When I was in high school I was a voracious reader. I could read a book every day of the week – even during the school year. (Yes, that meant homework took second fiddle sometimes. Oops) But as the years have gone by I have read for fun less and less. It didn’t happen overnight but suddenly in 2016 I realized I read a total of 1 book and 3/4 of a second book. Those nearly 2 books were read on my vacation this summer and then there was nothing else. I never even finished that second, nearly completed book in the 5 months remaining in the year after my vacation. Shame Shame.
Then in December I came across an article about the things that all successful people do. (Honestly, usually I roll my eyes at these articles that claim ALL of any group does something, but it intrigued me enough to click through and read the article.) Most of the things were pretty basic. Successful people wake up early, they delegate tasks, they don’t have all their eggs in one basket. Yeah, yeah. But the article also said they all read and read a lot! They are always learning and growing and expanding their vocabulary. A lot of the people interviewed said they read about a book a week. And then I felt shamed. A book a week? And I can’t even read a book every 6 months?!
So for 2017 I decided to read two books a month. When I told a couple friend this they laughed at the impractical nature of my plan. But for me, one book a month seemed too little and any more than two seemed improbable especially in short and busy months like February. So two it was.
After I made the goal for 2017, I realized I needed to have an actual plan of attack. I wasn’t going to magically have more time. I have a full time job, several volunteer positions, a blog and all the social media that goes with that, a family and friends to keep up with, etc… I wasn’t going to suddenly find hours each month to sit curled up with a book. But there had to be a way. So I got creative with the reading and found there are a number of chances every day to ‘read’ that are often wasted minutes. In the month of January I read 2 books and 3/4 or two others. (Yeah I am one of those people who reads different books at the same time.) So, here’s how to read more without having more time.
5 Wasted Moments I Now Spend Reading:
Car rides. I’m a music gal, so usually I’m rocking out in the car as I drive to and from work, run errands, and travel to visit family and friends. But my work commute alone accounts for at least 5 hours every week. In 5 hours each week, you can make a serious dent to a book on tape. In the first week of January I knocked out one book just in this time.
Cooking. Cooking, baking, dishes, really any kitchen task is easy to fill with an audio book over music or the TV. Although if you are attempting a recipe that takes a lot of concentration or if you aren’t too careful when wielding a knife, I wouldn’t recommend further distracting yourself with a complicated book.
Aerobic exercise at the gym. I need music to power me through HIIT workouts, but if I am doing the stairmaster or a comfortable long jog on the treadmill I don’t need music to power me through. I can achieve the same workout while listening to an audio book. (I tried this a couple times while doing a weight-circuit exercise but it is a little tricky when you are counting reps and trying to pay attention to the book’s plot.)
Cleaning house. Sweeping the floor, cleaning the bathrooms, dusting. All of these are fairly mindless tasks, which means a book on tape is a great option to listen to while getting these weekly household chores knocked out.
Laundry. Whether it is folding clothes, ironing, etc… Skip the Netflix binging and opt for an audio book instead. It makes the dreaded task of laundry go by quicker and gets you through a book too.