Do you have time to read?
Most people would say they don’t, especially pre-pandemic. But even now, our minds are filled with whether or not it's safe to even go to the grocery store or if there will be riots down the street. Our will has changed.
And our minds are busy.
Even without those daily fears, you wait for the kids to go to bed, binge Netflix, write, put up a blog post, or maybe simply get some beauty rest. All needed things. After a day of playing with the kids, work, or making lunches, you’re simply exhausted and have no more time left in the day.
Especially for something like reading a book.
We Don’t Have Time
“Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them! How I need them! I’ll have a long beard by the time I read them.” – Arnold Lobel
The other day I sat down with my two-year-old daughter to some at tacos at lunch and somehow a friend and I got on the topic of books, as tends to happen with me.
“I don’t have time to read,” they said.
Okay, I get it. 24% of Americans have not read a book or even opened one in 2019. It’s understandable as we are busier than we have ever been with work, family, and a side hustle; that doesn’t even include simply having fun.
But I couldn’t help wondering, did this mean that I have a lot of time on my hands because I like to have my nose in a book?I’m a mom. Kids, oh sweet little kids. They are worth it, but they do take much time, morning and night. Plus, I have my passion outside of work and kids. The website I built, books I’ve contributed to (including a bestseller), started a publication on Medium, and more. I write three new articles a week right here on News Break.Many times I wake up for the day not ready, but already exhausted.
I feel busy, too. We all are.
So how do I, or others much busier than me, find time to read?
Ta eph’hemin, ta ouk ta eph’hemin
“Reading is like thinking, like praying, like talking to a friend, like expressing your ideas, like listening to other people’s ideas, like listening to music, like looking at the view, like taking a walk on the beach.” – Roberto Bolaño
I found this two-thousand-year-old stoic phrase in the book The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday. It translates to, ‘What is up to us, what is not up to us.’
Sure, there are things out of our control.
We can’t help it when the rain decides to pour down on days we had planned to finally take the sweet kiddos swimming, or when there is a power shortage leaving us without a computer to type without or a light to wash the dishes by. There are days when you truly don’t have time for anything except to crawl back into bed, exhausted but satisfied.
Yet, what we do with those free moments is a choice. It’s up to us. What do you do in those seconds or few hours?
- Do you check your phone?
- Go out and have a drink with friends?
- Maybe relax with Netflix or browse YouTube?
In this case let me ask you something: if you have time to go for a walk, check your phone, or binge on your favorite show for a while, how come you don’t have time to read? In this pandemic year, how could we not find the time?
Because you choose to use your time for something else.
Creative Tricks To Find Time To Read
A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. A man who never reads only lives one. — Goerge R.R. Martin
If you want to read more, you can. The desire is there, you just need to act on it. Actively choose it. Once you open that book and get lost in the words that bring you to a new world or new ideas, you won't regret it.
Here are a few simple ways how to read more:
1. Audio Books
I know, listening to a book at first is strange. Horrible even. But once you get used to hearing the narrator expertly do multiple voices, it's wonderful. Listening to a book gives you the use of both your hands. Suddenly, you're a multitasking genius. You're reading a book and folding the laundry, or exercising all at the same time. Two birds, one stone.
Libby is an app where you can get books and audiobooks to the device of your choosing. For free. It uses your library card and acts like a digital library. You load books, while sometimes having to wait for others to read them. And, bonus, it returns the books once the time is out. No late fees. And the app is free. All you need is a library card.
And a will to read.
We Can Make Time
If you truly pour your heart into what you believe in, even if it makes you vulnerable, amazing things can and will happen. — Emma Watson
My husband is an excellent cook; he has a passion for food.
He is the busiest person in our family yet on his days off or spare moments you can find him rolling sushi or reading about creative ideas for the dining room or pizzeria. Reading.
When I’m not chasing kids, simmering dinner, or writing, I like to open a book. The TV isn’t on because I choose to give that up in order to read.
Both are valid options.
And my reading 'doesn't mean I'm not busy, too; We all choose what we have time for. The winter season is coming to a close, as my son likes to remind me. Soon the snow will melt and kids won't be sledding anymore but bringing out their bikes.
And, hopefully, this will mean the end of the pandemic as well. Soon, you might be just as busy as you once were. Maybe you still are that busy.
So, what will you choose to do in this short time before the sand in the hourglass fills up?
Will you write a book? Watch TV? Learn a language?
Maybe you’re right, and you don’t have time to read a book. But you can make time.
It’s up to you. Ta eph’hemin.