Is that book you’ve been meaning to read still sitting unopened on your nightstand? Or did you start a novel that you haven’t picked up again in months? Either way, you’re not alone. Finding time to read is hard when you’re busy—but it’s not impossible.
How to make time for reading
We asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council—busy people by definition—how they make time for reading. Here are some of their best tips. Use them, and start reading more today.
1. Do it first and do it last.
With the craziness of our daily schedules, it can be hard to find time to read, but we all know how important it is to our success that we make reading a habit. I have found that if you allocate 15 minutes first thing in the morning and 15 minutes before bed to read, you will start your day with ideas that expand your mind and go to bed with something other than work to think about.
—Rahim Charania, American Fueling Systems
2. Make time for reading by putting it on your calendar.
Reading is no harder to achieve than your weekly conference call if you schedule it on your calendar and take it just as seriously. I’ve found that things that don’t make it onto my calendar typically don’t get accomplished.
—Scott Baxter, PlayYourCourt
3. Read while you work out.
One of the only times I have time to read is while I am working out. I like to take an hour a day on the treadmill while reading and learning something. Work out your body while you work out your brain!
—Torrey Tayenaka, Sparkhouse
4. Get off social media to make time for reading.
You can easily spend 30 minutes browsing emails, answering text messages or watching dog videos on Facebook. Discipline your mind to replace staring at a screen with reading a book (or an e-book). You’d be amazed at how those three to five minutes of updating your timeline to see the newest Tweets can add up to a waste of time. We have the time to read; we just don’t manage our time well enough to include it.
—Robert De Los Santos, Sky High Party Rentals
5. Consider audiobooks instead.
Scheduling time to sit down and read is often impossible. Consider replacing reading with audio. Things like audiobooks and podcasts are an extremely efficient way of consuming content. Next time you’re commuting, working out or cleaning, turn on your favorite book. You’ll efficiently fill your dead time, flying through books faster than ever.
—Kyle Goguen, Pawstruck.com
6. Put e-books on your phone.
You can always find time to read as long as you have reading material with you—and what better way to do that than through your phone? I have books on my phone that I read when I’m waiting for anything, like a new update to load on my computer. It can be hard to find time to sit down and read, but having 10 minutes of quick reading throughout the day can be a great break for the mind.
—Bryce Welker, Crush The CPA Exam
7. Learn to say no to make time for reading.
Reading needs to be a priority, otherwise you’ll never do it. So, start by saying “no” to one task a week and use the time it would have taken you to complete the task to read. Once you have that down, say no to two tasks a week and so on and so forth, until you’re saying no to enough things that you can read every day.
—Michael Burdick, Paro
8. Don’t overthink it.
If you run a business, then you read more than you realize. From reports to pitch decks to the news, it’s all reading. This is why it is hard to segregate even more time out of a busy schedule to read books. Rather than striving to carve out reading time, simply allow yourself to go down the rabbit hole and read the content that you find the most engaging, no matter the outlet.
—Ryan Bradley, Koester & Bradley LLP
This article was published in November 2017 and has been updated. Photo by Prostock-studio/Shutterstock
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.