good for more important reasons than finding time to read but in learning to say no and manage your calander, you'll find that you actually have more time for the things that are most important to you.
5. Get up earlier
This won't be popular but it is a sure fire way to create more time to read in your schedule. Getting up even 15 minutes earlier will give you ample time to turn a few pages before heading out the door to work.
Give it a test run and see how it goes.
6. Use your lunch break
Audio is great and I am thankful for it, but I personally prefer to do the majority of my reading with a physical book in my hand. Which means that I have to leverage the little nooks and crannies of my day to accomplish my daily reading goals. One of my favorite times to read is over my lunch break. It gives me an extra hour of reading time each day and is a key to my reading success.
Take your lunch to work or pick up something quick and use it as a great opportunity to knock out a few pages.
7. Involve others
It is amazing what telling someone else what you are going to do impacts your follow through. If I'm the only one who knows I was planning to do something it becomes much easier to fudge and put it off. But when we invite other people into our world and share our goals with them, we don't want to let them down and our likelyhood of following through increases dramatically.
Share what you are reading with other people in your life and perhaps invite them to come along for the ride.