How To Make Time To Read : 9 Simple Strategies

Life is busy.  School, work, family, sport…. the list goes on and on.

Even if you love to read, how do you find time in your busy day to sit down and spend some time reading for pleasure, not work or school?

Well, here are a few suggestions that just might help.


TBR – most commonly known as the dreaded To Be Read pile.  That pile/shelf/box of books that you have been wanting to read but just haven’t gotten to them yet.  And if you are anything like me, that To Be Read pile just gets bigger and bigger over time.  But, TBR can also stand for Tailored Book Recommendations.  What’s that you ask?  This service can be accessed on the internet as a subscription-based  programme, but also, you the staff at your local library will be more than happy to help you with reading recommendations based on your personal preferences.  Some libraries offer this through online questionnaires, but all libraries will be more than happy to help you out if you go and visit them.

And don’t forget our school library.  Our school library staff (Helen & Kelsy) are more than happy to help students, staff and parents with reading recommendations.

Also, check out the library blog posts for book spotlights, reading  lists and reading to a theme ideas.


It can be hard to think about reading for pleasure in your leisure time when you already spend a lot of time reading for school or work.  But one strategy is to have a designated work or school reading spot and a different leisure time reading spot.  This helps maintain a healthy work-life balance and can ensure that you actually have time to read for fun.


Have you tried listening to audiobooks?  Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that listening to audiobooks is not “real” reading.  These days most books are released as audiobooks and are often read by the author themselves.  Audiobooks are a great way to get in some book time whilst doing housework, cooking, shopping or exercising.

Audiobooks are easy to get hold of.  Most local libraries will have access to audiobooks available in their elibrary catalogues for library members.  There are also subscription services such as Audible, where you pay a monthly fee for access to their library of audiobooks.  Access to audiobooks are also something that the school library is hoping to trial later this year.


How much time do you spend staring at a screen in your average day?  Phones, tablets, laptops, all of these are now staples in most of our lives and they may be taking up more time than you realise.  But what if I read ebooks on my device?  A good question, but you can still limit your time on other apps that take away from your reading time.  Why not try out apps like Flora or Forest that help you limit screen time.  Once you set a timer, a little flower or tree will grow on your screen.  However, if you use your phone the flower or tree will die.


This seems simple and a bit of a no-brainer.  But can be easier said than done.  Have a thank about your day to day activities.  Can you go to bed 30 minutes earlier and read use that time to read?  Can you read on the bus or train rather than using social media?  Why not start small?  Find a time each day you can spend even 5 minutes reading for pleasure.  If this works for you, then gradually increase your leisure reading time to a level that works for you.  The key, as with developing any new habit, is to find a routine and stick to it.  Consistency is the key.


Whilst it would be great to be able to spend hours at a time reading for pleasure, this is not always feasible.  Find small bit of time during your day when you can read.  On public transport, eating lunch, dare I say… in the bathroom?  Bring a book with you when going to meet friends and get in some reading time if you end up waiting for them.  I always found reading when I was waiting to pick up my children from school or whilst waiting for them during their after school activities was sometimes the only time I could find to read all day.


Sometimes you just need a break from routine, and that can mean a break from your reading routine too.  If you just don’t have the energy to read one day, don’t push – reading for pleasure is meant to be just that, pleasure, not a chore.  Maybe you just need a change of reading material.  Try a light contemporary read rather than that blood-thirsty fantasy you are slogging through.  Switch to an audiobook – you can read with your eyes closed.   Or if you just need an evening in front of Netflix instead of the gruesome crime novel you just started – go for it.


Sometimes we all need a goal to strive towards to keep us motivated.  For some of us just deciding to “read more” can seem a bit daunting. But if you break this larger goal down into smaller, achievable goals then the impossible can seem possible.  Join a formal reading challenge, many of which are available on the Internet. Try Goodreads or Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge.  Join or start a bookclub with colleagues or friends.  Then you have the goal of reading the book club book by the next meeting.  Some people work better when they set their own challenges, some need challenges set externally to keep them motivated.  Which ever way works for you, go for it.  Your reading life will only benefit from chasing those goals.

and finally…


Are you just not feeling it?  Can’t get excited about the story? None of the characters make you care about them?  Then it is not a crime to just stop reading.  If the book you are reading just isn’t enjoyable for you then that’s fine, even if it is the latest buzz book that everyone raves about.  Life is too short for bad books – or good books that you are just not enjoying.  Give yourself permission to put that book aside and try something new.


Whatever strategy works for you, go for it.  Do you have a strategy not listed here, why not share your ideas in the comments?

One thing to remember, Helen and Kesly in the school library love reading and love to talk about reading.  We are always happy to spend time with you discussing your reading preferences and to try and help you find something you will enjoy.








[source: Book Riot article “How To Make Time To Read : 7 Strategies“, by Rebecca Wei Hsieh, 29/05/2019 and “How To Read More in 6 Easy Steps“by Corin Balkovek, 14/01/2019]

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