Time is the great equalizer. Someone might have more money than you or more resources than you, but no one has more time than you--nor do you have more than anyone else. And if you're like me, you have an obsession with productivity (that might be somewhat unhealthy), so you try to maximize the efficiency of your time (even if it doesn't always work out).
But where does that leave you time to read? This is a question I've been asking myself for years and, in doing so, has caused me to think creatively about squeezing in reading time when and where you can.
Here are a few tips to help you squeeze more reading time into your busy schedule.
Carry a book with you at all times.
You never know when you're going to have to wait in line while picking up a prescription or when you're going to get stuck in deadlocked traffic on the interstate. You never know when your 1:30 meeting is going to show up at 2:00 or when you're going to get out of a meeting much earlier than you expected. But if you have a book with you, you'll become more patient because you won't feel like you're wasting time or that your time is being wasted.
Listen to audiobooks.
It will literally shock you at how much reading you can do by listening. Listen in the car. Don't have a commute? Listen while you do dishes or iron or walk the dog. Don't do housework? Listen while you work on that craft project you've been putting off or while you sit on the bench watching your kid on the playground. Listen while your significant other is watching those football games you probably don't care that much about. Listen while cooking. Listen while doing your morning routine. Listen while running errands or grocery shopping. There are so many places you can listen to books. And if the reader is particularly good, you might even get sucked into the story more than if you were reading the text.
Put down your phone.
Do you really care what people are up to on Facebook? It's the same old same. Somebody's getting engaged, somebody's having a baby, somebody's making bigoted political posts with grammar so foul your soul cringes. Instead of scrolling through your news feed, read a couple of paragraphs of your book instead. You'll probably feel more relaxed afterward and you won't feel guilty for being pulled into another social media time suck.
Don't be afraid to have meals alone.
A long, long time ago, the idea of having a meal at a restaurant alone filled me with anxiety. Now, I don't let a lack of company detour me from a decent meal. When my friends and co-workers have other lunch plans, I have a lunch date with my book. This is particularly wonderful if you're going to a sit-down restaurant alone because you can actually enjoy waiting on your food to arrive because you're occupying your mind with reading.
Get to appointments early.
Need an incentive to arrive somewhere on time? Tell yourself that if you arrive a few minutes early, you can spend some time reading before the appointment starts. Trust me, it works. I've been able to break my habit of being perpetually late by rewarding my punctuality with reading.
Read yourself to sleep.
When you hit that point in the evening when you know you're no good for anything productive but you're not quite ready for bed is the perfect time to start reading yourself to sleep. Chances are, you'll fall asleep more easily because you're not fretting about all the to-do's you didn't finish during the day or all the things you'll have to do in the morning. And even if you only get five pages in before falling asleep with a book on your face, that's still five pages ahead in the story.
Take a much needed break.
Even if you're the master of time management and productivity, you most likely reach a point in your day when you need a 10-30 minute break. Why not fill that time with a book or audiobook? Don't be afraid to take that break you deserve.
As it happens, I composed this post while taking a break from studying. Using the tips I listed above, I've managed to read 50 books in 2014, which is my personal record. No matter what your reading goals are, these tips are sure to help you get there.
What tricks do you use to squeeze some extra reading time into your day? Tell me in the comments!