We’re all busy people with lives to live. Jobs to despair through, plants to water and seven different meals to prepare for three children. For many of us there aren’t a lot of hours in the day to spare for recreation, but reading is worth making the effort for. As well as making us smarter, it enhances our capacity to be empathetic and is an all-round special kind of entertainment.
The benefits are there, we just have to take them. But how do we make time for reading with such hectic schedules? Even those of us with the busiest timetables have time if we know where to look for it. Take a look at these tips to help you make time for reading:
Get Yourself Some Audiobooks
If the act of picking up a book and sitting down is impossible, audiobooks are the key to a literary life. Your hands are full, your plate fuller, but you can still listen to your favourite book. Audiobooks are easy and cheap to produce, so even your favourite independent authors are likely to have an audio version of their books available. If you fancy a journey to another world while you’re doing the dishes, put on an audiobook and become the master of multi-tasking.
Use Your Commute and Breaks Wisely
The hour or half an hour that breaks up our work day is often frittered away checking Facebook. Addictive though it may be, ditch the social media during your breaks in favour of a book. Not only is it better for your brain but you will feel more relaxed for the rest of your day. Reading about an adventure on a faraway planet is much better for your nerves than exasperating over what Aunt Carol has said to cousin Tina (this time).
OK, this isn’t a great idea if you’re swimming, but the treadmill or the exercise bike are perfect opportunities to read. Prop up your book on the display screen (do you really want to see your heart rate spiralling out of control?) and start yourself a good, long read. Even if you’re doing calf curls, your hands are free, aren’t they?
If you’re prone to getting bored during gym workouts, reading could be a great incentive to start. Cycling or running on the spot isn’t great for mental stimulation. Even if a book is too clunky to take the gym, again make use of audiobooks and play some Tolkien instead of toe-tapping tunes.
Make Up Imaginary Errands
What better way to get some time to yourself than to pretend to do stuff you’re not actually doing? Going to the bank becomes spending twenty-five minutes having a coffee with a book. Posting a letter becomes crouching in a bush to finish aforementioned coffee and book. The neighbours might look at you a little funny but at least you made it to chapter three. As for all those un-posted letters, they can wait a few more days, right?
We love books for a reason, and no matter how busy we are, we should always try and make time for reading. Not just for our mental health or to become smarter, but because we enjoy them so much. The time we take for ourselves is important, especially if our hobbies are good for our health. So even if you are hiding in bushes or behind dustbins to snatch that elusive ten minutes, do your best to make time for reading.