Now, where did reading come from when there’s already so much to do in a mom’s life?
Interestingly, though, an investigation into the healing benefits of reading by Liverpool University showed a direct relation between reading and the treatment of stress/depression as well as general well-being.
But then, you can only make time for something this important (i.e. read) when you have most of your day in your control.
I have been struggling with my reading habit lately too but I know making time to read a quality book ALWAYS reduces the distance between my current and ideal self.
So, here are a plan and persuasion points I have whipped up to help you and myself conscientiously commit to making time to read.
Table of Contents
- BEFORE YOU BEGIN TO MAKE TIME TO READ
- WHEN YOU’RE READY TO MAKE TIME TO READ
BEFORE YOU BEGIN TO MAKE TIME TO READ
You CAN NOT have a smooth sailing reading schedule when the rest of your day is a horrible mess. You’ve got to change how you use time overall a bit and I assure you, not only will you find more time to read, you feel more disciplined, at peace and purposeful.
So, let’s dive in!
1. STEP BACK TO STEP UP
You only have so much time in a day. People’s life productivity varies depending on how wisely they use this time (or not!). To use your time productively: (a) make a WRITTEN PLAN and (b) then stick to it!
- Use This Time Management Matrix
Do look into the details of Dr. Covey’s time management matrix. It’s extremely useful. See where you spend most of your time.
Also, have you experienced how a written plan brings more clarity than a plan which is only in our mind?
You can’t keep adding things to your day and expect that somehow a particular mindset or hack will get you through. Use the next tip.
- Use Time Budgeting
It’s essentially that: before you can spare some time, (like money) you need to know how much you have and then assign it to your priorities accordingly.
2. REDUCE RESISTANCE WITH ROUTINES
Much energy is wasted trying to convince ourselves to get going with the next thing in mind. Once you establish a routine for your days, you’ll see an increase in your speed and productivity. But I tell you, there’s no looking at this realm from the outside. You’ll only know the magic once you get into a routine.
Don’t get all robotic though!
Begin by setting a routine for your BIG tasks. An S.A.H.M could even simply start with routine-izing (#ruthless word coining):
- Sleep and Wakeup times
- Laundry and Dishes
- Child’s Play (not the horror movie!)
3. MONO- ANDDDD MULTITASK
While mono-tasking takes the lead (google for the how!), it’s not all bad to be multitasking smaller tasks to save time when quality isn’t your major concern or when your hands have gotten mechanical enough to take care of the job alone without engaging much of your mind actively. I’d rather listen to an important audio while doing the dishes or vacuuming than not being able to listen at all.
Two birds one stone!!
4. LEARN BABY LEARN!
- Say no to unnecessary: Don’t end up being the poor mule who couldn’t please EVERYONE. Nobody can!
- Give up what costs you your higher priorities
- Delegate and Outsource where possible/affordable: don’t make your life a one-man show! Trust and teach others where you can.
- Do less: When I got married, I’d spend half a day checking recipes when the cooking itself took 1/4th the time. As I upped my game, I cut down to whatever I could find within 1 hour for that perfect today’s special (still a lot I know!).
(Note: I have been wise enough to take the time to make a list of 30 (almost) recipes that I can or should cook. Some months I have tried to follow the list as is, other times I just pick a quick suggestion when the mood or occasion calls for something specific.)
5. SPEED UP
Tidy up that house like your guest is almost there (sans the stress of course)!
Alternatively, you can set a timer for the task you want to finish and get going like supersonic. I read somewhere that your task will stretch till whatever time you allow it to go. So keep it short!
6. UTILIZE SMALL TIME CHUNKS
What can you do in 5 minutes while the tea steeps? Don’t be staring at the tea bag and watch osmosis happening. You can put one kitchen cabinet into order in the meantime.
7. COMPLETE TASKS ZONE SPECIFICALLY
Check all e-mails once. Corral outdoor errands into one trip. Complete all kitchen tasks once instead of moving to and fro. I clean one room completely before I move to the text. That way I’m relieved to think that one entire unit of the task is covered and only blah and blah are left.
WHEN YOU’RE READY TO MAKE TIME TO READ
1. SET YOUR PERMANENT, PHYSICAL READING NOOK
Customize it to your taste and comfort. Then develop a habit of reading only there and nowhere else. Over time, you’ll see how it adds to building your reading momentum.
2. EXTERMINATE DISTRACTIONS
In your reading circle don’t allow the physical presence of cell phones, people or any other distraction of the sort. Also, take better control of your mind and shush any noise. I’m increasingly trying to be aware of a habit of drifting away into my teaching world as I read something useful, about how I’ll share it with my students or others. Don’t do that because you want to make the most of your reading time. No intellectual multi-tasking!
3. READ WHAT UPS YOUR GAME
Don’t be reading Hamlet when you’re already confused about something. As I was setting up my blog, I’d come across many ‘useful’ freebies which I wanted to subscribe to get, but I constantly focused myself on reading material only relevant to my current stage.
4. SET DEADLINE & REVERSE ENGINEER DOWN TO YOUR DAILY CHUNK O’ READING
You will be more likely to stick to a routine AND finish a useful book when a deadline is pressing you. If you plan to read one book per month as a starter, you need to divide your 300 pages into 30 days. Just focus on managing to read 10 pages each day.
5. GO BIG THE FIRST DAY
Overcome the inertia by reading as much as you can on the first day. At least one whole chapter! This way you’ll have enough interest developed to make the book stick to your brain.
6. ONWARD, GO SMALL BUT STEADY
Next, you can do one of the two:
- set a specific small amount of time (even 15 min. to start with) for reading each day.
- set a specific small number of book pages (5 to 10) to read each day.
The time required for any of these two options is so small, you can easily squeeze it out from one or more of the suggestions below.
Activities to Squeeze 15 min From:
- idle phone calls/ message conversations
- slow speed chores (by mindfully speeding them up)
- social media
Remember, there are 1440 minutes in a day, taking out 15 or so for reading still leaves you with 1425 minutes…
7. RITUAL-IZE READING
Perform your reading activity like it’s a ritual. As in:
- same time daily e.g. 7:00 am to 7:15 am daily
- same spot i.e. #1
Important: Keep your absolute focus on today’s task only. Just think about today’s 5-10 pages you have to cover.
8. PARTNER UP!
The activities I succeed most with are the ones where I have found an accountability partner. If you know someone who’s struggling with reading, then you’re lucky. Hook up with that person and share your X days’ progress report. It doesn’t have to be a regular long conversation, when I start something like this with a friend, we set the rules beforehand that we’d only use…
“15 min. done today”
… phrase to report (instead of starting off a long conversation). If we don’t receive this message for, say, three consecutive days, the next time the doer reports is like this,
“15 min. done today, waiting for you!”
Swear this strategy over-delivers!
Until you find your accountability partner, partner up with me and just report here in the comment section below. I’ll be there for you.
That’s all my friends.
I guarantee that if you follow the above advice, you’ll surely manage to make time to read. I’m doing it.