6 ways to make time to read

Cultivating a love for the written word

January 7, 2020

Reading is one of my favorite pastimes and has been for as long as I can remember. I have fond memories from my childhood of staying up into the wee hours of the night, devouring books. My mom read aloud to us as children and did an excellent job instilling a love of reading into me.

I wanted to share some tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way to help build reading into my regular rhythms. (If you need some reading recommendations, here are the books I read in 2018 and 2019) Before we dive in, I thought I’d share some of my favorite quotes about reading.

I hope you find these suggestions helpful and that they give you an appetite for the written word. 

1. Develop a rhythm of reading

If you want reading to be a regular part of your life, you need to make it a priority. Duh, right? But seriously, block off time on your schedule, and develop the habit of reaching regularly for a book, instead of defaulting to reaching for your phone or the TV remote.

Below are a few suggestions for habit building:

Personally, I read a few pages of a book in the morning after my quiet time and read before bed at night a few times a week.

2. Always carry a book

I always carry a book with me. Whenever I have a few spare minutes, I’ll take out a book and read a few pages. A few pages here and there really add up. Try it for a week. You’d be surprised how often you’ll be able to read.

If you want reading to be a regular part of your life, you need to make it a priority.

I try to be selective about the book I carry with me. I aim for one that’s easy to pick up and jump into without taking a ton of time to reorient myself back into the book. I recommend a biography or a personal development type of book.

3. Read books that are interesting

Life is too short to read books that don’t capture your attention. If a book just isn’t interesting to you, quit the book. Your time is precious, and you shouldn’t waste it on bad books. Give yourself permission to quit books.

4. Use the library

I’m such a fan of the library. I love it for checking out novels and books I know I likely won’t reread. Also, if you haven’t heard of the app “OverDrive,” you’re missing out. It’s your local public library’s free access to thousands of e-books and audiobooks.

5. Put your phone on “Do not Disturb”

How often have you started doing a task only to be interrupted five minutes later with a notification on your phone? I’ve been there more times than I can tell you. That’s why I regularly use the “Do not Disturb” feature on my phone. Or better yet, put your phone in the other room so you’re not even tempted to pick it up.

Sometimes it takes me a while to get into a book, but it’s easier if I’m not constantly distracted by my phone. You’d be surprised how much you can read if your focus is entirely engrossed in the task at hand.

6. “Read” on your commute

Halfway through this year, I decided to purchase an Audible subscription, and I’ve loved it. Oftentimes, I’ll pop on an audiobook and listen on my commute. A few other creative ways I find time to “listen” to books is while I’m cleaning, folding laundry, cleaning out my inbox, etc. (I don’t usually listen to anything while I’m walking outside. I like to be able to fully engage in nature when I’m outside.) Audible is $15 a month, but well worth the investment.

It’s important to remember that reading looks different in the changing seasons of life, and that’s okay. If you’re a mom of small children, chances are it’s going to be a lot more difficult to find time to read. Give yourself grace, and don’t compare your reading pace with someone else’s. I’m currently in a season of life that allows me to read more, but I know that it won’t always be this way.

Reading is worth the effort. I hope these suggestions encourage you to at least give it a try. Reading is a pleasure and a privilege, and I want to equip you to deeply enjoy it. I challenge you to take these suggestions and put your own personal spin on them as you begin a new year.

Chelsea Patterson Sobolik

Chelsea Patterson Sobolik serves as a Policy Director in the Washington, D.C. office of the ERLC. Previously, she worked in the U.S. House of Representatives on pro-life policies, domestic and international religious freedom, adoption, and foster care issues. Chelsea is the author of Longing for Motherhood - Holding onto Hope … Read More