Off Tangent Thoughts (OTT) is a bi-monthly meme that has a basic list-based format wherein bloggers express their points in the form of a short or long list with the points under the list being merely a couple lines or even complete paragraphs. Prompts will be up on every 1st and 3rd Saturday based on which everyone can write their own posts. For prompts that will be released on the 1st Saturday, bloggers can write and publish their posts over the next two weeks, that is, until the 3rd Saturday from when posting for a fresh prompt will begin and continue up until the 1st Saturday of the next month and so on. On the rare occasions when we have a 5th Saturday, there will be an open prompt where everyone can generate a topic of their own or catch up on previous OTT prompts they may have missed. Everyone is encouraged to interpret the prompt however they like and be innovative with their posts. The topic for May 18th, 2019 is: Thoughts You Have When Someone Interrupts Your Reading.
I have been a reader since I was a smol child, so I have a lot of experience in dealing with situations where my reading gets interrupted. After becoming an adult with a job and responsibilities, every minute of reading time that I can get out of my schedule is precious to me and I guard it like a mother dragon guards her eggs. Today, I want to make a quick list of what goes on in my mind when my reading gets interrupted and will then move on to give some practical tips on how to make time for reading despite having a packed schedule.
When My Reading Gets Interrupted…
- I should have a sign saying ‘Go Away, I’m Reading’ on my room door.
- If I ignore them, they’ll eventually give up and go away, right?
- Uh-oh, danger approaching! Time to throw away the book and pretend I was sleeping all along so they don’t ask me why I didn’t hear them.
- I wish I was a chameleon so I can blend in with my surroundings when the need comes! Or own an invisibility cloak. That should solve all my problems.
- Ugh, I was in such a good reading flow! Don’t know when I’ll be in the mood again.
- Why didn’t I turn off my phone notifications before I started? I don’t want to take my eyes away from the page even to mute those annoying sounds.
- Why does everyone remember my existence only when I’m reading?!
- Where is that pretty bookmark I had taken out to mark my place? Why does it go missing exactly when I need it?
- I wish my commute had taken a little longer so at least I could have finished the chapter!
- Just one more page and then I’ll do whatever needs to be done…
How to Make More Time for Reading
If you like the idea of reading and don’t know how to go about it, my blog series, Reading 101, is perfect for you! I have already covered the steps to become a book lover (link) and how to choose your next read (link), so I wanted to cover another important aspect that beginners and veterans alike struggle with – finding the time to read. Here are X tips I have found helpful throughout my life as a reader:
1. Set a goal
It is very important to be clear of what you want to achieve before diving in. If you don’t have the time already, it’s not going to magically appear unless you make up your mind to incorporate reading into your routine. The goal can be time-oriented such as 15 minutes every day or a certain number of chapters or pages.
2. Free up some time every day
Sit down with a piece of paper and list down all the things you do in a day and how much time it takes for you to all of them. There will probably need to be two lists as weekday schedules tend to differ from weekends. Also pencil in at what times you are doing each thing currently. After that’s done, examine your list for the small pockets of time that you can free up. For some, there may be no choice other than waking up half an hour early, for someone else it might be getting lunch alone on some days to spend time with their current read instead and for others it may be turning the TV off earlier than usual to read before bed. In this step, it’s crucial to remember that you need not always need to make time to read a physical book. Listening to an audiobook while doing chores around the house or driving will also count towards your reading goal without you having to set aside any extra time during the day.
3. Be consistent
Now that you have a good idea on the ‘what’ and ‘how’, it’s just a question of putting your plans into motion. This phase will be hard and something everyone goes through while trying to start a new habit. It might be more tempting to extend your Netflix time, so have a mechanism in place that will motivate you to stick to your goal. I personally respond well towards rewards and like to tell a friend/loved one/post on social media to hold myself accountable. If you cross the initial month-long period that it takes to rewire your brain to stay consistent with your new schedule, it will become easier to continue from then on.
4. Read whatever you find interesting
This is very important and connects to Tip #3 as you will be more keen to read if the story is engaging. If classics or non-fiction don’t work for you, pick up fiction in a genre that appeals to you. Those two are often the most recommended genres but remember that there are other books too. If the book you are currently reading isn’t gripping you, set it down and move on to another book. Although I personally don’t DNF books, I don’t see why anyone should persist with a book that they aren’t feeling. Always remember to read for yourself only!
5. Always have a book handy
Stuck in a long line and have some time to kill? Carry your book with you so you can squeeze in some reading time when you have nothing to do! In today’s technologically-advanced world, it’s not even necessary to lug around an 800-page hardback brick everywhere you go. E-books and audiobooks have made books much more accessible, so make full use of them!
Do you think you get enough time for reading? Do you have any more time management tips to add? How do you deal with reading interruptions? Let’s discuss in the comments section below.