The pile of books on my nightstand is overwhelming and threatening to topple over as the pile keeps growing and growing . In fact, books are starting to take over several areas of my home. Not only is there a pile on my nightstand there is a pile in the guest bedroom, one in the living room and one in the dining room. I keep adding to the pile but lately I have not finished a single book. I’m drowning in all these amazing books that I truly want to read (this obviously doesn’t even take into account the online reading that is accumulating as well!) So I need to figure out a plan to make reading a part of my everyday life again!
Here are my top nine ways to make reading a priority in my life again.
Keep a book in my purse/car
I tend to read several books at the same time so I now have the book Tribal Leadership in my purse. Last week I was having the oil changed in my car and was able to read a chapter while I waited. In the past I have even read while waiting in line to vote! If we really stop and think about it there are usually several opportunities throughout the week to use “dead” time while we wait (for kids, doctors, late friends) to pull out a book and read a few pages.
I drive an hour each day to work so I have LOTS of time in the car to listen to books. I will admit that it is not my favorite way to digest a book since I am a visual learner but it keeps my mind busy during bad traffic. My boss receives books summaries on CD each month and I try to listen to the best ones that come in. But if you are going on a long car ride (especially if going by yourself) an audio book is a great companion.
Join a book club and now you have accountability to read that book that everyone is talking about! And now you have an
excuse opportunity to get together with friends for some social time and maybe a glass of wine :-). And if you don’t know of any book clubs in your area why not start your own? Here is some info for starting a book club.
“Unplug” from your devices
Step away from the computer, iPad or TV in the evening once in awhile and pick up that book. Or how about going unplugged for an entire weekend? Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest will still be there when you come back and you will have reclaimed hours of your life! (And yes, I resemble this statement – far more than I care to admit!) If reading is important to you than you need to let it take priority in your life. And let’s face it, reading a great book is far more interesting than reading what everyone is is doing or posting about.
Read 30 minutes before bed
I definitely need to get back into this habit. By turning off the electronic devices around 9pm I am setting a habit and getting my body into the routine of preparing for sleep. Studies have shown the best way to prepare for sleeping is to reduce light and noise and all things electronic. I love to crawl into bed, snuggle up with the covers and read for about 30 minutes. It helps me unwind and lets my body start to relax. I almost aways have a much better quality of sleep when I read before bed.
Read only what you love and are interested in
It’s happened to all us. A friend, family member or co worker is raving about this great book. Everyone is reading it! You have to read this book! Well, sometimes I’m just not interested in what everyone else is all excited about. And that’s OK. In fact, that’s a really good thing! Imagine if we all liked exactly the same things…..boring! When I look at the picture above there are a few books in that pile that will not make the cut. I just don’t have interest in them and would rather spend my time with a subject that I love.
It’s ok NOT to finish a book
This ties in closely with the one above. If you find yourself reading a book and it’s a struggle just to turn the page. Your eyelids get sleepy just thinking about reading it. Then stop reading it! Life is way too short to read either bad books or books that you don’t enjoy. Give the book away to someone who will enjoy it or donate it to the library.
Read with your spouse/significant other
Is there a book that you and your spouse/significant other are both wanting to read? How about taking that 30 minutes before bed and reading it together? You can take turns reading aloud to one another. What a great way to spend some time together and share something you both love.
Read at lunch
We all need time during the day to step away from our desk and let the brain relax and recharge. During the summer months I like to keep a lawn chair in my car and will take my book outside for 30 minutes and read in the sunshine. Now that it is getting colder out I think I will read in our building’s atrium. Then I can still get some sunshine (or as much as we get in the Midwest during the winter) and I physically step away from my desk, email, piles of paper from my desk. I need that each day to be able to come back and tackle the afternoon!
Set a goal
If you don’t have a specific goal then it won’t happen. I want to read one book ever two weeks. It’s important to me and I need to make it priority. For me reading is a source of inspiration and creativity. For both here on the blog and also at work. And the piles of books are really starting to get to me!
So there’s my plan and I have started implementing most of these over the last few days. I am looking forward to digging into several of these great books that have been accumulating dust and I will report back to you in a few months to let you know how I have done!
Do you have any other great ideas on how you make reading a part of your daily life? Share with us in the comments!
Have a great weekend!