How to find time to readPersonal Development

How and when do you fit reading into your schedule? In addition to being told I read too much, I also am faced with people who just don’t understand how I find the time to read. I think I am equally amazed they haven’t found the time to read.

I recently read an article in the Atlantic on how American’s reading habits have been on the decline since the 1970s. Compared to 8% in 1978, in 2013,  23% of Americans did not read a book, that includes on a tablet, in print, or in audiobook form!

Why the change in reading habits? Is it because of the dawn of the internet era or are people busy with work and trying to succeed? Whatever the reason, I wanted to share how I find time to read multiple books and articles on top of my school related readings.

There’s always time

Before you say “Lisa, I don’t have the time.” let me say it is BS to say you don’t have time. We all have time, it just is a matter of what you consider a priority. If reading is not something you consider a priority, you will not set aside the time to read. But, say you want to add reading to your schedule, you have to cut something out. Instead of spending 3 hours on a Netflix binge, maybe spend 2 hours on Netflix and dedicate 1 hour to reading.

Plan to read

Since, I love to read, it is in my schedule. I would say I probably spend 2 to 3 hours a day dedicated to leisure reading. And depending on the day, another 2 to 3 hours dedicated to school reading. Some days I spend 6 hours on school reading and zero time toward leisure,  other days it might be reversed. So how do I do it?

  • Breakfast – While eating, I spend about 20 minutes scrolling through my social media feeds for interesting articles.
  • Bus ride to school –  While waiting for the bus (5 to 10 minutes), I  read my blog feed.  While on the bus (10 to 15  minutes), I read my blog feed. If I finished up all my blogs, I read the NY Times.
  • While waiting for class to start – I usually get to class 10-20 minutes early. During this time, I might catch up on my email or I will read a book.
  • Lunch – While eating, I spend about 20 minutes reading the Economist or Bloomberg. Or I might either read a book, check my email, or read any new blog articles that seem interesting.
  • Bus ride home – While waiting for the bus (5 to 10 minutes), I read the NY Times. While on the bus (10 to 15 minutes), I continue to read the NY Times or read any interesting articles from my social media feeds.
  • Dinner  – I spend about 20 minutes reading the Economist or Bloomberg.
  • Bathroom breaks – Without seeming too crude, yes I read in bathroom.
  • Bedtime – Every night I spend 1 hour reading my leisure book. If for whatever reason I had to give up all my reading for the day in lieu of school readings, I always have 1 hour before bed, this never changes. 
  • [added 2/7/14] Exercise/Driving – Some of the books that ‘read’ are actually audiobooks. When I walk to the park or to the bus stop, those are the times I listen to books. Or the few times I drive, I listen to books.

It might seem like a lot, but that is how I am able to read so much. When I have breaks, I read. Even if it is for 5 minutes, I read something. That is also how I keep up to date on current events. When you read, it does not have to be as hefty as a Dostoyevsky book, it can be as simple as reading headlines or short news posts. With technology, everything you need is at your fingertips; while waiting in line at the grocery store, you can read a quick article on your phone.

There is no excuse not to read something.

Enjoy the topic

For me reading is all about enjoying the topic. I have one sister who reads like me, my other three sisters never used to pick up a book. We used to joke that they couldn’t read. But that wasn’t the case, they just never found the genre they loved. Turns out the youngest one liked Gossip Girl type books, she then turned to books about fashion and African-American history.  My other two sisters, love Nicholas Sparks, Mitch Albom, and Khaled Hosseini. Now they read all the time. It was all about finding the genre they liked. Once you find the genre you like,  it’s like the flood gates open, you will start read even more and even try new genres. Once you find a genre you like, you will find the time.

Other articles

There’s so much I could say about reading and finding the time, but I decided to share some articles that offer good advice on how to read more.

 So how do you find the time to read? Share it in the comment box!


An urban planning PhD student finding peace in creating a balance between the mind, body, soul, & environment.

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Photo Credit: Lisa-Marie Pierre




    • byTamara
    • onFebruary 7, 2014

    You definitely have a valid point. Reading has to be a priority if you want to have time for it. For myself, it’s rate to hear me say I want to read but there are times I do get the urge so I plop myself down somewhere peaceful and read. It is calming even peaceful at times. But right now the last thing I want to do at the end of my day is read a leisure book. Reading for graduate school exhausts me so at the end of the day I want to indulge in some nonsense television. No shame in my game!!! I am hoping when this journey in life is done I will pick up some interesting books/articles and spend some time alone reading but until then Netflix is my BFF!!!

    • Now that school is getting a bit more in depth, I find that my reading has declined significantly compared to last semester. I am now using these tips more so for keeping up with world news and my school related readings.

      I hope you get back to reading, even if it is a short blog post!

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