How to Make Time to Read

Reading is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Taking the time to read improves your ability to focus, enhances your vocabulary, strengthens your empathy, and provides new experiences through a variety of characters.
11/13/2014 06:54 pm ET Updated Jan 13, 2015

Reading is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Taking the time to read improves your ability to focus, enhances your vocabulary, strengthens your empathy, and provides new experiences through a variety of characters. Whether you prefer nonfiction, biography, mystery, romance, classics, science fiction, or adventure, it's not hard to get lost in a good book.

However, as our schedules fill up and we become increasingly exhausted as the week goes on, it can be a challenge to find time to read. That's why you have to make time.

I've gathered the 10 tips that have helped me make time to read every single day:

1. Read first thing in the morning and/or before bed.

If you don't want to worry about fitting in reading time during the day, set your alarm to wake you up 30 minutes earlier than usual and begin your day with reading. Or, if you're someone who needs to unwind before bed, there's no better way to do that than with a good book.

2. Don't leave the house without reading material.

Always keep a book, newspaper, magazine, or reading device in your bag. Don't give yourself an easy out by not having something to read. You never know when you'll have a couple minutes of downtime to read a few pages here and there.

3. Make the most of your commute.

If you don't have to drive to work, use subway or bus time to catch up on reading. Whether your commute is 15 minutes or one hour, using that time to read is productive and a smart way to start or end your day.

4. Start small.

Skim the headlines. Read two articles in the newspaper. Tackle one chapter at a time. You don't have to finish the entire novel right away, you just have to start. Even if you just read a few pages throughout the day when you have a couple of spare minutes. Those minutes and pages add up quickly.

5. Find books that are of interest to you.

Read books that you actually enjoy. If you only want to read suspense novels, great. If you love business books and autobiographies, read those. When you find a genre or topic that really interests you, making time to read becomes much easier and more enjoyable.

6. Set goals.

Set a daily time or page limit. Make it a goal to read one book a week. When you set goals for yourself, you have something to work toward.

7. Start or join a book club.

Start a book club with friends, family, or co-workers. Join an existing book club that meets once a month. Being part of a group will help hold you responsible and motivate you to continue reading.

8. Exchange shows and movies for books.

At the end of a long day, watching your favorite television show sounds like the greatest idea in the world. Maybe instead of watching two (or three) shows, just watch one and exchange the other hour for reading time. This way you get the best of both worlds and still manage to make progress on that novel you've been meaning to read.

9. Block out time in your calendar.

When you actually carve out a chunk of time in your calendar to read, you're more likely to hold yourself accountable. Taking time for yourself is healthy, and reading is a great way to fit in quiet alone time.

10. Set reminders for yourself.

Just as you would set a reminder for a meeting or appointment, create reminders for reading. If reading is not yet a habit, it might slip your mind and be pushed off of the agenda. Set cues to keep you on track.

Now, stop making excuses, figure out what works best for you, and happy reading!