Monday, May 1, 2017

Making time to read


Reading books is a favorite pastime of mine. Over the years I have read with varying degrees of frequency, but it has been part of my life since the days of of Sweet Valley Kids.

I distinctly remember a time my freshman year of college when I took a break from studying and read The Secret Life of Bees. I hungrily devoured the pages in my dorm room and thought, I've missed this. Reading got me through lonely times abroad, kept me sane through graduate school, and gives me an anchor in these days of parenting young children.

I read because I love it, but there are side benefits as well. I firmly believe that if I want my kids to grow up to be readers, then they need to see me and Neil reading for fun--which basically translates into an excuse for me to read during the day under the guise of good parenting. #winning

I fit in reading whenever I can, but usually in the mornings if I manage to get up before the kids, during rest time if I am not writing or working on a podcast (rest time = what happens when your kids stop napping but everyone still needs down time), and post-bedtime. If I've had a hard day, then I often sneak off to read a few pages after dinner while Neil is with the kids.

Here are my tips to fitting in more reading into the busy lives we lead:

(1) Figure out what you can cut out. For me it has been television and social media. I still use Instagram and watch shows with Neil some evenings, but quitting Facebook last year eliminated a major time-suck.

(2) Always have multiple books to read. I like to read more than one at once so that whether I am in the mood for fiction or non-fiction I have something ready to read. I have also taken on the responsibility of getting books at the library I know Neil will enjoy too as I have discovered that if one of us doesn't have something to read, we are more likely to watch a show after the kids are bed, but if we both have something, we happily read instead.

(3) Don't be a book snob. Some books I read are more high-brow, while others are decidedly not. I read young adult fiction, fantasy, and even romance if the mood strikes. I also read Pultizer-winners and my fair share of cerebral non-fiction. But not all the time. Because sometimes, I just want to get lost in a story and turn my brain off.

(4) Have a reading goal. I was surprised to find how much I enjoy setting a reading goal for the year on Goodreads and then regularly checking in to see how I'm doing. It is not that I wouldn't read otherwise, but it makes me take note when I am in a reading slump and get back to it.

(5) Join a book club. I am a part of two book clubs and I love how they challenge me to read something I wouldn't pick up otherwise. They also make me to think about the books differently. I love how often my opinion on a book changes after discussing it at book club.

(6) Have a podcast that requires you to talk about books every two weeks. Oh wait, does this not apply to everyone? Knowing that I need to have a book to discuss on Friendlier has helped me prioritize reading when I otherwise might scroll through social media.

I would love to hear what you're reading and how you find the time to fit it in.