Can you tell it's the end of the school year? Educators and students alike are working to get through those last few weeks of school, and for many these are the most hectic weeks of the year. Add my name to that list- I have been swamped! Between my regular work, wrapping up major projects, helping teachers finish up the school year, getting my son's schoolwork finished, setting up two summer school courses... let's just say I'm toast!
It's easy for me to put reading on the back burner when life gets like this, so I have come up with some strategies that help me fit in a few pages every day:
1. Carry your book with you wherever you go: My son has some sort of sports activity, social event, or class just about every day. I always bring my current book along in my purse or car so that I know I will get the chance to sneak in some quiet mom time. While the other moms are gossiping loudly or hovering over their child, I sit on the sidelines and read. Bonus side effect- while people judge the mom who is on her phone during swimming lessons, I just look like a book nerd.
2. Have several books on the go: Ladies, are you ever far from a lip gloss? If you're like me, probably not. That's because I have the (sometimes expensive) habit of leaving lip gloss all over the place- my bedside table, my kitchen, my car, my desk, my work bag... no place is safe. I am often the same with books. I might have four different books on the go- one by my bed, one in my car, one in my purse, one on my desk. This means that whenever the mood strikes- and whenever time allows- I can read a page or two. This also helps if I am reading something particularly deep and heavy. Switching to other books gives me extra time to digest.
3. Create a routine: At the end of the night, I always read with my son. He is now onto "chapter books," so we decide on a number of pages that he will read and then he heads to bed. As soon as we are done, I move on to my own book. Even if I only get a page or two in, it keeps me in the routine. I find that this helps my sleep as it helps me wind down and forget about my looming to-do list at the end of the day.
4. Make reading your "time waster of choice": Everyone needs some time to zone out. Whether we sit around and listen to music, watch TV, or chat on the phone with a friend, I believe that this time is essential for us to recharge our batteries. Sometimes I will find myself reaching for the phone or iPad to mindlessly play Candy Crush or some other time suck. If you have ever played Candy Crush, you know how easy it is to get sucked in. You think you're going to play for five minutes, and forty minutes later you're still stuck on your level. I notice that when I play these games, I don't feel good. I get frustrated with myself for wasting time on something unproductive. I never get angry with myself, however, for spending too much time reading a book. Now I consciously try to reach for a book instead of an electronic device. I still get to unwind, but I feel good about my choice of activity.
5. Audio books count too: I often go on work related trips to a city that is a three hour drive away, and if I want to visit family I need to drive for eight and a half hours. I often take these trips alone or with a sleeping kid in the back seat. For some reason, hearing voices chat helps to make the time go by much more quickly than music does. If I'm on my game, I will go to the library or download an audio book to listen to on the drive. My bonus tip- go for a comedy. There is a big difference between reading Bossypants and hearing Tiny Fey read it to you. When given the chance, go for the latter!
Food for thought... how do you fit reading into a busy day?