Finding Time to Read

Much has been written about the benefits of reading. Not skimming Facebook, Twitter links, or blog posts, but focused reading, especially books, or at least magazines that don’t feature a celebrity on the cover.

I am a reader. I average about three books a month on different topics. When I tell people this, invariably they lament how much they’d like to read but can’t find the time. That usually leads to the question, ‘How do you do it?” The answer: time can be found if you just look for it.

Ideally, you should schedule time to read (before bed, for example). But when that’s not possible, turn periods of down time into reading opportunities. Following are some that work for me. This does require that you always have a book handy. Digital versions are convenient (though I prefer the real thing in my hands). Regardless, having good reading material stashed within easy reach (on your desk, in your briefcase, in your car) is key. That way it’s readily available when you are…

  • Early for a meeting
  • Eating alone
  • Waiting for friends to arrive
  • In a doctor’s waiting room
  • Having your car serviced
  • At the DMV
  • Called for jury duty
  • Waiting in a parking lot
  • On a plane, train or bus
  • Weather-delayed
  • Waiting for a class to start
  • On hold with customer service

Our default these days to filling up short periods like those is to gaze at our smartphone. Instead, fill it with reading something that helps you grow personally or professionally, or simply take a breath. It’s a smart use of time.