If you’re anything like me and love reading and learning, or quite simply need to read non-fiction books for information and development, you’ll know how hard it is to find the time to do it.
You have a long list of books you need to read, and you’re adding to it a lot quicker than you manage to go through it. So if you want to squeeze non-fiction books into your already-packed life, here’s how.
1. Use an app – Blinkist anyone?
If you’re trying to narrow your list of favourite books down and decide what you want to read, Blinkist can really help you with this.
The app gives you key ideas from non-fiction books, distilled into powerful short reads (or listens!) for your mobile devices. Basically, you can read or listen to a non-fiction book in 15 minutes. No matter how busy you are, you can find 15 minutes in your day, can’t you?
And the fact that you can also listen to the books is just really handy. Think about the mornings spent standing on the train during your commute to work. You most definitely can’t possibly sit down to read a book in peace then, but you could always listen to it instead.
If you want or need to know more, you can always go and buy the book and read it cover to cover. What’s also really useful is that the app gives you recommendations for other similar books, so you can make an informed decision as to what you want or need to read next.
2. Narrow your list down and make it realistic
It goes without saying that if you have a ridiculous amount of books on your to-read list, it’s going to take you some time to go through them all. But do you really want or need to read them all?
Sift through your list and pick a few – 3 to 5 to start with would be great. This way you know that if you don’t manage to read anything else, at least you’ll have these under your belt.
Hold on to that shortlist, and don’t get distracted by new entries. Or think of it this way – if something new comes in, something else has to come out. That forces you to prioritise and keep your list manageable and realistic. You’re one step closer to getting it done already.
3. Commit to your list and give yourself targets and deadlines
I know that this sounds terribly boring, but reading is like anything else. Unless you don’t commit and allocate and dedicate time to it, you won’t do it.
So you really want to read that book about parenting that your colleague recommended the other day at work? Great. Download it or go and buy it, and you’ve made the first step towards committing to read it.
Now set yourself a target: “I want to read this by the end of the month”. Carry it with you from then on, and every time you see an opportunity in the day, pick it up and read it.
4. Prioritise reading over other tasks
If you really do want to read, then you need to decide what reading is more important of. It’s probably not more important than turning up for work, having a shower or feeding your children. But it can (if you so wish) be more important than scrolling mindlessly through your Facebook newsfeed, half watching a TV series you’re not really into, or washing up if you can do that in the morning instead.
Sometimes we can be guilty of saying: “I just don’t have time to do X”, but we haven’t even made the faintest attempt at making time for it. And then can’t really complain, can we? Especially if we were just wasting time on social media because we were too tired to go and even fetch the book (yes, I’ve been there and done that).
5. Switch your habits around
So we established that some things you can’t do without. But there are times in the day when you can concentrate and read, and others that aren’t really appropriate for it (just before bed when you’re tired and need to wind down, for example).
So you may find it hard to sit down with a book when your children have just come home from school demanding snacks and fighting over who gets to choose what to watch on TV. But during those times you may still get away with a quick round of tidying up or putting the washing machine on instead (once you’ve sorted the snacks and TV remote situation, of course).
Start noticing the moments of peace and quiet in your day when you can sit down and read, and grab them. Yes, I know that you have to do the hoover and last night’s washing up, but can you do them later perhaps? At a time when reading wouldn’t be possible?
Sometimes moving tasks around in the day can make space for new things – things that you wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.
Do you have any more strategies to help finding more time or opportunities to read?
*This post was a collaborative effort with Blinkist, but all ideas expressed in this post are my own.