How to Read More Books

How to Read More Books

by: Emily Thomas

Want to read more books? Join the club! It can be a challenge to fit reading into a busy schedule and full life, but it's a worthwhile one: books are one of life's greatest pleasures: they teach us, they relax us, they connect us, and they delight us.

As enthusiastic readers, one of the questions Team Cultivate gets asked often is, "how do you find time to read more books?" It's something we think about often, and we're happy to help. If you're wondering how to read more, these fourteen tips can help you find the time to keep turning pages. Let's go!

Psst—love to read? You'll love the Cultivated Reading Journal! Choose from Dainty Blooms, Blush, and Blue.

Cultivated Reading Journal with a cup of tea and books

How to Read More Books

1. Keep a book with you at all times. 

Waiting at the doctor's office, idling in the carpool line, sitting on the sidelines at your child's practice... life is full of little pockets of time that can be redeemed with a book! If you tuck a book in your bag (maybe a designated "on-the-go" book, so you don't have to worry about transferring your current read between your purse and wherever else you read), you'll be more likely to pick up a book than to pick up your phone and scroll.

2. Read during lunch.

Have a lunch break? Use it to read! Whether you work a traditional schedule, stay home with kids, or work from home, reading for a few minutes while you nibble can be a dose of delight in the middle of the day.

3. Try audiobooks.

The huge advantage here is that you can listen while you're doing something else: cleaning, driving, and exercising were all favorite double-duty opportunities Cultivators mentioned. For newer listeners, it may take some time to find the right fit (maybe you prefer fiction or non-fiction, or concentrate better during some activities), but it can be worth it to figure out what works for you!

And psst—if you're an audiobook gal, we highly recommend downloading the free Libby app! It gives you borrowing access to thousands of books through your local library. Wait times can be long for new releases, but if they've been out for a year or two, you'll likely get them instantly.

4. Consider an e-reader.

Likewise, an e-reader (like a Kindle Paperwhite) can make reading on-the-go even simpler. An e-reader is a particularly good investment for those who travel often, since packing a stack of books for work travel or vacation is not always practical.

5. Connect with a friend.

For a reader, chatting recommendations and recent reads with a bookish friend is one of life's great delights. And, if you regularly bring up books in conversation, you might find yourself more motivated to fly through titles (so you have tidbits to add!). Friends can also lend books and keep your TBR list well-stocked with excellent recommendations, so you always have a new read you're excited to dive into.

6. Try accountability.

Accountability is a tried-and-true goal-setting strategy and you can harness it in many different ways. Regularly share what you're reading on a group chat or social media. Join a book club. Swap text message emojis with a friend once you've hit your reading goal for the day.

7. Read books you're passionate about.

You'll be shocked how much time you find to read when you're in the middle of a book you can't put down. That doesn't mean you're relegated to easy, fluffy reads, just that it's worth finding genres, authors, and series you particularly enjoy. And if you do find yourself a few chapters into a book you're not loving...

8. Ditch books you aren't loving.

Life's too short to read boring books! Not every book is right for every reader's palette or every season. Even if it's getting rave reviews, or you feel you "should" read it, move on without hesitation. 

9. Remove distractions.

What calls you away from the page? Is it the pile of unfolded laundry? The email on your work laptop? Your phone? Take a moment to think through the things that most often distract you from reading and make a simple plan to avoid them. 

For example, if it's your phone, you might charge it in another room while you read. Out of sight is usually enough to keep it out of mind!

10. Pre-plan your reading.

It's easier to keep momentum rolling than to have to restart it over and over again. One way to help with this is to always know what you're reading next. You can do this by simply keeping your next read at the top of your TBR queue, or you can try what Emily on our team has done for the past few years: pre-plan one fiction and one non-fiction book for all 12 months of the year in January.

Your Reading Journal makes pre-planning easy!

11. Be present with your kids.

Have you ever heard the parenting advice "be the plant"? Especially for those with older kids, the idea is that our kids often want us nearby, but they don't want or need us to hover or interact with them directly—they just want our quiet presence so that we're available if they do need us (like a potted plant!). Having a book in your hand is the perfect excuse to stay close but not seem too needy :) Try it while they're doing their homework or playing with their siblings or friends. 

Bonus: you'll be modeling so many good things for them, like a love of reading and taking time to rest and be refreshed!

12. Read alongside your kids.

If your kids are reading for pleasure or completing a reading assignment for school, grab your own book and sit down next to them! Other fun ideas: invite them to pass books your way they think you'll like, or read their assigned school books alongside them.

13. Read multiple books at once.

Having at least one fiction and one non-fiction book going at once means you'll always have something you're in the mood for at your fingertips. For example, some of us like to read a non-fiction in the morning or during the day and a fiction before bed.

14. Track your habit.

You knew this one was coming, right? :) We're big believers in tracking the things that matter, because it's fun and motivating to see your effort add up over time. You can track days you read for any time at all, hours read, pages read, or some other stat that matters to you. GoodReads is a great digital option and you know we love a paper habit tracker! Your PowerSheets® goal planner is great for this, too.

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Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas is Cultivate What Matters' Content Strategist and Writer. With over a decade at Cultivate, Emily loves helping women uncover what matters, set good goals, and live them out with joy. Her free time is spent with her high-school-sweetheart husband and three young kiddos.

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