[Photo by Alice Hampson]
Last year, I managed to read 100 books. This year I'm aiming for 101. I am a fast reader, naturally, which definitely helps me read so many books. However, the main thing that helped me complete last year's challenge was prioritising reading above and beyond other tasks and hobbies. I wouldn't expect everyone to do the same, but I know that a lot of people want to make more time for reading - whether it's to finish one book a year, or one hundred.
Always carry a book
It's amazing how many little snippets of time throughout the week you can find to read. If you carry a book with you, or make sure you always have one on hand at home, then you make it far easier for yourself. An e-reader makes this simple; owning a Kindle has changed my reading life.
Use multiple devices
The best thing about owning a Kindle is that it syncs with all my devices. I use the Kindle app on my laptop, my work computer and my mobile phone, which means I really am never far from my book and can use whatever time I have available. The Kindle holds my place for me, so I can pick up right where I left off, whichever device I'm using. Alternatively, if you're struggling for time, why not try an audiobook? I swear by my Audible subscription.
Work out when you can read... and then do it
This sounds obvious, but it's so easy to get out of the habit of reading that sometimes we forget to do it. Work out the pockets of time when you can read, and then stick to them. For me, it's my commute in the morning and evening - that's at least 40 minutes of solid book-reading time a day, which can really add up over a year. It might be just ten minutes in the morning before everyone else has woken up, or on your lunch break, or just in the bath on Sunday night, but work out when the best time for reading is and then actually do it!
View reading as a pleasure, not a chore
Reading is supposed to be fun! We all thing we're supposed to be reading more and, whilst I would agree - it's only because reading is so brilliant! It shouldn't fill you with dread, and if you're viewing it as something you 'must' do, rather than something you 'want' to do, it can make it more difficult to pick up your book at start reading. Pick a fun book, perhaps one that you've read before, and view your reading time as a treat. You're much more likely to find the time that way.
Turn off the TV
I'm the worst for this, but my reading challenge has made me a lot more aware of the times I'm watching the TV just because it's already on. It's better for me to read a book than to watch an episode of Big Bang Theory that I've seen a hundred times. You don't have to live a TV-less life (lord knows I definitely don't!) but be a little more mindful and you can steal back some pockets of time for reading.
Go to bed early
Reading fiction before bed will help your mind switch off and give you a much better night's sleep than scrolling on your phone. A couple of nights a week, I pop to bed about half an hour early so I can get some reading time in. Occasionally I fall asleep before I've got three pages in - but that's three pages I wouldn't have read otherwise!
Read something interesting
Ultimately, some books just won't capture your interest and it's best to put these to one side if you're struggling to make time for reading. I love the classics, but when I know I'm going to be pressed for time then I won't pick up a Jane Austen. A book which holds your attention and is 'easy' to read will help you get into the habit so you can get stuck into larger tomes. Thrillers, Young Adult Fantasy and anything by Rainbow Rowell do this for me, but you'll have your own books you can't put down!