In the survey I conducted for my book The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You, I asked women what they would do if they had more time. The number one answer?
I’m sitting on a plane right now with people reading all around me. Plane rides always feel like a luxury for me because of the uninterrupted time to write and read.
But plane rides don’t happen every day — and I do find time to read every day.
Want to know my secret? Here’s when, as a working mom with three kids, I find time to read. Now of course, all of these things don’t happen every day, but usually a combination does. This year I am reading anywhere from 3-7 books a month, so these habits definitely work. I am already on my third book for May!
In the morning: Though I often write in the morning, I usually read at least a few pages before I go to work. I often read while I am blow drying my hair, eating breakfast, etc. While this doesn’t amount to a huge quantity of pages, it is still time spent reading.
Times of waiting: This is a big one. On average we wait 45-60 minutes a day. Too often this time can be flittered away instead of used intentionally. I have a kindle app on my phone, so sometimes I read that way. Other times, I listen to an audiobook on my audible app. (I have recently started listening to audiobooks. If you haven’t tried it, here are six reasons I love them and you will too) Still other times, I read a physical book that I have brought with me. It is important to note that times of waiting can only be leveraged if you are prepared. Never leave the house without a book!
In the car: If I am driving (particularly when I am by myself), I like to listen to audiobooks. If I am a passenger, I always have a book with me. Sometimes I won’t be able to read it, but a lot of times I am able to squeeze in at least a few pages.
Lunch: At least one day a week I spend my lunch break reading. It’s amazing how many pages I can finish in that 40ish minutes.
While the kids are playing: My big kids Elias and Adeline are at an age where I don’t have to have my eyes on them every single second. Often, I will sit aside with them and read while they play. Of course, my 2-year-old Ezra can make things more challenging, but once in awhile I luck out and have all three of them happily playing, enabling me to read a good book. For example, with it being summer, we have been enjoying our community pool. Ezra likes to sit on the pool steps and splash. Last time we went I sat next to him and read there, while my husband Matthew played with the big kids. Sure it resulted in some wet pages and lots of interrupted, but I finished a chapter or two.
While doing chores: Listening to audio books allows me to "read" while doing laundry, making dinner, emptying the dishwasher, etc. It makes those chores a lot more enjoyable too!
Before bed: I love reading before I go to bed. Even if I am so tired I can hardly keep my eyes open, I usually read a few pages before bed. And if I am not super tired, I will read for 30 minutes or more.
Though this isn't about finding the time, I do think it helps to have a big stack of books you want to read. Seeing great books stacked on my bookshelf or nightstand motivates me to want to read more books!
If you are wanting to read more books, I hope this post encourages you to use your fringe hours and make time to read. For more on the idea of fringe hours, check out my books.
How do you find time to read?