Whether you are a regular reader or haven’t picked up a book in a while, it can be difficult to find the time to read for pleasure during the school year. Between club meetings, studying for homework, and your own reading for class (which, honestly, isn’t always the most fun to read) it’s hard to fit in the time to read on our own.
But even though it’s hard, it’s not impossible. VALLEY has you covered with these tips to help you finally start that book that’s been collecting dust on your nightstand for a bit too long.
Pick a time and stick to it
Find a time to consistently read and have it be something you look forward to in your day, just as you would with your morning cup of coffee or nighttime snack.
But what time? If you have a busy schedule during your day and will be exhausted by the end, create some “me” time for yourself in the morning to read. Other people, however, may prefer reading at night in a bed since it can be a great way to relax and unwind before sleeping. Or maybe you want to read in the middle of the day as a break from your work. Whatever time works best for you, make sure you stick to it like any important appointment on your schedule. You can even add it to your planner and check it off your to-do list. Even though it shouldn’t feel like a “chore,” you’ll feel productive and proud of yourself for getting it done.
Set a goal
Committing to a book, especially a long one, can feel a little intimidating or daunting, which can be the reason you’ve put it off. But you don’t need to read for a long time if that doesn’t work for you. Try setting a manageable goal for yourself, like promising that you’ll read for 20 minutes, or that you’ll read 20 pages. This will make the process seem easier to complete, and the more you read, the easier it will get. Plus, a good book is going to want to make you keep flipping the pages, and you may even find yourself reading well past your goal!
Put away technology and set boundaries
It can be tempting and easy to grab your phone when you need a break from schoolwork. But, hard truth, if you want to incorporate reading into your routine, you need to put away the technology. Because if you have time to watch TikTok, then you also have the time to read!
This is especially important at nighttime. According to SCLhealth.org, staring at the blue light emitted by our bright phone screen reduces the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls our sleep-wake cycle. Going on our phones 30 minutes or less before bedtime makes it difficult to get the quality sleep we all need. Therefore, choosing to read before bed will help you fall asleep much easier.
Reading also decreases our stress levels. In a study done by the University of Sussex, the act of reading reduced participants’ stress levels by 68%. If you’re someone who becomes especially anxious and stressed at night, thinking about your to-do list and worries for the next day, immersing yourself in a fantastic story is a wonderful way to calm down and forget your troubles.
Find a book you actually want to read
It’s going to be a lot harder to read your book if you’re not interested in it. Young adult romance, self-help, historical fiction, fantasy, and so much more. Even if you don’t like to read, there’s a book out there that speaks to you. This post by @uppercaseYA on Instagram does a great job of recommending specific books in each genre. You can take this quiz to find out your next summer read or check out Goodreads, a great online resource for browsing new books.is The website allows you to keep track of books you have read and ones you want to read. It’s also an easy way to look at reviews of books to see what others say.
Don’t be afraid to abandon a book
Nevertheless, if you’re not loving a book, don’t force yourself to finish. Reading is supposed to be enjoyable, and if it’s not, it’s going to feel like a chore. There are too many books in this world for you to slog through a boring book! If you feel like you can’t find a good book, this article matches TV shows with similar books, so find the TV show you love and try out its book equivalent.
Listen to an audiobook
Who says you can’t multitask while reading? Download an audiobook and listen to it while driving, on a walk, at the store or while you work out. If you want to support your local bookstore in the process, use Libro.fm to download all the best stories.
Find a “reading buddy” or start a book club
You’ll feel more motivated to finish a book if you know someone else is reading that same story alongside you. You can find a friend or even go a step further by starting your own book club! Each month, pick a new book everyone agrees to read. You’ll have a goal to reach, and a whole group of people who are doing the same thing. You can update each other on your progress along the way, and the experience will be even more enjoyable since you can get together to discuss all your favorite plot points at the end as a reward.
It does not matter how many pages you read, what type of book you’re reading or how long it takes you to finish. All that matters is that you find the time to do it! Reading is one of the best ways to de-stress and unwind, and carving out some time in your day to do something purely for yourself should always be a priority.