“I wish I could read for leisure more but I am just too busy” – said all of you. Ok, that’s an overgeneralized statement but I do see and hear that being said from many of you. One of the greatest lies ever told is that we simply don’t have enough time to (fill in the blank). It isn’t that we don’t have enough time; if we are honest with ourselves, we most likely don’t have enough discipline. I have that same issue and talk about it here, but I am proud to say that I have grown to be consistent over these past two weeks with a book in hand everyday. A few days prior to the new year, I made a commitment to read every single day from the books that have been collecting dust on my bookshelf. In fact, I am in the process of reading two books: I read 1-2 chapters of Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend every morning and I read 1-2 chapters of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond every night. These two books are of two totally different genres but both keep me equally engaged in the pages. I highly recommend both and will follow up with a book review for each once completed.
I am over halfway done with both books and I wanted to take the time in this post to share some tips that helped me get back to my favorite pastime.
- Do what I did above – make reading a part of your morning/nightly routine. If you want to start off slow, choose the time in which you have the most energy. I am everything but a morning person but the book I am reading (Boundaries) serves as a devotional to me which helps boost my day. I only read one chapter so I don’t get overwhelmed (unless that chapter sucked me in and I can’t stop reading. The book I read in the evening (Evicted) has longer chapters than Boundaries but is a highly engaging read and is relevant to what I am studying in my graduate studies program. It only takes me 30 minutes or less to get through one chapter per book.
- On your lunch break, leave your phone at your desk, in your locker, in your purse – anywhere but in your hand and take a book instead. You’d be surprised how much time we waste on the phone during the breaks we have allotted to us throughout the day. 30 minutes here to an hour there – you’d be done with a book in no time.
- We are the “continue to sit on the toilet even after we are done using it” generation. If you are going to just sit there, take the book with you. Try this out the first few times and I guarantee by the end of the week, you won’t even miss your phone.
- Scheduled any appointments for the upcoming week? Hair, dental, OBGYN – all good places to have a book handy. You already have to wait in the waiting room and then have to wait in the room before your doctor is ready to see you. Those few minutes slowly but surely add up so go ahead and knock some pages out.
- If you are so pressed to believe that you simply do not have the time to physically sit down and turn the pages of a book, try e-books. Download them and listen to them during your daily commute, while you exercise, while you are cooking, etc. It won’t feel as though you are interrupting your “most important” tasks throughout the day and you are killing two birds with one stone. Personally, I love the feel and smell of a good book and I need to see the words in order to paint a picture as I read.
See, five very doable ways to incorporate literature into (or back into) your schedule without hindering your fake ever-so-busy schedule. Try one, or several, of these tips for the next 7 days and keep me updated on your progress.