Bookworms love a good challenge. Personally, I always try to read more books than I did the year before. Adding books to my TBR is the easy part, while finding more time in my day to read can be tough. I’ve had to devise some of my own tricks for creating extra pockets of time for reading. Try out these tips and share your own in the comments!
Always carry a book with you
Before you leave the house make sure you have the essentials: keys, wallet, phone, and book. Whether you’re bringing along a physical book, your ereader, or a phone loaded up with your virtual library, having a book on you at all times will ensure you’re ready to read. You’d be surprised how often you find yourself with a few spare minutes. Maybe you’re waiting for the train, at the doctor’s office, or your date is late for dinner. Suddenly those delays become gifts: a chance to dive back into a great book.
Keep books everywhere
Put a book in your glove compartment, keep one at the office, make sure one is within reach while you’re lying in bed. Why? Because when you happen to finish that book you’ve been carrying around with you, it’s great to have a backup (or two).
Life is too short to read books that don’t interest you. The first step to reading more is to make sure you enjoy what you’re reading. If I get 20% into a book and feel like I’m forcing myself to pick it up again, I put it down for good and move on. You can always come back to it if you want to. I recommend reading an excerpt to get a sense of the writing and story before deciding to buy or request on NetGalley.
Come up with a list
Goals should be measurable, so if your aim is to read more, figure out which books you’d most like to read and start with those. For example, I made a TBR list of 20 books that I’m most excited to dive into this year. By beginning your challenge with your most-anticipated titles, you’ll quickly find how much you actually want to squeeze them in throughout the day.
Listen to audiobooks
I started listening to audiobooks in 2019, and I saw a huge change in my reading output. I was consuming more books per month than ever before, and ended the year having read 35 more books than I had in 2018. Audio allows you to listen while commuting, doing chores, and more—so you can be productive in more ways than one while you read! New to audio? We’ve got a beginner’s guide here!
Work out your brain
Speaking of audiobooks, I’ve found a lot of readers are hesitant to try them out at the gym. I was too! I didn’t believe they could replace the perfect distraction a good playlist provides while counting down the minutes until a run ends. I was pleasantly surprised to find a great audiobook could do exactly that!
Read on your lunch break
I’m guilty of working through my lunch break (a bad habit I’m trying to break in 2023). We all both need and deserve a break during the workday, and the lure of opening up a book you’re loving can be just the thing to convince you to step away. Go outside if it’s nice or grab a seat at your favorite lunch spot and enjoy an uninterrupted 30 minutes of reading.
Read before bed
This is a tough one. It’s so tempting to fling yourself onto the bed and let Netflix take over your night. You probably know that studies have proven that shutting off your electronics an hour before bed helps you sleep better, and I’d recommend trying it out for just one week. You’ll sleep better, you’ll read more, and you’ll love your new nightly routine.
Try a daily challenge
Earlier this year, my coworker told me she’s trying to read 100 pages a day in 2023. She said she may not hit that goal every day, but just attempting to achieve it ensures she reads more than she would without that goal. Does a set amount of pages not work for you? Try daily reading sprints instead! If finding an uninterrupted hour in your schedule is hard, shorter sprints may be the perfect solution. Set a timer for 10 minutes, read until it goes off, and repeat throughout your day.
Short and sweet
When life gets busy, it can be hard to find the motivation to pick up a lengthy novel. Don’t feel any guilt about trying something shorter! My go-to is usually a graphic novel or novella, which can often be read in a single sitting. But you can’t go wrong with a short story, a book of poetry, or a comic.
Take a reading challenge
Setting a goal and making a plan for achieving it are two great ways to turn your hope of reading more into a fun challenge for yourself. If you’re looking for a place to start, check out the annual Goodreads Challenge, which is great if you want to read a certain number of books this year. If you want something a little different, check out Bookish Bingo on BookishFirst (our giveaway platform for consumer reviewers): the challenge is hosted in the Forum so you can chat with fellow participants, and the Bingo boards are created by yours truly!
Set a goal that won’t stress you out
Do you ever start a To-Do list with an item you’ve already accomplished just to get the satisfaction of checking it off? That’s how I treat my Goodreads Challenge. I’d like to read 200 books this year, but according to my Goodreads Challenge, my goal is 10. I like using a number I know I’ll be able to hit because it takes some of the stress out of the equation. I’m not worried about keeping up or falling behind—I’m just focused on reading.
Utilize your local library
Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. Wouldn’t it be cool if that place was your local library branch? Becoming a library regular goes hand-in-hand with reading more, and it’s easy to achieve. Step one: Visit your library and check out a book. Bonus if you chat with your friendly librarian! Step two: Read the book. Step three: When you return the book, immediately check out another one. Let the cycle repeat! Plus, there’s nothing like a deadline and some late fees to kick you into gear.
Join a book club
Read more and make some bookish friends by joining a book club! That’s a win-win in my book. Chances are your local indie bookstore or library has a club, but you can also find groups online or start your own (we’ve got some tips on how to do that right here).
Read multiple books at once
This may not work for everyone, but I’ve found it’s a great way to fit in more books. I typically have one audiobook I’m listening to, one book I’m reading in a physical format, and one ebook on my Kindle. I like to read different genres to make it easier to jump between them.
Create a reading nook
Having a space in your home dedicated to reading can be a huge help. Make sure it’s a well-lit, quiet, and comfortable spot—a place you’ll be eager to spend a lot of time in. Candles, a cozy blanket, and soft pillows can help make it your own. Using the same spot every time you read will also help ingrain the behavior as a habit.