How I’m Finding Time to Read and Other Worthy Pursuits

posted in: Simple Living | 2

Inside: Too much time away from soulful pursuits will have us parched and searching for water. Finding time to read is a great way to replenish our reserves. The trick is how to make it happen.

finding time to read
Some of those novels I’ve been meaning to read!

 

It’s no mystery. You’re busy. I’m busy. We’ve barely plunged a toe into February and–you guessed it–still busy. Likely that’s not going to change.

So how do we find time for the things we really want to do? We always seem to have room for the things we must do, but too much time away from soulful pursuits will have us parched and searching for water. I’ve been in that place before, too many times. I’m betting you have, too.

This year when I set out to write my goals, I almost didn’t add one in for reading. I’d placed this on my list so often before but to no avail. Not that I don’t read, mind you. Just that my fodder tends to be information coming from emails and websites as well as my day job editing books. (Editing books makes it difficult, at times, to read for pleasure.) But I wasn’t tackling my bookshelf. Books I’d handpicked and purchased for a reason.

Last year’s goal was fun and perky: “Read 17 books in 2017.” Clever, right? Well, I didn’t come close. When I reevaluated unfinished goals, I decided to try a different tack. This year I’d focus on finding time to read, creating a reading habit of 15 minutes. I also added in finishing 12 books from my bookshelf, though I consider it secondary to the habit goal. Ideally, if I can establish a daily reading practice of at least 15 minutes, then the 12 books will take care of themselves. Likely more.

I’m sure you’re dying to know how it’s going for me. Pretty well, actually. Here’s what is making the difference–tacking the new goal onto something I already do on a daily basis. Michael Hyatt calls it an “activation trigger.” But guess what? It’s working! I already spend time reading my Bible, devotionals, and praying, so when I’m finished I’ve added in a slot for my bookshelf reads. Too simple, I know. Why didn’t I think of that before?

But does this little trick work for other things? Absolutely! Because I’m concentrating on goals quarterly, I put all of my habit goals upfront. Fitness is another big one for me, also having made the annual appearance on my list, but I never tackled it. What’s different is that I’m using a fitness device that reminds me to get my steps–also working! Photography is a skill I wish to master, and I have my own “activation trigger” for that, too. Emily reminds me that my assignment is due, which in turn helps me recall how much I really want to learn to take breathtaking (or at least beautiful) photos.

And that’s another good motivation–remembering why I chose these goals in the first place and keeping those reasons in front of me when I might want to give up. (Also from Michael Hyatt.)

So far, so good. I’ll keep you updated on how it’s going for me. Which is another powerful motivator. I don’t want to fail and have to write about it!

 

Finding time to read.
My first two selections from my bookshelf.

Have you kept up with your goals? Tell us about it in the comments.

Related posts:

Birdwatching Birthdays, Photography Lessons, and Other News Fresh From the Farm

Making Goals for the New Year

My Word for 2018 

The Useful Art of Daydreaming

 

2 Responses

  1. Cheryl Carter

    I just LOVE looking at the books on someone’s bookshelves. ESPECIALLY their TBR shelf! I have TWO shelves of them. The way I get through the books (am having difficulty focusing at the moment, but it helps) is to read X number of pages each day. Usually I settle on between 10 and 20. Depends on how big the book is. And if there ends up being times I don’t want to stop there, well, so much the better. I also use this method when I’ve started a book that just never ignites for me and still want to finish it. 🙂

    • amy@amyharkemoore.com

      That’s a great idea, too, Calen. 🙂 Sometimes it is just plain hard to get through a book, and, yet, you want to get to the other side and not abandon it. I know exactly what you mean! As far as focusing, I know you’re dealing with health/meds issues. For me, I don’t know what it is. I don’t know how it happens, but I can read an entire passage and not pay attention to what I’m reading because my mind wanders. I have told this to avid readers–you know, the types who read 100 books in a year’s time–and they look at me like I’m from Mars.

      Does anyone else love to read but battles the mind wandering thing? Thankfully when I’m wearing my editing hat, that doesn’t happen.

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