1 Schedule reading time. The best way to fit reading time into a busy schedule is to set aside a specific time in your daily/weekly plans to actually read. Look at your routine/schedule and see if there are any moments you can fit in half an hour, an hour, or so on, of reading time. Perhaps you can read every day between preparing and dishing up the dinner. Perhaps you can create a ‘family reading time’ daily activity where your household all sit down and read at the same time. Read in the bath. Be creative.
2 Stash books. It’s always worth keeping a few books in the places that you spend most of your time – you never know when odd moments of free or available time might crop up. Keep a book in your bag/on your person at all times. Keep a book in your office desk, in your car/glove compartment. Keep a book on your night-stand, on your coffee table, anywhere you might spend your time. This way, you always have something to pick up when the inspiration – and opportunity – strikes.
3 Delegate time. For example, consider spending your lunch hour, or a portion of your lunch hour, reading. Spend half an hour in your local library next time you go shopping. Substitute tv-time (favourite programmes not included) for reading time. Consider your daily routine and be flexible with your free moments – can you introduce reading time? Can you swap something you don’t enjoy/need to do as often for time to read?
4 Set your morning alarm an hour/half an hour/etc earlier and use that time to read a few pages/chapters.
5 Go to bed an hour, half an hour, etc earlier and use the extra time before you go to sleep to read a few pages/chapters.
6 Use the spare moments. This is extra effective if you’ve already stashed books in your various locations, as you don’t need to worry about going to find a book. Take advantage of those moments when the unexpected happens and leaves you with unexpected time to read. Make the most of the surprise, or longer-than-you-expected moments. Read when the power goes off. Read in the waiting room, in the car park, on the train/bus/etc.
7 Set yourself a deadline. There’s nothing like a looming deadline to motivate you into achieving your goal. Consider setting yourself a reading target (read a book in a week, read 2 chapters in 2 days, whatever). For added motivational oomph, set yourself a reward/forfeit!
8 Identify a friend or relative who also enjoys reading/wants to read more, and compete against each other to read a certain amount of books. First one to reach the target is the winner! Perhaps the winner gets to set the next target, or choose how you both celebrate their success, for example.
9 Listen to audio books. Download audio books onto your phone, your MP3 player, your smartphone, tablet, etc – and hear your way through some new books. You can listen to audio books in the car, at your work desk, in the supermarket, on your morning run, before bed, anywhere. You can also download (rent) free audio books from your local library/library website.
10 Read at your computer. Download some eBooks to your computer, or computer-based e-Reader, and read at your desk. You can collect stories and digital books for free, or low prices. Maybe read a chapter every time you’re at your desk before you start working, or before you leave for the day. Maybe you can read while you eat your lunch. Vary your choice of reading material – poetry, short stories, non-fiction books/articles are just as interesting and informative as fictional novels, and you’ll zip through them in much less time!