Coles Notes: Finding the time to read regularly

When I’m out and about, people so often say to me, “I just don’t have the time to read.” My feeling is that regardless of your family commitments, employment and packed social calendar, if you love books, you will find the time. Here is how to make it happen:

1) Read during your commute. If you drive, walk to work or school, audiobooks or books on CD are great alternative to the printed word. We have well over a thousand talking books at the library and, if you have an MP3 player, you can have access to tens of thousands of downloadable audiobooks using your library card through Overdrive or Hoopla. If you have a half hour commute, you can expect to finish an average sized book in audio format in about two weeks.

2) Read at lunch. A quiet moment away from the office can be very welcome at midday and what could be better than taking your book to the park in this warm summer weather?

3) Read before bed – and make it an every night ritual. Screens are apparently terrible for your sleep quality anyway. Make the switch!

4) Take a break from television. I binge-watch shows as much as the next person, but when I dial back the TV watching, I have a little more time with books and it’s time that feels a bit more meaningful and definitely more memorable. 5) Always have reading access. This may mean you get an e-reader, a library card, make a trip to the book store more often or simply borrow from friends and/or family. And the more formats you have on hand, the better. Keep books on your person and you’ll never be forced into playing games on your cell phone to pass the time.

6) Read while cooking, cleaning and general puttering. I download Overdrive or Hoopla audiobooks to my phone and it is the soundtrack to all of my around the house activities.

7) Get social with your reads – there is no better inspiration for starting (and finishing) a book! Join a traditional book club or join Goodreads, Riffle or another reading social network. Start following some book blogs (I like 49th Shelf, Book Riot and CBC Books). Ask your friends or colleagues what they’ve read lately.

Hearing about an interesting book from an acquaintance and being able to quickly add it to a “to be read” list will ensure there’s always something new to read on the horizon. If you make reading a habit, the kind of thing you incorporate into your day even if it’s just a little bit here or there, none of these suggestions will seem unmanageable. Reading comes with so many benefits, from stress reduction and mental stimulation to vocabulary expansion and empathy development — it is definitely worth seeking out that tiny bit of time to spend with a book.

-Catherine Coles

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