Bookish Friends

How to Make Reading a Priority

Once upon a time, I had a person in my life who didn’t read. That person took up a large portion of my life, so I found myself reading less and less. Needless to say, that person is no longer in my life (for more reasons than not reading, but this is why it’s a big thing on my “oh no no list”). Once I dropped that dead weight, I knew I had to make some changes to make reading a priority again.

I read a lot. There are plenty of people in the world who read more than I do. I know that. However, those are my people. I went up to visit my sister for a couple of weeks and found that I was only able to read for maybe 10-20 minutes a day and I felt LOST.

Reading has become such a big part of my life (clearly, since this is a blog dedicated to everything bookish) so it’s my personal goal to help everyone make reading a priority, at least as much as they can. This blog post is actually inspired by one of my favorite Bookstagrammers, @jennastopreading.

Why make reading a priority?

For starters, why not? Honestly, when I look at my day and how much time I spend reading…what do other people do with their time? Granted, this really refers to my single friends, or really anyone following the rules and staying at home (#COVID). People with children and such, you’re exempt from this wonder.

But really. Do people spend that much time watching TV? Playing video games? Scrolling mindlessly through their phone? I work full time, workout every day, and still manage to read for at least an hour most days. Thus, reason one why you should make reading a priority: It helps fill the time.

Plus, books are fun things to talk about! Yes, TV shows and movies are cool. You can talk about the latest episode of Dancing with the Stars or the newest Mulan, but those discussions will fade. Guess what. My family still talks about which we liked better: The Woman in the Window or The Couple Next Door. (We’re pretty evenly split on this one, so if you liked one more than the other, let me know in the comments!) Reason two: It leads to lasting discussions. When I was in a capacity to interview people in a previous position, it was one of my favorite things to ask, “What is the last book you read?” (Now, I never judged someone by WHAT they read, but there was always a hesitation if they didn’t read.)

Reason three: Reading is good for your brain! Think of all of the new things you can learn when you read, even reading fiction books. I’ve found myself having to Google words to figure out what they mean. (New favorite word: gallimaufry.) Reading is so much better than just staring at a screen.

How do I make reading a priority?

For starters, I don’t really think about it. Now, most people I’ve seen write or comment on this generally say that they give up television. For the most part, I’m with them. Often, I will have my television on, but I generally rotate through the same few shows or movies so that I can divide my attention. One weekend, I noticed Big Little Lies was available on Prime Video, and I did nothing but watch it. I sat on my booty and stared at my TV screen for far too many hours. Since then, I don’t enjoy watching new things because it does take my attention.

You don’t even need to “give up” TV! Instead of watching 5 episodes of Schitt’s Creek, watch 4. BOOM. You just got 20 minutes to read.

My number one recommendation is to leave the screen before bedtime. So many of us will lay in bed, scrolling through our feeds until we feel tired. For starters, that light is awful for you and helps contribute to less restful sleep. You should be putting your phone down about 30 minutes before bed. Fill that time with reading!

Recently, I’ve also been having an unpleasant volume of internet issues (thanks, Xfinity). However, whenever I have one of these issues, I turn to my books instead! You don’t need a WiFi connection to read a good book.

Now, I am not much of an audiobook person. I find that I get annoyed unless it’s the perfect narrator, reading at a reasonable speed. However, a lot of people in my book club(s) will listen to audiobooks on walks with their pets or while doing household chores. BOOM. Even more time for reading (if audiobooks are your thing). I’ve also met people who will listen to books while they’re working out, but that just baffles me.

Speaking of working out, I’ve seen people put in some real reading time at the gym! For me, I can probably only do it on a machine like a recumbent bike. I tried a couple of times on an elliptical or a treadmill, and I just got really dizzy. It was hard to stare and focus with all the “bouncing” that comes with cardio like that.

At the end of the day, you can make reading a priority if you choose to do so. As an adult, no one is going to turn off the TV for you and put a book in your lap. No one will take your phone away from you when you crawl into bed at night. If you’re not much of a reader right now, start slow. Go find a book that everyone is raving about and give it a try. Maybe sign up for a library card if you don’t want to invest in a book without knowing if you like it or not.

Note: This post contains affiliate link, so I may receive a small commission from sales generated. Go buy books, friends!