How Do I Find the Time to Read? 19 Tips Hidden Throughout My Reading Day

This is an essay by Brandon Monk.

What we need is not more books or more readers, but more time for reading….” Jackson, Holbrook. The Anatomy of Bibliomania. New York: Farrar, Straus, 1950. Print. p. 53.

My reading day is not linear. My reading day looks more like a mind-map or an old oak tree. My reading day has branches and forks coming off the day’s events and the day’s books. My reading days are always different, but there are techniques built into my routine that help keep reading on my mind. Here are 19 tips hidden throughout my reading day:

In the first hours of morning, before work, I wipe the sleep from my eyes and know there is a (1) book on my bedside table. I can, sometimes, get in a few pages before work. On weekends I often get in a solid hour before Alicia wakes up. Alicia and I have been together for six years and she never complains about my reading because she must understand it is better to let me have some time with books.

Around 10AM I try to take a break, sometimes for another (2) cup of strong black coffee. I have a (3) Kindle app on my computer and sometimes I will steal a few pages during the week. On the weekends, when nothing is planned, I try to read after I walk my dog, Eggers. He needs his walks more than I need to read. He gives me a break  after we walk to get a few pages in.

During lunch, I can usually get (4) a peanut butter sandwich down pretty fast.  Just enough to keep the cravings away and some energy in the tank. If I have a few extra minutes, I will read for a while before I get back to work.

In the afternoon I start to hit a wall. I try to (5) get up and stir around and then I sneak a few pages in. Maybe I catch some inspiration that powers me through the afternoon. It happens more often than not, actually.

When I get home from work I read before I start to get dinner moving. Most of the time I get a few minutes in before we decide where or what to eat.

When the kitchen is cleaned I usually have a few hours to read. This is prime time. I can read (6) while others watch TV. Usually, very little is expected of this time. A few hours of reading is bliss. I sometimes (7) break it up with walks or chores to keep the blood flowing and my mind sharp.

When Alicia moves to bed I read there for an hour or so. Sometimes, I (7) listen to an audio-book if my eyes are tired.

I am always looking for other opportunities, too.(8) If I have a long drive I load an audio-book. (9) If I have a doctor’s appointment I bring a book along. Time to (10) renew my driver’s license? I do it with book in hand. My (11) car needs service? I find a lobby chair out of the way and make myself at home with my Kindle. (12) At the bank’s drive thru line I can put the car safely in park and grab my book from the passenger’s seat.

I’m not telling you I read the same book throughout the day. (13) I read based on mood. I also (14) pick what to read based on energy level and background noise. I am not perfect at filtering out certain background noises, like TV, so (15) when I know there will be distraction I look for a lighter read, a compelling story. When (16) my energy is high and I have some time alone, without background noise, I read something dense that will build fortitude. That is the time for heavy lifting.

If I have read enough good sentences and exercised enough (17) I sleep well.

Tomorrow (18) my book is at my bedside and I start again.

In this way I find the time to read, everyday. The (19) important thing is not what, when, where, why, or how I read but that I do read.

What does your reading day look like? Aren’t they always so wonderfully different?

Photo by Paul Jarvis.