3 ways to read more even when you have absolutely no time

Many of us love to read, but, honestly, with everything going on this year and last, something had to give, right? We know reading is good for our careers, personal growth, and to just unwind or be entertained. Most days, though, we don’t have the luxury of 30 minutes to sit down with a good book and a cup of tea. 

And don’t get me started on the “reading streak” challenges, where you need to read 10 pages every day, without fail. Perfection isn’t attainable, and putting pressure on something that should be pleasurable is just silly.

So, without further ado, I have a few ideas for you to read more (in less time).

Listening is reading too

Does it really matter if you take in a good book with your ears instead of your eyes? No. What matters is that you’re reading, learning and enjoying the experience. Audiobooks are the best way to consume more literature when you don’t have time to sit down and read.

Before you respond with the excuse that you still don’t have time for that, I have a few sneaky suggestions for when you can listen to your next audiobook:

  • While doing the dishes
  • When folding laundry
  • While out on your morning stroll
  • When driving to the grocery store
  • During your commute (if and when we ever do that again)

While multitasking, your listening time may only amount to 10 minutes a day, but it’s still more than you were reading before. And if you already love a good podcast, making the leap to audiobooks is seamless. Services like Audible, Libro.fm (where you support local bookstores), and even Apple Books make it easy for you to listen to your next read.

Reduce friction in your reading experience

The next way to read more is to make it easier to take your book with you (even around the house) and to pick up and enjoy. There are two keys to this tip:

  • Purchasing your next read needs to be instantaneous
  • Getting into the book needs to require the least amount of energy possible

Both of these tips to get you reading more by eliminating nasty little mental hurdles can be achieved with audiobooks, but they can also be met with e-readers. The Kindle is the most ubiquitous option in the marketplace, but others exist, like Kobo

You can purchase your next read and start it within seconds. No more pre-ordering a new release and then checking the mailbox every day, hoping you’ll still be as excited to read it when it arrives. Bonus: e-books are cheaper than physical copies, and you don’t need to lug around heavy boxes of them next time you move.

Lastly, and I know this sounds ridiculous, but it’s been true for me and my book-loving friends… E-readers are simply lighter and easier to hold than a normal book. Any other busy parents or baby-wranglers will know the value of an e-reader you can hold in one hand, with a backlight that means you don’t need to turn the lights on to read. Even without added responsibilities, a lightweight, small e-reader with options for reading in daylight and at night takes away all your tired reasons for not picking up a book.

You’re not in school anymore. Take the shortcut

How many times have you seen an interesting new release and thought: “I would love to read that, but I don’t have 10 hours right now.” You aren’t alone, and that, my friends, is why book summaries exist. You may have even seen them on your favorite audiobook or e-reader platforms. They cost a fraction of the original, and yet they contain all the same golden nuggets (without the fluff).

My favorite discovery this year has been an app that takes book summaries to a whole new level by offering them to you in 10–15 minute audio (or written) summaries. The app is called Blinkist, and it was designed for people like you and me, who want to learn and grow and read, but who has the time?! 

Your high school English teacher isn’t going to hunt you down now if you read a summary of a book or get through the entire thing yourself. And I’m sure reading purists will chaff at this thought. But this isn’t a competition, and these shortcuts will help you read more, in less time, which is all we really want.