After receiving this question many, many times over the past few years I thought I would answer this and a few other questions, give a few tips in a short little mini series of posts over the next couple of months.
If you are new here or unfamiliar, I read anywhere from 5 to 10 books a week and can sometimes read up to 30 or more books in a month. The books I read range from children's books all the way up through high fantasy novels and classic novels. And no, I do not sit around all day just reading, I work full time, am a mom on her own most of the time, maintain a house, this blog (which is almost a full time job posting twice a day most days) and a crafter. So how do I manage to read so many books? Well, that is what I am here to tell you.
I work 9 - 5 every day as a paralegal, I have been in my job for nearly 12 years now and am in a very small office. I have the responsibility of answering the phones, maintaining both attorneys' schedules, the accounting and of course maintaining my own files (usually around 15-20 open at a time). I also have the responsibility and freedom to make my own schedule as long as I am available at all times for the phone and attorneys. So with that comes the freedom to fill any lulls in the day with reading. I have both the nook and kindle apps downloaded on my computer so I have access to half of my library at all times. There are times when the phone rings so much that there is no point in me attempting to work on files and be constantly interrupted so I will read through those periods. There are also days that can be slow where I am waiting for responses on my files and have caught up on other office tasks and am able to read more. With that said, while I love the ability to read in the office, work comes first. There have been many times where I really want to read a book that I am super into but the office is too busy. Work always has the priority.
The next way I manage to read so much is audio books. I never really listened to books until after Munchkin was born (when he was nursing I started listening and the time added up really quickly). We no longer listen to music in the car, we only chat or if either of is too grumpy we listen to audio books. Now I have to be very careful with my selection of audio books in these circumstances, they have to be Munchkin appropriate books. That time in the car each day can add up to half an hour or more just driving to and from preschool, work and home. If you add in a trip to the doctor or post office it is even more.
When I get home, I jump right on chores, cook and eat dinner with Munchkin. We work on his projects and discuss his day. By 7:30 we start bedtime, we read together for about 15 to 20 minutes each night. We usually read 3 books a night together. Yes I do count reading children's books in my book count, I only count them the first time because I can end up reading the same book multiple times a day and every night a week. (I will have another post on why you should count Children's books as well later in this series of posts).
After kids go to bed it is usually adult time in most house holds, for me it is time for chores. My husband works multiple jobs and works every night of the work week, it is on me to maintain the house, so I have laundry to do, dishes to do, lunches to prepare, bills to be paid, rooms to be cleaned, etc. every night of the week. Some people might watch TV while doing these chores, but I don't, I quit watching TV this last year and haven't missed it one bit. Instead I listen to my audio books again (hence the reason I have listened to over 30 this year alone). Yes, there are nights when I decide that chores can wait because I am really into a book I am reading, that is on me, I will have to catch up on chores later in the week.
Between 10:00 and 10:30 every night I stop working, even if there are chores left to be completed. I used to go until I was done with my to do list every day but sometimes that would mean I was still going at midnight or 1am when Hubby would get home. That just got too exhausting and I wasn't taking enough me time and it wore me down. So now I just stop whatever I am doing (or wind down to complete by 10:30 at the latest), get ready for bed and pick up a book. I then read until I can't keep my eyes open (or Hubby gets home and gives me the talk about how tired I will be the next day), sometimes it is only until 11 other times it is closer to midnight. When you read at the pace I do, the pages really can fly by in that short period of time (again more on this in a later post).
I must add in here, that since the weekends are the only down time with the whole family, other than reading with Munchkin, I often don't read more than an hour all weekend long. Like work, family time takes priority. If we are having some down time or if Munchkin and Hubby are having their own time and I am caught up on chores, I might sit down with a book. Or if Hubby is watching one of his TV shows in the evening, I may pick up a book and read while he does that. But family always takes priority over my books.
So that is how I squeeze every ounce of reading into my day that I possibly can. Now obviously this wouldn't work for everyone, not everyone can read at work, not everyone gets that time after bedtime to do with as they please. For me multi-tasking, reading every chance possible, listening to audio books, and taking that me time are essential to me reading so many books.
So how do you find time to read each day? Do you read in stolen moments or do you set time aside each day to read?