In this months discussion post, I would love to find out what your reading routine is and whether we can give any readers on this post a couple of tips to help them to read more regularly, as well as a cautionary tale where I was trying to be more optimistic about my reading than I thought and it didn’t go well which is at the end.
I’m sure most of us will remember when we were kids at school and nursery, running home and having the rest of the day to ourselves with plenty of time to read whenever we wanted. However, with adulthood unfortunately comes responsibilities such as work, home life, doing the groceries, paying the bills etc. and often that can leave us swamped and spending night after night in front of the TV and reading can feel like the last thing you want to do.
However, there are ways to make time for reading and books and here is how my routine works. Note this is only a suggested routine and what works for me might not work for you. Combined my schedule gives me up to 6.75 hours of reading per week.
Reading Before Bed
Now for most children, reading before bed is often the most common time that they read either with a parent or grandparent reading to them, or reading themselves and I think this is a great way to find time to read as an adult. For one thing, reading is known to be an excellent stress reliever which can be very calming before bed and usually I find when I do read I tend to sleep better as well.
Also at this time of day I like to read physical books over an ebook. E-readers and devices such as smartphones emit blue light which can trick your mind into thinking it is daytime which can actually make you more awake and disrupt sleep quality. Now, sometimes I do get to the end of the workday and I’m so tired and done for the day that I physically feel unable to read but I try to read for about half an hour before bed Sunday-Thursday (on a Friday and Saturday I usually don’t read and watch a film as I know I can sleep in! 🤣).
I think the operative word here is try and we shouldn’t put pressure on ourselves if we miss a day of reading. For instance, I sometimes give myself a night off from reading during the week which is usually a Wednesday where I just watch the TV instead).
Time spent (based on 4 days of reading in bed) – 2 hours
Another time where I regularly read is during my lunch break. I’m quite lucky in my work pace to have a one hour lunch break so there is some time to read and do something else but some only have a 20-30 minute breaks. However here I normally read an ebook and eat my food at the same time for the first half of my break which I think most people do have time for, especially if you usually spend time on social media.
This is usually quite a consistent time for me as where I work there isn’t too much distraction and apart form if I need to pop to the shops for something I usually spend my lunch in the car or staff room. Also my local library has an ebook section and as I’m an Amazon Prime subscriber I have access to Prime reading which gives me a large collection of books to read.
Time spend reading (30 mins x 5 days a week) – 2.5 hours
Another hidden time of day when you can read is when you are journeying too and from work. If you take public transport this is an even better tip and I can remember back when I was a student before I had my own car I would read my books too and from college which took around an hour each day.
However, if you do drive like me than audio books can be the answer, (also if you find looking down whilst moving on a bus or train can make you feel nauseous than an audio book can be a good option here). There are of course apps like Audible which have a large selection, also you should check your local library as they may have an audio book section either on an app or in the library on CD.
Whilst it’s not reading in the same way, it can be a great way to make use of time which is often spent stuck in traffic. I personally do try to listen to audio books but my preference is to listen to music most days but I try to listen to the odd one each week.
I also tend to do this on my morning commute when I feel a bit fresher and also if I leave early enough my route doesn’t have as much traffic then at night time when I;m usually tired. Of course everyone’s commute is different as well so I know this might not be for everyone and might not add up to as much time as mine.
Listen to an audio book / read en route – 3 times a week in the morning (based on a 45 minute commute) – 2.25 hours
If you are able to do these tips you will be reading for almost 6.75 hours a week. Based on an average speed of reading at 300 words per minute and reading an average sized novel of around 80,000 words you will complete 1 book a week or 52 books in a year.
Bonus tip: Audiobooks in the gym and a cautionary tale
Now to be honest this is something I tried once and immediately hated it (I might write a future post about it at some point) and that is audio books in the gym.
For those who follow my blog and read my goals for 2022 post, you will know one of my goals was to listen to more audiobooks and that a gym opened over the road from where I worked which seemed like the perfect opportunity to listen to more audio books. So the gym opens, I downloaded an audiobook from my library website which was a Holly Seddon novel Try Not To Breathe (I read her excellent thriller The Hit List last year so figured I would like it). I put it on and started my workout but for whatever reason whether it was noise or my headphones or whether I was just in my workout head space but I wasn’t following the story at all and when I realised I had no clue what was going on I swapped back to music. I also found I prefer the social aspect of doing gym classes over running endlessly on a treadmill which meant I couldn’t really listen to music anyway.
I wanted to share this as I know people who do listen to audio books and podcasts whilst exercising and I think it is a fantastic way to find productive time to do something but I also wanted to point out that not every schedule is for everyone and if something doesn’t quite work it is OK to tweak it and it is better to be consistent in the times you do read then force yourself to try to read when it isn’t right for you.
I also find in our highly digital, busy and filtered world that we can so often find ourselves reading content like this and immediately feeling like we have to compete with them but everyone has their own schedules, needs and interests so I would love this post to be a guide only. If you have any other times where you love reading then I would love to hear from you in the comments down below.