How to Make Leisure Reading Part of Your Daily Routine

There are countless excuses we tell ourselves for why we balk at recreational reading. In most cases, reading gets put on the backburner because life gets busy and we simply don’t have the time to dedicate to cozying up with a novel. Or so we think! The reality is, you may have more time for free-reading than you realize. It all comes down to priorities. If you make time for reading, it will become a constant in your life and, more often than not, a true pleasure. Now, this is easier said than done — especially when you are juggling school, work and a social life all on the same schedule. 

Whether you're a former avid reader looking to reconnect to your childhood love for fiction, or someone looking to start your reading journey from scratch, you’ll benefit from these tips and tricks for making reading a part of your everyday regimen.

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  1. 1. Find your go-to resources

    woman in library

    First things first, once you decide that you want to do more reading you need to figure out what exactly it is that you want to read. There are hundreds of resources at your fingertips that can help you  discover your new favorite book; you just need to know where to find them.

    Friends and family

    The people in your inner circle are a solid starting place for finding a book you’ll love. Think of whether there is anyone you know who always has their nose in a book — they should be your first go-to for a book recommendation. Even if they don’t have the same taste in genre as you, there’s a high probability that they can point you in the right direction toward a more satisfying read.

    Goodreads

    Not to be dramatic, but Goodreads is truly the holy grail when it comes to book browsing. I have found more books through the platform than anywhere else and I honestly don’t know where I would be without it. For those who aren’t familiar, Goodreads allows readers to track the books they have read, bookmark the books they want to read, and skim through recommendations based on past reading preferences. Even if you aren’t tracking every book you read on Goodreads, it can still be a great place to search for new books by genre and read reviews (usually without spoilers).

    Bestseller list

    If you are still coming up empty in your book hunt, try doing a quick Google search for the bestselling books of the year. Sites like Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and The New York Times usually have solid suggestions and reviews for reference, so these are always good resources to keep in mind.

  2. 2. Set tangible goals

    person holding a cup of tea with a bowl of nuts/grains

    Like any goal, the more realistic it is, the easier it will be to achieve. If you haven’t read something for fun cover to cover since middle school, don’t set a goal of reading five books a month and magically expect to do it. Baby steps are key. Try easing in by reading one book a month and then build up from there. 

    Another element of goal-setting when it comes to reading is carving out a concrete chunk of time to read. This may sound tedious, but it can be helpful to literally pencil “reading time” into your daily calendar. Whether it’s swapping out an episode of your favorite sitcom for a book during breakfast time or replacing a YouTube video with a novel before bed, establishing a designated time for reading every day will make it  much easier to hold yourself accountable and meet your goals.

    Tracking your progress is another way to guarantee staying on course. Try using a Google doc or a journal to list out what you read each month. That way by the end of the year you can not only look back on all the amazing books you read and get inspiration for the years to come, but you’ll also feel a sense of accomplishment and growth as a reader.

  3. 3. Flex your mental muscles

    overhead view of a woman sitting in front of her laptop

    Need an extra dose of motivation to read? You should know that reading can have fantastic benefits for your mind! In order to make room for reading, you may find yourself — perhaps unintentionally — replacing your screen time with a book. This is no doubt a positive swap, as it allows for more brain stimulation and a break from your screen’s blue light. Unlike watching a video on your phone or scanning social media, reading forces your mind to focus and is known to boost your creativity, vocabulary, and mental flexibility. Not to mention, when you’re caught up in a captivating book it can be a welcome distraction and a much-needed break from monotonously scrolling through Instagram.

In an age where we are constantly glued to some sort of tech device, sometimes we all just need to disconnect. And there is arguably no better way to do so than by digging into a book! Whether you’re looking to brush up on current events with a nonfiction bestseller, escape into a page-turner novel, or you just want to reconnect with a favorite childhood series, you can make time for reading in your day. So, if you’re looking to cut down your screen time, exercise your mind, and feed your soul, try out these tips, grab a book, and get reading!