So many books, so little time

Is there a pile of unread books sitting on your nightstand? Does the daily paper head straight to the recycling bin without more than a cursory glance? Busy days can leave little time for getting any real reading done, no matter how much you want to pick up that paperback. But follow these tips, and you’ll slowly but surely make your way through all that literature.

Keep the computer off in the morning. Your first inclination in the morning may be to check your email or browse your favorite sites while drinking a cup of coffee. Unless you’re expecting an important e-mail from work, revamp your morning routine and replace online time with reading time. Email and status updates will still be there in an hour or two. Sitting with a book and reading for 15 minutes in the morning can set the stage for a less hectic day.

Choose exercise wisely. Exercise machines such as recumbent bicycles and even some elliptical machines all move along smoothly enough that you can both exercise and read. The recumbent bicycle is especially conducive to reading. 

Use audio books in the car. When’s the last time you popped in at the local library? Stop by on your way home from work or before you pick up the kids, and scan through the audio books section. Throw the CDs in your car’s player and play whenever you’re in the car—where you may spend a lot of time anyway.

Have a smartphone? Use e-books. If you have a phone or device that will let you download apps, check out this list of e-book apps for the iPhone that will let you download books straight to your phone, making them much more portable.

Adjust your bedtime routine. Make reading time part of your bedtime routine—but keep it out of the bedroom. Fifteen minutes before you'd usually head for bed, find a comfortable spot on the couch with your book. If time gets away from you and you read long past the fifteen-minute mark, start earlier the next night so that you aren't reading into the wee hours of the morning.

Take your book with you everywhere. Use that handbag that’s large enough to hold the next book you want to read. You will be amazed how often you find chances to read a few pages at a time. Waiting for a doctor's appointment, arriving early for a meeting, waiting for your child's soccer game to start, or the last few minutes of your lunch break are all great times to read. You never know when the chance to get in some reading may present itself, so make sure you have your book with you at all times.

Use that DVR. If you have a DVR and a favorite TV show you catch every week, set your DVR to tape that show. You can start watching the show 20 minutes after it starts, fast forwarding through the commercials, and still finish at 9 p.m. Use that first 20 minutes to read! 

Rise earlier on the weekends. If you sleep late on the weekends, get up just half an hour earlier to read. By the time your half hour is up, you’ll be awake, refreshed, and excited. And it’s the weekend, so you might even have time to continue reading!

And remember, use a bookmark! If you’re reading in bursts, it’s easy to forget where you stopped. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy; it can be simple as a business card, a napkin, or a receipt. What about you? Have any tips to cram all those good books into your schedule? Or do you already have the time to begin with?

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