I’ve been reading since age four. Interestingly enough, I began reading newspapers before I began reading books. I used to sit on my grandfather’s lap and read the funnies (remember those?) after breakfast. After reading, we would draw mustaches and scars on the characters’ faces. I remember laughing hysterically at how funny they looked.
From that point on, there wasn’t a time when I wasn’t reading. I always had a book either in my hands, on my bedside table, or in my bag. Throughout my childhood and well into my adult years, I used to (in my grandmother’s words) “eat books.” I’m the girl who would stay up until 2 am reading when I knew I had to be up at 6 am for school and/or work.
I’ve been asked how it is that I still find time to read for pleasure after reading most of the day for work. My answer is this: I don’t find time; I make time. Reading is not only a joy, but also a rhythm for me. I’m a firm believer that rhythms and routines are restorative and keep you grounded.
That being said, I’ll admit to reading differently now than I did in the past. I’ve learned that I need to prioritize the books I read for pleasure since I don’t have much time to do it. The days of staying up until wee hours in the morning are over for me. I now have a regular bedtime and love my sleep!
Here are some ways that I make time to read—for me:
Reading as a part of my morning and evening routines
I’m usually awake by 6:30 am to have some quiet before my kids’ virtual school day begins. My morning routine consists of the following: making a cup of tea, saying morning prayer, and reading a devotional. This is non-negotiable. While some may not think devotionals count as “reading,” I disagree. It totally counts, and at the end of the year I include the devotional book as one of my “books read for the year.” After reading my devotional for the day, I’ll either read a few pages of a novel or a professional development book before starting my day. On occasion, I’ll switch things up and read a bit of poetry.
I don’t make too big of a fuss about reading in the evenings. If I’m able to, that’s great. If not, then that’s okay too. There are some nights when I’m simply too tired to read and that’s life. When I do feel up to it, I like to read something fun and light-hearted that doesn’t require deep concentration. I also found it to be a nice way to give my skincare products time to absorb into my skin before putting my face onto the pillow. That last bit may sound silly, but it’s true.
Listening to audiobooks
Whoever said listening to audiobooks doesn’t count as reading needs to take a seat! I love audiobooks and listen to them daily. What better way to get through mundane chores like washing the dishes or folding a mountain of laundry than with an audiobook to keep you company? You’d be amazed at how quickly you will get through a book by listening for fifteen to twenty minutes each day.
The great thing about listening to audiobooks is it eliminates textual distractions. When reading physical books and ebooks, It’s sometimes difficult for me to switch off my editor’s brain. Getting professionally trained as an editor and proofreader has been somewhat of a double-edged sword—it’s become almost impossible to read in the way an average reader does. Not that I mind, it just comes with the territory.
Blocking off time on my calendar
Checking in with my planner is another daily habit that I’ve developed. When planning for the upcoming week, I will sometimes block off time just to sit and read. On extremely busy days, following a schedule keeps me from feeling overwhelmed. Instead of writing a to-do list, I will give each task a timeslot and include a slot to read. Seeing “read a book” on my calendar is like a little reprieve from the busyness of my day.
Real talk: I really do love to read. Getting lost in a great book is one of the best things I can think of. But sometimes, I just can’t.
When I’m too burnt out to even think about reading, I will look at pictures. I adore cookbooks and enjoy perusing through delicious-looking recipes that I want to try. I’ll also get my first grader to read to me as a way to get her in the habit of reading. Yes, I’m a sneaky mommy, but it works.
I find that using these methods work best for me. If you’re an editor and/or proofreader, how do you make time to read for pleasure? I’m always interested in hearing about other editors’ and/or proofreaders’ reading experiences.