"I don't have time to read."
I can't count the number of times I've uttered these words. The days of lounging around for hours between classes, days at the pool and long road trips are all but gone. Memories of book swaps, devouring one text after another and hours spent at the library are nostalgic at best.
But does it have to be?
The transition from college into my career was a bit of a rough one. All of a sudden I was working 8-10 hours straight with 5:30 a.m wake up calls. My sincerest of apologies to all the campus students I threw askance glances at when they mentioned their first priority wasn't until 1 p.m. (I'm sorry lol) But seriously! We don't realize how good we've got it in college!
The balancing act of work and personal life can be a difficult one especially for young professionals adjusting to the new responsibilities. But truth be told, even the busiest of people have leisure time. The difference between readers and "non-readers" is how they choose to utilize that time. However, let's soberly analyze the idea of being a "non-reader." We ALL read. Whether you're reading captions and statuses on social media or reading a menu, you're reading! Let's abandon the notion that we don't have time to read and let's adopt the possibility of reactivating our imaginations, expanding our minds and transforming thought patterns.
In 2013, I rediscovered my love of reading. Whether my nose was in the pages of some transformative self-help book or a delicious piece of fiction, I had found my love of words again! I went from reading a book a year, to almost a dozen that year. For my avid readers, that may be considered unsophisticated reading but for a novice reader, that was a huge step in the right direction for me.
So how did this BUSY, young professional find time to read again? Here are a few tips that have worked for me:
When I was in middle school, I carried books I was reading with me everywhere I went. This helped me to use idle time efficiently. I was never bored! Granted this was before the distractions of Instagram and Facebook, but it worked! As I tried to become a more avid reader, I vowed to replace one tap of a social media icon for a page flip in a book. Anytime you're bored and tempted to reach for your phone for the umpteenth time, try reaching for a book instead ;)
2. Read something YOU like
The advantages of being done with school is you can read what you want. No more assigned texts that leave you dreading words for weeks after the fact. Ever had a book suggested to you as a "must read" and been left less than impressed with it once you read it? Yep. Me too. Find a topic or genre that piques your interest and indulge in it. Similar to that show you refuse to miss (How to Get Away With Murder anyone?), an exciting book can pull you in and cause you to MAKE time for it.
3. Schedule book time
I am a huge planner. If it doesn't go in my planner, it isn't getting done. I schedule my workouts, meetings, hang outs, etc. So why would I expect my reading to be any different? I took a look at my schedule each week and picked three 15 minute slots of time to devote to reading. I know it may not seem like a lot, but it was a manageable and realistic goal for me at the time. As you begin to fall in love with reading, there will be a natural increase in the time and frequency allocated for your new guiltless pleasure.
4. Read before bed
Research shows that reading enjoyable non-fiction or fiction texts before sleep is a proven method to leaving the day behind you and preparing for a good night's rest. Try it out :)
5. Set a reading goal
I know, I know. Some resolutions don't last but it helps to have something to aspire to. Whether your goal is one book a month or just devoting time each week to reading, set a goal! You may surprise yourself.
6. Join a book club!
There's power in numbers. Having a book club of my own has proven this to be true. Find a community of readers who are reading something you're interested in or have been meaning to read. Not only does it provide lively discussion, but it also provides an opportunity to make new friends and accountability with your new reading goals!
Do you plan on making more time to read?
Share below along with any tips of your own ♥
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