10 Ways to Find More Time for Reading

Mailbag Monday

Question: How do you find time to do so much reading?

Hi, Jennifer.

I know you have to be very busy with so many children and grandchildren. How in the world do you manage to read so many books with all your other responsibilities? I want to read more, but have trouble fitting it in.

Thankful for any tips you can give,

Make Time for Reading

Answer: I squeeze reading in everywhere I can!

Hi, Abby.

You are right on both counts: I am very busy and I do read a lot. Currently, I finish six to eight books a month. But most of that reading is done in small stretches (20 minutes or less).

Seldom do I spend uninterrupted hours at a time relaxing with an open book. No matter how interesting I found the storyline, I’d probably fall promptly to sleep if I even tried!

But all those little snatches of time spent reading really add up in the long run. Most of the books I read alone are non-fiction, so they’re easier to pick up and put down as needed. I love non-fiction, so this approach works for me.

If you want to read more, it’s imperative that you pick books you are actually interested in. If you find a few chapters in you aren’t enjoying one, give yourself the freedom to lay it aside and read something else, instead.

Find More Time for Reading

Here are my “secrets” to fitting book reading into an already busy schedule:

  1. Start with the Bible

    I’ve found that when I begin each day with Bible-reading, the hours that follow are far more productive. This One-Year Bible Reading Plan will take you through the whole thing in 12 months.

    One Year Bible Reading Plan

  2. Include the Family

    Use story time to share great books with your kids. Reading picture books to babies is a great start, but please don’t stop there. Read aloud to your kids as long as they are under your roof. By doing so, you will help build your children’s vocabularies, hone their listening skills, sharpen their imaginations, and bond as a family. The benefits are too good to miss.

    50 Books to Read Aloud

  3. Use Waiting Time Wisely

    Keep a book handy in your purse or car to use while waiting for doctor’s appointments, in school or grocery pick-up lines, at train stations or bus stops, or any other time you have to wait. If you don’t mind reading digital books (I personally prefer paper), reading-while-waiting is even easier.

    read while waiting

  4. Multi-Task While Choring

    Plug in an audiobook and listen while you’re washing dishes, mopping floors, or folding clothes. This kind of multi-tasking makes great sense.


  5. Read for Recreation

    One way to find more time for reading is to repurpose downtime. Instead of turning to Netflix or scrolling through social media, pick up a book and read a few chapters.

    Reading on the Beach

  6. Double-duty Exercise

    Build your brain and your muscles at the same time by listening to audiobooks while working out.


  7. Audiobooks on the Road

    Whether you are embarking on a thousand-mile road trip or simply commuting across town, make the best use of that time by listening to audiobooks as you drive. Subscribe to Audible to get instant access to a huge library of books for your listening pleasure, or check out the public domain titles available on Librivox. Alternatively, you can download one audiobook per month from Christian Audio (their choice of titles) completely free, no strings attached.


  8. Lesson Learned

    As a homeschool mom, I do a lot of reading connected with school. Every year, I read several math and science textbooks cover-to-cover, on top of all the history, biographies, poetry, and “living books” that comprise our homeschool curriculum. Even if you don’t homeschool, if you routinely help your children with their homework, you’ll likely get some good reading in while doing so.


  9. Screen-Free Sundays

    I’ve been trying to stay off my digital devices on Sundays. We attend an 8 AM worship service, then devote the rest of the day to food, fun, and fellowship with family and friends. But we often enjoy a bit of a lull on Sunday afternoons, and I usually spend at least part of that reading.

    Screen Free Sundays

  10. Books before Bedtime

    Children the world over enjoy good bedtime stories, but the ritual of reading before tucking in isn’t just for kids. I keep a sudoku book in the bathroom to work on while soaking in the tub and a chapter book in the drawer of my nightstand so I can finish a few pages before bed. The combination is a great way to end the day. Try it sometime!

    reading before bed

Want more ideas for cultivating a love for reading in yourself or your kids? Check out this post: 25 Ways to Encourage Literacy

Make Time for Reading

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