Maybe Matilda: 4 Ways to Find More Time to Read

Monday, March 2, 2015

4 Ways to Find More Time to Read

I’ve partnered with HP to introduce their x360 laptop/tablet. HP is on tour with Meghan Trainor for her All About That Bass Tour! #BendTheRules

Every now and then—usually after my monthly reading recap posts—someone will ask how I find time to get any reading done. We’ve got two young (and needy) kids, my husband and I are running our own business, I blog 3+ times a week . . . by all accounts, it doesn’t add up. I should not have time to sit on the couch with a book.

Before you get impressed with me and think I’m balancing all these demands particularly well, I’ll set the record straight: there are many days when I probably shouldn’t be spending time reading—but I do it anyway, often at the expense of clean laundry and mopped floors and meals that don’t involve hot dogs.

But I do have a few suggestions on finding more time to read, even when you’re busy. Inspired by the versatile new HP x360 which can be used in 4 modes—laptop, tablet, tent, and stand—I want to share 4 tips on finding more time to read.

4 tips on finding the time to read

1) Audiobooks

Up until last year, it had hardly occurred to me that I could be listening to a book while I’m doing something boring, like folding laundry or cleaning bathrooms. Serious lightbulb moment when I finally realized that these quiet moments could include a book, hands-free.

When we’re driving to grandma’s house an hour away, or cleaning up toys at the end of the day, or even if I just need a break from the constant noise of two little kids, I’ll turn an audiobook on. Sometimes I envy people with a daily commute—even with his relatively short 15-20 minute drive to work, Jeff pounds through audiobooks. Such an easy solution when you can’t actually pick up a book, but you’d still love to read.

2) Embrace technology

I will always love reading real, hard copies of books, but opening that door to reading digitally has made a world of difference in the time I can spend reading.

Books that I can’t find at my library are often available in my library’s ebook collection, and you can’t beat the convenience of downloading a new book without ever leaving the house. Not having to go somewhere to pick up a book means I can start reading right away instead of waiting to find the time for a library run—no lag time between books.

I love that the HP x360 can be used as a laptop and as a tablet with a touch screen—it goes from work mode to reading mode instantly by just flipping the screen around. I don’t have to waste time switching back and forth between devices, which means I get to spend more time reading.

4 tips to find extra time to read

And having ebooks ready to go on an ereader or tablet (or even on your phone!) makes it easier to spend a few minutes reading during those dead times when you’re away from home—like in waiting rooms, in line at the post office, or sitting in your car at school pickup.

3) Keep (and check) a to-read list

For many years, I kept a physical, handwritten list of books that I wanted to read in my wallet. I find it far more convenient these days to use Goodreads to keep track of what I’ve read and want to read, but whatever method works for you, having (and regularly revisiting and adding to) a list of books I want to read keeps me excited about reading.

When I finish a book, I’m eager to get my hands on the next one on my list. I don’t close a book, then sit around for days trying to decide what I ought to read next. I have a list of titles ready and waiting, so I can pick up another book as soon as I finish my current one.

And as silly as this may be, moving a book from my ‘to-read’ list to my ‘read’ list is a bit of a nerdy thrill—motivation in itself to spend more time reading.

4 suggestions on how to find more time for reading

4) Turn the phone off

There is no time-waster in my life bigger than the internet. What starts as an innocent 10-minute email/facebook check turns into a 2-hour spiral of completely wasted time.And nothing is worse than squandering an entire naptime (precious, precious naptime!) online when I could have been doing something I would have really enjoyed (such as ohIdunno reading).

I try not to even have my phone in the room when I plan to read. As soon as I hear it ding (and even if I don’t!), I’ll drop my book and realize an hour later that my entire reading time has been spent liking photos of babies and lunches on Instagram. When I find myself with a few free minutes to read, I make sure to leave my phone and computer in another room (set to silent!!), and just enjoy reading without distractions. The internet will still be there when I’m done.

4 tips to find more time to read

What are some of your tips and tricks to find more time to read?


  1. My family lives 6 hours away. I tried listening to an audiobook on the drive once, but the voice got on my nerves, and I had to turn it off. lol I really wish I could read and knit at the same time though.

  2. I end up staying up way too late when I'm reading a good book. Then I drink a lot of coffee the next day! haha

  3. I quit my job recently, and the only thing I miss about it is the 45 min to 1 hour long commute I had each way. I would be able to plow through audiobooks so quickly! but now that I can only listen in like 10 minute segments, way too many of my audiobooks have expired before I can finish listening to them :( So sad!

    And on another note, I totally LOVE your new hair (apparently I had missed all the pixie/growing out hair posts and wasted like hours reading your backlogs, so I blame you for being unproductive around the house). I have been wanting to cut a lob, and after going to TWO salons who had no idea what they were (they argued that I can't do long hair in front with short hair in back and said I can only do that with a short bob, no thanks), I was stupid enough to still let the salons try. The first one just cut a blunt shoulder length cut, and after it grew out long enough, I tried again with another salon, and they didn't know what I wanted either. Anyway, even after showing the lady your instagram picture from a few days back (and 20 other pics of lobs), I thought she knew what I wanted but she ended up cutting it all short and layered, so... completely not what I wanted and I had an emotional breakdown over it. Totally off topic, I know, so sorry, but just wanted to let you know that I have total hair envy and when I see your perfect hair it makes me so mad that I still haven't achieved it... yet. SOON.

  4. Yes to all of these! I listen to audiobooks at double speed so I can get even more reading in. And I'm the same way with my to-read list...I love moving books from my "to-read" to "currently reading" to "read" lists. It gives me a feeling of accomplishment. :-)

  5. I'm ADDICTED to audiobook....already ''read'' 61 books since January!!! I'm glad I have ''goodreads'' to keep track of all that!

  6. Darn! I'm still new to audiobooks myself so I don't have a ton of advice on finding a narrator you love, but if you are a Harry Potter fan, try the HP audiobooks. The narrator is so, so good--he's the one that got me hooked on audiobooks!

  7. Ha! I've been there . . . many, many times :-)

  8. Oh, I am so sorry about the hair! That is SO frustrating, especially when you were so clear and specific about what you wanted. It's so hard when you don't have a hairdresser you really love--when I got that pixie cut, it took 3 attempts to get what I actually wanted, because the first 2 hairdressers kept insisting I didn't really want it as short as I said and I would regret it if I cut it as short as I was asking for (I really did want it that short!), and they both gave me really awkward beiber cuts. Not pretty.

    Any chance it'll grow into what you wanted before too long? And I bet everyone is telling you this, but seriously, I bet it's not as bad as you think. I need pictures for proof :-)

  9. I wish I could do double speed! The most I can manage is 1.5 speed. And I listened to Sense and Sensibility on audio recently, and couldn't even manage 1.5. The accent, the paragraph-length sentences . . . I definitely had to slow that bad boy down to keep up.


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