How To Make Time For Reading When You’re Busy AF

When I moved into my apartment at the beginning of the summer, the first box of items I carried up the two flights of stairs and set down on the cold tile floor was full of books.

Long before I hauled my bed frame, box spring, and mattress into the place, I arranged my books side by side on the shelves lining the kitchen counter, took a step back in the unfurnished room, and decided I was home. I had three months, 22 books (and counting), and the greatest of intentions to read them all before resuming classes at the end of August. Almost two and a half months later, most of those books remain untouched.

What happened? Life, work, exercise, an inexplicable need to earn the world record for fastest completion of all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls. As an editor of a publication promoting weekly reads for its readers, I was a poser. Somehow amidst the hustle and bustle of ordinary life, reading took the backseat to other less leisurely activities (OK, except for the Netflix binging) and it wasn’t until I decided to make reading a priority every day that I realized just how possible—if not easy—it is to find the time to read for pleasure.

And so, darlings, take a page out of my book and discover all the moments you could be reading even when you’re feeling busy AF.

While enjoying your morning cup of coffee (or tea)

If you’re anything like me, you take your morning coffee with a splash of milk and a mindless scroll through Facebook. It often takes me a couple of minutes before I realize that a) I don’t recognize half the people on my newsfeed and no longer care what vague high school acquaintances are up to these days and b) My coffee has gotten cold. Recently I’ve ditched this habit for reading, opting to cozy up with a book until the coffee’s gone and I need to head to work.

While waiting—for appointments, people, or the weather to change.

A couple days ago I had to pick my brother up from the airport and as punctual as I am and as delayed as planes tend to be, I ended up having a good half hour to kill. I would have spent this time revisiting social media had I not had my trusty novel in the backseat. Thirty minutes later I had read a chapter and a half and couldn’t believe how quickly the time flew. A few days prior, I decided to read until the rain stopped and I could go for a jog. Instead of letting my brain turn to mush while experimenting with every single Snapchat filter, I exercised my mind and body.

While babysitting. Or any kind of sitting, for that matter.

I used to think the best part of babysitting was raiding the family’s fridge when the kids go to sleep. That’s still true. But the other best part of babysitting is raiding the family’s bookshelves. Whereas I once wasted no time in declaring lights out and reaching for the untouched carton of Americone Dream before flopping down on the couch and flipping through channels (the ones that aren’t blocked by parental control), I now revisit the same book each time I babysit, reading a few more chapters each time I’m called. And I still eat their ice cream.

While dining by yourself.

There are two things my mom taught me when I was very young: always shave your legs with cold water to get the closest shave possible and never be afraid to sit down at a restaurant by yourself. At 21 years old, I must say that the former is far more terrifying than the latter. Take yourself out for lunch, coffee (or tea), or—dare you?—dinner and bring a book as your date. The same goes for eating alone in your apartment—don’t even think about turning on the TV and chowing down on the couch when you could sit at the table like a civilized human and hold your book just far enough from the spaghetti sauce.

While preparing to get some shut-eye.

Don’t get me wrong. I can ‘gram with the best of them—often better than the best of them. But I often struggle to fall asleep if I’m double-tapping too close to bedtime. Reading before bed is both a great way to unwind and relax your eyeballs before summoning Mr. Sandman. Studies show that a break from screen time at least 45 minutes before falling asleep ensures sounder sleep. Better sleep = better you. Thank a book.

 

While I know this advice isn’t particularly groundbreaking, I also know—all too well, might I add—how easy it is to overlook a spare 20 or 30 minutes in your hectic routine that might be better spent nose-deep in a novel. So amidst your crazy busy schedule, give reading a chance. And if you’re struggling to get started, glance over our list of TBR books. Who knows? Maybe you’ll beat us to it.

Have any reads you’re excited to begin or any recommendations for those of us needing some literary inspiration? Let us know by tweeting @litdarling.

Julia
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