I’m about to throw a long quote at you but it’ll make sense, you’ll see. Here it is:
“Time is the inexplicable raw material of everything. With it, all is possible; without it, nothing. The supply of time is truly a daily miracle, an affair genuinely astonishing when one examines it. You wake up in the morning, and lo! your purse is magically filled with twenty-four hours of the unmanufactured tissue of the universe of your life! It is yours. It is the most precious of possessions. No one can take it from you. It is unstealable. And no one receives either more or less than you receive.”
– Arnold Bennett
Well said, right? On point. How many times have you said, “I don’t have the time,” and yet sat on your bed or couch and stayed on Instagram for hours or on Netflix? It’s so easy to do a lot of nothing and when faced with doing the things that matter, easily say we don’t have time. Doing the lazy stuff or the things that aren’t of not much value is easier. When we picture things that are more likely to be of greater benefit we already attach the idea that they require a Herculean effort and the excuses tap just keeps running. It’s so easy to backup laziness with good excuses, it’s the easiest thing to do. Why do we end up having “special people” do extraordinary things while we sit and make “but” lists? It’s because it’s way easier to say “but I don’t have time” and convince ourselves we’ve made a good argument, than it is to rearrange our lives to free up time to do those extraordinary things.
Someone said that I must have the luxury of reading time because I don’t have a job. Yeah, because freelance writing and editing are just as good as picking my nose and farting all day, right? Anyway, I’m going to share how I make time to read while I do my freelance writing and editing, study and raise three kids (well, four if you count their dad).
- I read in the car
No, please do not read and drive. You might just die. I don’t drive, so whether I’m on my way to taking the kids to school, running errands or whatever, I read on the way, except on these Nairobi roads with nasty potholes. If you’re driving then you can do audio books. Some people are too embarrassed to take out a book in public because people are staring. Well, let them look. And if you do feel this way, please read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, and you’ll see what a wasteful fuck it is that you’re giving.
- I read in queues
I don’t get pissed when I find a queue. Please don’t say, “Oh but what if you’re late?” If you’re late, you’re late. If it is something important, you’re still going to have to queue. You might as well do something while you’re waiting. Read. I live in Nairobi and there are so many places I go to, like hospitals, where I will queue until I feel I’ve reached menopause, but having a book makes it bearable.
- I read at the spa or salon
If I can’t do hands and feet at the same time then while I get a pedicure I read. I read while I’m getting my braids (I have a big head so it takes long) or while sitting under the dryer.
- I read while I do self-care at home
I’m not a big fan of long baths but once in a while I need it, especially detox baths or ice cold water soak. While I’m in there I grab a book and read away. If only I could do it in the shower. While I soak my feet at home after a long day or sit with that homemade activated charcoal face mask, I read.
- I read when I wake up in the morning and before bed at night
I’m learning to do less snoozing when my alarm goes off and instead of reaching for my phone for social media, I grab one book from the pile on my bedside table. Even if it’s one page it makes a difference to how I’ll start my day. It’s also the last thing I do before I crash. Sometimes I overdo it though, one chapter becomes half the book and before I know it the sun is coming out or I hear my kids’ little feet scuttle to my room to demand breakfast.
- I read when I don’t feel like people-ing
It sounds very anti-social, I know, but I do it when people are also doing some anti-social things. How many times have you been to some gathering and people are just buried in their phones? I just pull out a book instead of trying too hard to fill in the silence they leave hanging.
- In the loo
This one is not for me but if it works for you, please do use that opportunity to dive into a good read.
If you don’t want to be holding up a book while doing other things, you can get audiobooks. Because you don’t have to carry a book around and all that “hard work”, you can listen for as long as you want while you do other things. You can play an audiobook while cooking or doing chores. When I say reading it’s not only in a traditional sense, you can always find the best way to enjoy books without it feeling like a burden or something you can’t make time for.
Your time is precious and you should use it for the things that matter. I know, life gets hectic and by the end of the day you wonder where all the time went but if you just move things around you can make time not just for reading but also for so many things that you’ve thrown into the no-time-for basket.
Make the time, it’s in your hands.
If you need help getting into reading and how to become an avid reader, you can download our free guide here.