The weeks leading up to spring break, I was excited to break out of my daily routine. I was visiting home for the first time in months, all while not having to deal with the pressures of school, work, and various responsibilities. For the first time in a while, I could just simply be.
The only problem was that I spent the entire week reading. And don’t get me wrong, I love to read (after all, I am an English major), but I spent practically every free moment doing it. The other plans I had just simply went out the window, and I didn’t even care at the time. When I returned to school after break, I realized this compulsive reading was due to the fact that I hadn’t had the time before, so I felt the need to obsessively read as much as I could before being flooded with responsibilities again.
This quarter, I’ve found a healthier balance between work and leisure. Reading is the perfect downtime activity, especially during online school because it gives your eyes a break from screens. Whether you are an avid bookworm, or someone who wishes they could enjoy reading for fun, here are my tips to make leisure reading a part of your routine.
Read Whatever Makes You Happy
The best way to incorporate reading into your routine is to not put pressure on the written material itself. It could be a nonfiction book about a peculiar subject you’re interested in, or it can be a trashy YA novel. No matter the topic or genre, read it if it brings you joy. Many people base their experience with literature off the novels they were exposed to in school, and that pressure to read something educationally stimulating is what turns people away from books, but there shouldn’t be that level of pretentiousness. By blocking out the preconceived ideas associated with reading, you can find books that serve as pure entertainment. After all, that is what reading is all about.
Trade In the Time You Spend Online
Procrastination, the near-universal phenomenon that causes temporary joy in exchange for prolonged stress. Most people tend to procrastinate by spending time online, whether it’s scrolling through social media or watching shows on a streaming service. Our devices are the one-stop shop that allow us to procrastinate. When you find yourself avoiding work, change how you spend your time. Instead of going on your phone, encourage yourself to read instead. This results in reading being a part of your daily routine without you having to allocate time.
Audiobooks are a great way to read more, and the best part is that it’s easier to make time for them. You can listen to audiobooks when you’re in the car, or when you’re completing chores, or when you’re just resting. They are also better at retaining focus. Sometimes, I’m not in the right headspace to focus on a new piece of writing, and I find myself glancing at the pages without actually reading what’s in front of me. With audiobooks, I always find myself focused because it engages your mind differently than physical books.
Schedule Reading Into Your Day
It’s definitely easier said than done to pick up a book instead of doing something more productive. If you’re someone who schedules their time down to the minute, try to plan when you’re going to read. This way, you don’t feel like you’re procrastinating because you’ve planned for it specifically. This is how I’ve been able to read for fun this quarter, and it makes the process much more relaxing. I typically plan to read between different tasks, which allows me to feel less overwhelmed. I highly recommend scheduling downtime in general, because it doesn’t feel like you’re wasting time.
I hope these tips will help you incorporate leisure reading into your routine. It’s important to allocate downtime to unwind, and reading is an ideal method to do just that.