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how to read when you're a busy bee

autumn means cooler weather, pumpkin spice lattes, and leaves changing color. but it also means A TON of new releases. it’s like all the books you were anticipating decided to come out in the same week so your sorry soul wouldn’t be able to deal. (thanks for that, publishers!!) (that was sarcasm if you didn’t detect. i mean i love publishers, but sometimes i feel like they intentionally want to torture us bookworms if you know what i mean.)

you know what else happens in autumn? SCHOOL. (well, for “kids” like myself anyway.) the holidays are also coming around which means: 1/ gift shopping, 2/ family visiting, 3/ life getting in the way of EVERYTHING. and by everything, i mean reading. so… i don’t know about you, but autumn is extremely busy.

so here’s the big question: how do we continue to read when we are superbly busy?

because lists are better than (almost) everything else in the world, I MADE A LIST!! here is how i continue to read when i’m too busy for words. let’s be honest, there’s NO WAY i’m going to let life delay my reading of these amazing releases. i need to read it noooowwww.

carry on rainbow rowell

sleep is for the weak.

okay, this is probably an AWFUL tip, as it may cause you to pull an all-nighter from getting sucked into a book BUT i’m warning you now! when i have no time to read during the day, i try to read at least one chapter or x-amount of pages before bed. like i said earlier, chapters can end on mini-cliff hangers and it may cause you to think, “just one more chapter.” i want to tell you to keep reading… but make the right choice (and by ‘right choice’ i mean the one you won’t regret the next morning.)

set a scheduled time during the day for reading

so maybe you know reading before you sleep isn’t a good idea. instead, you could set aside a certain time frame – during your lunch break, in between classes, etc – for reading. i think it’s better than reading a few paragraphs whenever you have the time. setting aside a certain time frame will allow you be truly engrossed in the book before you’re forced to stop.

read when you can!

i don’t necessarily mean reading a few words while you wait for your chipotle order; i just said you shouldn’t do that. i meaaaan read when you have a while to wait. examples: your daily commute to work or school (it takes me 45 minutes to get to ballet), waiting in a doctor’s office, while you eat your lunch… you get the idea.

listen to audio books!

while i’ve never tried audio books, i think this is a good idea. what if you’re doing something – like walking or driving – that won’t allow you to read, is time-consuming, and doesn’t require a ton of focus? audio book!!! yeah? yeah.

read in the shower

you heard me. if life is REALLY getting crazy and you’re unable to do any of the above (and even if you are able to) try reading in the shower. the concept seemed insane at first, but IT’S POSSIBLE! i saw xtinemay’s video and it saved my life. (well, actually i’ve never tried reading the shower – HAH – but i’m sure it’s really effective.)

spend less time on the internet

we probably spend more time online than we’d like to admit, which also means a lot of potential reading time is lost. the next time you’re about to open twitter, stop and open a book instead. and even if you can’t bring a physical book around, there’re always things called EBOOKS. yeah, a book! on your phone! witchcraft! i know!

now it’s your turn to tell me (or help me): how do YOU read when your life gets in the way? let me know in the comments!!

Alexandra Ling

alexandra is a nineteen-year-old content creator and avid reader. when she's not on the internet or hiding behind pages, you can find her training to be a professional ballet dancer. she finds writing about herself in third-person strange.

  • Three words: reading in class ? finished your work? Read. Teacher is boring? Read. (Actually, maybe don’t do that)

  • Reading in the shower frightens me too much. Perhaps if I had the waterproof e-reader, haha. I also wish I could do audiobooks, but so far it hasn’t been successful. I like to use the scheduled time; before I go to sleep 🙂

  • This is such a great post Alexandria. With school, extracurricular activities, and homework, it’s so hard to find time to read and blog, but these are some great tips on how to utilize your time. I think the idea of having a “set reading time” is really simple yet effective, and reading whenever you can – even if it’s for a few minutes at a time – can be helpful too. Thanks for sharing this and, as always, fabulous tips! ♥

  • I have two kids and a full time job, it’s almost impossible for me to read. But I love books so much, so I have to make time to read. What helps me the most is an e-reader, because it’s so portable you carry it everywhere, making books easier to access.

  • I definitely read in bed before going to sleep! I tend to forget the time and end up reading for much longer than I planned, but what can you do? I also tend to read on the toilet. TMI? No one can bother you when you’re in the bathroom, so it’s kind of genius! 🙂
    ~Sara

  • I started to ditch my headphones (unless I’m listening to an audiobook) for my commute to/from work and replaced it with reading. It takes me 30 minutes to 45mins to get home and it’s amazing how much progress you can make in a book instead of listening to the same old songs over and over again.

  • I think less time on the internet would be the most helpful for me… I waste far too much time on tumblr

  • I read at class 😀 When I think I’ve done enough exercises at class, I’d read until my teacher threatened to took it away… I also read at lunch, and before I sleep. I bring my books everywhere, so when my crazy student life gives an opportunity to read, I could easily do it 😀

  • I saw “spend less time on the internet” and mind screamed! 🙂 I spend waaaay too much time on the internet watching time fly by. I think spending less time on the internet would cause my whole world to stop turning and fall completely off of its axis 😀 Though I’m thinking about reading audio books while doing hw (lets all hope that would work)

  • these are are all awesome tips, xan!! i definitely set time aside at night before bed to read, and LOL READING IN THE SHOWER. i would if i could, like i’m blind as a bat with my contacts/glasses, and i shower at night after i take out my contacts, so that wouldn’t really work, eh? 😉

  • when I’m so busy, I just read whenever I can – I read on the train, while waiting for my next class, while waiting for food, or whatever else… I try not to read so late at night just because I need to wake up really early for school.. but if I’m reading a really exciting book, forget sleeping early! lol.
    and ohgod, that reading in the shower video!! LOL. XD

  • Macie

    Reading before bed sounds like suicide. By 3 am I’m so out of wack you’d think I belonged in a mental asylum. I think reading in the shower sounds a little crazy, and could really make my family irritated by the long showers, but hey, maybe I’ll try it.

  • LOL witchcraft indeed. What are these electronic devices you speak of? I think for me I just need to spend less time on the internet in general. Netflix can consume my time a little too quickly :/ Like just a little bit ago I was watching revenge of the bridesmaids and boom, there goes a lot of my evening. I used to stay up late and be a night owl in college, but I can’t do that now with work. I have read a couple times during lunch though! The trouble with that for me is I can get too sucked into the book and only have an hour to read before I have to drag myself back to work D: I prefer to read on the weekend or right after I get home from work so I have lots of time to sink into the book and enjoy it. It’s harder for me to get into a book when I’m jumping in and out of it a few hours at a time.

  • I feel like I struggle with reading throughout the day. Some days I can go days and get through 100 pages. Those are the slow days! And then there are the days where the book is so good I finish it within two days. UGH I hate it sometimes because there is legit no time to read because of school and blogging! And ugh! But, when my family takes road trips, I tend to get a lot of reading and blogging done because it’s a whole 7-12 hours of pure sitting in the car (and I love it!) Great post and thanks for sharing 🙂

    ~Kaitlin

  • Rofl. I laughed so hard at the shower reading — mostly because I’m occasionally guilty of it. At least now I know I’ve been doing it right ;D And yep, audiobooks have allowed me to read way more than I otherwise would be able to, particularly since graduating from university. This also reminds me of how I used to read under the table in high school whenever I got to sit in the back rows. Heh. Not a stealer role model but it did get me through boring classes during nobody learnt anything anyway.

    Now, as for useful ways to increase one’s reading output, I agree wholeheartedly with the pencilling it into your calendar. I can’t count the hours I’ve killed daydreaming and doing next to nothing when I could’ve been reading. Intentionality does play a big factor in the things that we do.

  • I definitely need to watch that video about reading in the shower because I just can’t wrap my head around it.

    I follow all these tips for a successful reading day every day (okay, most days) and it works! I keep pausing while reading to go on the Internets which I really need to stop doing. Or like do less of.

    I don’t do audiobooks, though. I only listened to 2 hours of The Raven Boys in October and have 9 hours left and the narrator isn’t helping things. (Save me).

  • I love to read in the bath!! If I find that I haven’t really had the time to sit down and read then the bath is a perfect chance for me to do that. Plus it relaxes me. (Except that time I read Say Her Name and became convinced that Bloody Mary was going to come for me).

  • TaraM

    I read in nearly every opportunity i get, finished the math questions in class? instead of doing some extension work i’m always reading.