How to Find Time to Read When You’re Mega Busy

Reading a Book Even When You're Busy

How to Find Time to Read. Photo: Karoly Czifra, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr

It’s not a news flash that days fly by, particularly at the holidays. When one of your favorite pastimes is reading, it’s great to be able to make time for it. Books are great for teaching us about the world, escaping realities and even making us laugh. Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy to find the time to read… or so it seems. Between work, family and more, the minutes seem to go so fast. Here are some ways to find time to read even when you’re mega busy.

Prioritize Tasks

Aha, you say, but I already prioritize my day. Okay, I get that, but what about that time when you are watching television or playing a Facebook game? If you want to make more time to read in your day, prioritize tasks. This means that if you would rather read than watch TV, that’s what you do. Turn off the television set and replace that hour of TV with an hour of reading. Ta-da, there’s your reading time!

Get Creative

Are you working a lot and think it’s impossible to find extra time to read a book? Get creative with how you fit in the reading time. You get breaks in your work shifts, so take at least some of that time to read a few pages of the latest books like Accursed Women and Courier. Rather than staring out the window in the breakroom at work, you’re making time to fit in an activity you enjoy. Plus, then you look forward to your breaks as you get to immerse yourself into an awesome story (okay, you probably look forward to your breaks anyway!).

Try Short Stories and Poems

If you feel like your daily schedule is bursting at the seams, and you can’t possibly find time to read a book, why not try reading a few short stories or poems instead? They require less of a commitment than aΒ fiction book with a single plot. You can pick up a piece of flash fiction or a poem and read it within minutes. Be warned though, if you liked the piece then you may want to read more by the same author or reread that page again!

Books and Friends

Also,Β do you like meeting friends for coffee or hanging out at the mall? How about you add in a book outing now and then with your friends too? Rather than going to local coffee shop to hang out every Sunday, maybe every other weekend you could all bring the latest book you read with you to talk about them. You will find new books to read, be able to talk about literary subjects and make reading a priority because you know you will be meeting your friends to talk about books.

Ultimately, making time to read when you’re super busy has to be something that you commit to doing. As you’re already going here, there and everywhere, reading also needs to be an activity that you enjoy doing. If you would rather knit, draw or do another hobby, then you are more than welcome to substitute those items in the suggestions above, rather than reading. The main point is to have fun in your day and pursue activities you enjoy.

How do you fit reading into your day?

Β©2014 Christy Birmingham

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88 thoughts on “How to Find Time to Read When You’re Mega Busy

  1. charlypriest

    Most of the time I actually have to go on “lock down” mode, sit in a comfy chair and read inside the house. I live in Spain, I write and read in English IΒ΄m into literature and my friends think this thing of mine, literature is a joke. So I just sit and read while listening to Mozart. O.k maybe Mozart was a bit off, but sit and read in a comfy sofa in my comfy bedroom.

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    1. Christy Birmingham Post author

      I think it’s great that you are versatile in Spanish and in English. Reading is important to you and I’m glad you spend time doing it in spite of what your friends may think of it. Sitting on a comfy couch to read is great!

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  2. Liesa Malik

    I like your idea about “commitment.” Without it, I get no where. Sometimes it helps to set a goal — I’ll read this chapter or these pages at lunch. It’s hard for me, though, to get into a new book when there isn’t a chunk of time to help me get “hooked” (usually about 50 pages or an hour or more of time). Thanks for the thoughts!

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  3. ladysighs

    Do you know it’s just as hard to find time to read when you are not mega busy? 😦 You don’t have to prioritize. You already have plenty of time to read. But somehow you put it off because you will have plenty of time to do it later. lol Plenty of time to read after you create a few blog posts. πŸ™‚ I really do learn lots and lots of new things reading blogs, so I guess I’m covered. πŸ™‚

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  4. Billybuc

    Reading is something that I schedule into my day. I finish every night with one hour of reading to relax me and prepare me for sleep. It is a non-negotiable treat for myself. πŸ™‚

    Happy holidays, Christy!

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  5. the dune mouse

    wonderful advice Christy!! It’s sometimes hard during a day to make the time. My fave time is still bedtime with a good book or my kobo!! It’s my reward! I’m becoming my own mom and have added a hot chocolate to the ritual!! πŸ˜€

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  6. balroop2013

    Hi Christy,

    Would you believe I learnt to squeeze in reading time from my children? Whenever they would get a scolding, they would sulk with a book!
    Well, I was the one who inculcated that habit in my children and started reading to them when they were just toddlers but in that enthusiasm of being a super mother, I could hardly find time for my own reading!

    When I found them reading, even while eating, I knew my role was over and started keeping a book by my bedside and magazines near the dining table. Now it is so convenient with smart phones in our hands, we can utilise our free moments so well!

    Thanks for such meaningful reminders!

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    1. Christy Birmingham Post author

      Hi Balroop, that’s so interesting you learned about reading from your kids! What great memories you share here. I am not a parent but do hear parents often say they learn from their kids – here is your example!! πŸ™‚

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  7. thewhisperingpen

    Thank you for this post! I try to squeeze in reading wherever I can. I read on my breaks at work and right before I fall asleep. I have been very busy so I opted for the short story route. Not as fun as sinking my teeth into a novel or memoir, but reading nonetheless.

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  8. Resa

    I love reading. I love cooking. I love walking , and finding graffiti and taking pictures of it I love designing unwearable gowns, I love blogging, which is where I am being stimulated to write by reading this post of yours. I love knitting. (I have an honors degree in knitting design & technology).
    More loves have I, and still I read. Still, I’d like to read more.
    Love this post! πŸ™‚ xo

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  9. DG MARYOGA

    Oh Christy ! What an important issue you bring up ! I remember the piles of books I used to read and I feel guilty … Ah those social nets … ; they take up most of our spare time and it’s hard to find the balance… It’s sad though.Sooner or later we all realise that reading books is more relaxing than computing … Most encouraging post,dear Christy,especially for younger generations.Happy reading my friend πŸ™‚

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      1. DG MARYOGA

        Obviously,there is reading involved there too,but it is not the same … When I read a book,I usually undrline some parts and use text markers to highlight what I judge I like or what it really impresses me and quite often I add some more references to connect things … You know,I develop a very special relation with my books,that’s why I never lend them … So for me,reading from a book it makes a big difference … Have a creative day,dear Christy πŸ™‚

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  10. Tricia Drammeh

    I always fit reading in to my day, even if it’s just a few minutes before bed or while I’m waiting in the parking lot of my kids’ school. There have been times, though, that I’ve struggled with my reading time. Usually it isn’t a lack of time. It’s a lack of concentration. Sometimes I’m so busy and my thoughts are so scattered, I can concentrate on what I’m reading. Great post!

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  11. Andrea Stephenson

    For me, bedtime is the time when I read most – and the time I’m most likely to commit to it (even though I love doing it), though I do love the treat of reading in a quiet house in the middle of the day – or taking my lunch break at work, instead of eating at my desk – that’s something I need to do more regularly.

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  12. Pingback: Free Books and a Progress Report of My Book | Poetic Parfait

  13. Letizia

    Great post, Christy πŸ™‚ There’s always a way to make time to read as you point out! I always have a book with me so I can read in waiting rooms or cafes, impromptu “down” times as well as having a good sit-down at the end of the day. Hope you’re reading a good book these days.

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    1. Christy Birmingham Post author

      Waiting rooms are a great suggestion too – thanks. Letizia. I usually get there and am stuck with boring magazines. I’ll try to remember to pack books with me more for appointments! Right now I’m reading a book called The White Horseman. How about you, what’s the book you’re reading right now? πŸ™‚

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      1. Letizia

        Just looked up The White Horseman, sounds fascinating!

        I was in the middle of Americanah (so far, great book) but had to put it down to start reading Out Stealing Horses for my bookclub. So far it’s also quite good.

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  14. lscotthoughts

    Great post, Christy! Reading is so good for us of all ages so it’s important to find that time…my time is in the evening before I go to bed…a half hour to an hour depending on how tired I get. I usually read every night unless a good movie trumps the book. πŸ™‚
    Wishing you a new year filled with lots of time for reading! πŸ™‚ xo

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    1. Christy Birmingham Post author

      Hehe Lauren, I can just see you torn between watching the end of a movie and finishing a book πŸ™‚ Those are the kind of problems we don’t mind having! Thanks for sharing and I hope you read lots of good books in the New Year!

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  15. rollyachabotbooks

    Hi Christy… organizing and planning your day will give you time to sit and read. You have some wonderful tips here and certainly ones to take to heart… Nothing like a fireplace, cup of coffee and a good book to close the day…

    Hugs as always

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  16. Sue Dreamwalker

    Great tips for planning your reading schedule Christy.. I have a book on the go most times at the side of my bed.. and if I do not pick up my pen to write a poem then the book opens and I read a chapter or two…
    Happy Reading..
    And I always love reading what you have to say.. πŸ™‚ even though I know I am always a little late in catching what you wrote πŸ˜€ xxx
    Hugs
    Sue xox

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    1. Christy Birmingham Post author

      Hi Sue, I always appreciate when you stop by so thank you for that. I just knew you loved reading too! Reading and writing are such wonderful activities and ones we have in common xx Many hugs as we near the end of 2014. Love Christy

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  17. Rajagopal

    Useful tips christy… if the urge is there, reading happens
    just about anywhere, even while travelling or waiting
    around at airport lounges or railway stations or even
    while commuting to office. I read mostly
    non-fiction, due to my frequently interrupted
    sessions….

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    1. Christy Birmingham Post author

      True, if the urge to read is there, we can certainly make the time. Thanks Raj for adding in your own tips here. I am sure once you are fully moved that you will have more time to read (I hope so).

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  18. ladyelenauk

    Lovely read, Christy. There are quite a few inspirational books that I enjoy reading but fortunately they have the audio’s on Youtube. E.g Rhonda Byrne. So, I just listen to them on my phone while doing other tasks. πŸ™‚

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  19. Cynthia Pease

    For years I’ve been getting up between 4 and 5 in the morning in order to read one book then listen to another while I’m having coffee, and I still am often a few minutes late for work. I can’t live without reading every day. I used to knit and read and even do cross-stitch and read at the same time. With deteriorated eyesight, I can’t do that anymore, sigh.

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  20. Maria F.

    Christy, I was interested in telling you what I do. I recently discovered the “Speak Screen” feature in the “Accessibility” menu on the iPad. This feature “reads” the whole book out loud in Kindle so that I can “listen” instead of read. It’s a hit for me, because I was always interested in the Audiobooks, but they’re so pricey! This feature allows you to listen to the book. It has a ‘robotic’ voice, (The Audio books don’t, that’s why they are so pricey), but it’s effective. I don’t know whether the Samsung tablets have this feature, but I find it extremely useful. While listening, I can multitask more.

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  21. D.G.Kaye

    I steal all the moments I can for reading. I get an hour every night, and anytime I’m somewhere if there’s time, like waiting for appointments at doctor’s, a passenger in a car, I’m reading on my phone. πŸ™‚

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