Thursday, May 19, 2011

Managing to Find Time to Read

I just read an interesting challenge on the popular Book Lady's Blog. The blog asked its readers how they manage to find time to read. Most replies started off saying how much they "sucked at" finding time to read. And these are book lovers!

I thought I would share my answer and invite readers of Social Issues to share theirs. After all, finding time to read is really an important social issue.

With so many books and so little time, all of us “suck at” reading as much as we may want. That said, here is how I manage my reading time:

1. I set up my reading on a wekly schedule, write my reading goals down in a special section of my weekly to-do list, and share and discuss the entire list with my wife in our weekly family goal and plans meeting – every Sunday at 4PM.

2. I read for an hour every nmight before going to bed.

3. I treat myself to book dates – usually on weekends after visiting library sales or garage sales to find great books.

4. I never watch TV. This is not because there is nothing ood on the tube. Its because there is almost always something good — think book TV.

5. I read on public transport. I used to do this every day on my commute to and from work. Now I’m retired, so this reading management tool is less useful to me.

6. I read on long drives when someone else is driving. We have a place in Florida, and the drive gives me plenty of reading time. When I am driving I listen to books on tape. Recently ‘read’ Madame Bovary that way and it was great.

7. I don’t have a TBR (to be read) pile, but I have a large set of ‘aspirational’ book shelves. Used books are very cheap and make wonderful wall decorations. My aspirational books help me define myself and my future goals.

8.I organize reading projects that support other life activities. For example, I draw in watercolor with a drawing group every Wednesday evening, and I read seriously about the history and techniques of watercolor.

9. I read the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books as soon as they arrive in the mail. I put this practice on my lifetime goal and to-do list more than thirty years ago.

10. I am a writer. Writing makes it very hard to find the time or mental energy to read. The great developmental psychologist Jean Piaget was once asked what he made of Jung’s theory of development. He said that he had never read Jung. “There are two kinds of psychologists,” he said, “those who read and those who write.” Also reading to support my writing research takes up a lot of my reading time. This is why it is very important for me to plan recreational reading and stick to my plan.

Please share your own tools for managing time to read. I'll make time to read your responses.

1 comment:

Amy Shuffelton said...

Interesting question to think about; my answer would be one more "not something I'm very good at", not on top of work and kids.

One answer is that I never go anywhere without some kind of reading material, so I sneak in minutes of reading while waiting for the school bus to drop off my daughter, waiting in lines, waiting for movies to start. This morning I arrived at a meeting early, so I took my book into a quiet corner of the building and read until 2 minutes before the meeting started.

That's all for now. I'm going to go read.