On average I read about 2 books per week. You can check my work on my Goodreads page. Of course some of those weeks are taken up with a very long book and then made up for later on with short novellas or graphic novels that go much quicker. The point is, people always seem to be surprised when I tell them how much I read. So here are 5 ways to spend more time reading so that you too can shock and awe with your reading lists.
If you follow my Goodreads progress back a few years you can see that in 2016 I read only 32 books but I peaked in 2020 with a whopping 173. Now, we all remember 2020, that’s a bit of an anomaly, but clearly there is still the data to show a lot of progress in how many pages were read in those years.
I don’t want you to think that I somehow have more free time than everyone else and that’s the key to me tackling my TBR. I have a full time job, I have a video game addiction, I even have a husband and a few friends that I like to spend time with. But I did make a few lifestyle changes that allow me more time to read and I’m excited to share them with all of you bookish people out there.
5 Ways to Spend More Time Reading
- Analyze your free time
The first step in how to spend more time reading is to take a good hard look at how you’re actually spending your down time. You may feel like you have no free time left between work, school, chores, social life, and so on but I guarantee you there are pockets of time you’re wasting.
The biggest time suck for most of us is mindless scrolling on the phone. Download an app usage analyzer and monitor what your biggest time vampires are. I discovered I was spending over an hour total a day just on reddit alone (some days much more). Now, there’s nothing wrong with scrolling through some memes when you’re waiting for the microwave to beep but if you find that a couple minutes frequently turns into 30 you might want to cut that time down for something more productive.
I used app detox to set usage limits on apps like reddit and facebook to keep me aware of when to set the phone down. All of a sudden there was an extra hour or so in most of my days to pick up a book instead!
- Stop watching reruns
How many times have you rewatched The Office? Be honest with yourself. There are 201 episodes of The Office, averaging 22 minutes per episode. That means you’ve spend 4,422 minutes or 73.7 hours per completion cycle of watching The Office. If you watched all the way through twice this year you’ve spent 6.1 days watching The Office. That’s almost an entire week!
Maybe you’re not an office fan but you get the point. Whatever your comfort binge is (mine is The Simpsons) you can probably cut back a little bit. Turn off autoplay on all of your video streaming apps. Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, any of them.
When an episode ends ask yourself do you really want to play the next one or could you be doing something else like reading that book that’s been sitting on the counter all week? Even cutting back on one episode per day gives you time to read a chapter in that book. In order to spend more time reading you are going to have to make some sacrifices, but it’s okay, you won’t miss it!
Especially with streaming platforms cracking down on password sharing and removing content left and right, now is the perfect time to even save some money and just not renew those subscriptions. Treat yourself to a new book instead!
- Learn to not finish a chapter
So you found an extra half hour by cutting out an episode of a show you have memorized. Great! But this chapter is 37 pages long and there’s no way you can finish it before bedtime. Well, don’t finish the chapter.
If you only read when you have a full hour or more to dedicate to a book you’re never gonna find the time. Get comfortable with stopping mid chapter and you can read for 15 minutes at a time and get through a book in more manageable sections.
It’s going to feel strange at first just stopping at a paragraph break but being able to read on your short lunch at work is a much more satisfying use of that time than scrolling through your social media and getting jealous of how everyone else seems to not be at work right now.
Having this mindset going into a book will also make it feel less frustrating if you get interrupted. If you don’t have to get to a certain page you’ll be satisfied with however far you do get.
- Learn to not finish a book
One of the best things you can do to spend more time reading is allow yourself to not finish every book you start. Some books are just not for you. Some books are just not good. There is no honor in bragging about never not finishing a book, don’t be a martyr.
If you start a book and don’t like it it probably isn’t going to get any better by the end. Give yourself permission to not waste weeks of your life dreading picking it up. This will save you tons of time to find a book you’ll actually enjoy reading and avoid the dreaded bad book slump.
Check out these great indie reads to find something totally new!
- Don’t start a book blog (or other hobbies)
I love reading. I love writing about what I read. So I started this book blog. The irony has been that since I’ve started it I’ve cut into my reading time quite a bit, by at least an hour a day to start. It’s since become less time consuming but it does require research, planning, taking notes, and writing.
This goes for a lot of hobbies. I’m not saying you should give up other activities that you love, you just have to make a choice. If reading more is a valuable goal of yours you might not have the time to pick up learning something new. Ask yourself, do you want to read more or do you want to learn to knit? The choice is yours.
Since I had already gotten my reading time up so high I felt that this was a worthy sacrifice because I do find value in this blog and interacting with all of my new followers. You’re all awesome and if you find something that you value more than reading then use these tips to make time for that as well.
Comment below with what you value even more than reading, what your favorite time suck that you refuse to give up is, or what books you did not finish. Happy reading!
Here’s a list of short story collections to read that will help you read even more!