“How do you read so many books??” This is a question I get asked ALL THE TIME. Well… here’s my answer! Here’s how I read so many books as a busy mom (+ 7 tips for reading more, yourself!).
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There’s one question I get multiple times more than any other:
How do you read so many books??
This question is usually accompanied by reasons it’s impossible for the asker to “find the time” (more on that below), and sometimes even reasons he/she doesn’t want to read that much.
So, before I even get into this post, I want to say this: it’s ok if reading is not a priority for you. The biggest reason I read so many books is because it’s one of my greatest passions. And I believe God made me that way for a reason. He purposely made us all different to equip us for different purposes. So, if you’re just not as crazy about reading as I am, there’s nothing wrong with that! Follow your own passions and pursue them wholeheartedly. I’ll be over here cheering you on from behind my book. 😉
But if you do have a desire to read more books and have been frustrated because you can’t ever seem to do it or you think you don’t have the time, read on! I’ll share how I read so many books as a busy mom and give you some quick tips for reading more books, yourself.
How I Read So Many Books as a Busy Mom
I read a lot of books. A LOT of books. For the past several years, I’ve read over a hundred a year. And while many moms blame motherhood for making it “impossible” to read, this has not been the case for me. Does it make it harder? Sure. But impossible? Definitely not.
How do I read so many books as a busy mom? Here are my “secrets”:
Secret #1: I Prioritize Reading
People always talk about “finding” time to read. If you really want to know how I read so many books, however, it’s because I don’t find time, I make time. There’s a big difference. “Finding” time is passively waiting until you have nothing else to do – and when does that ever happen as a mom?? “Making” time, on the other hand, means actively setting aside time to do it.
That being said, I’m not one to flippantly contend that “we all have the same 24 hours a day.” While that may technically be true, we don’t all have the same amount of work and responsibilities we have to fit in those 24 hours. I totally get that.
So again, I’m not suggesting reading needs to be a priority for everyone. Different people have different (completely valid!) priorities based on their own unique personalities, purposes, and pursuits.
What I am saying is that people err when they assume the reason I read so many books is that I have tons of free time. That is not at all the case. (Trust me, I have plenty to do. 😉) Rather, I read a lot because I prioritize it over a lot of possible alternative uses of my time.
“But don’t you feel guilty making time for it?” Nope. Here’s why I prioritize reading, guilt-free:
- I learn from books. I’m super passionate about lifelong learning, and I refuse to believe motherhood precludes me from pursuing that. In fact, raising three kids motivates me all the more to keep learning! And books are my favorite way to do it.
- I grow from books. I can’t tell you what a difference books have made in my life. I would not be the same wife, mother, or woman I am now without the growth that has come as a direct result from the books I’ve read. The truth is, I am a better person the more I read.
- I love teaching others. I’ve been realizing over the past few years that I have a bent towards teaching. I’m still exploring exactly what that looks like for me, but I believe part of why God gave me such a passion for reading is because I’m meant to share what I’ve learned with others. More input = more output.
- I enjoy it tremendously. Finally, I can’t not read any more than a fish could not swim! We don’t always have to have a “productivity” reason for everything we do. Sometimes joy and self-care are reason enough (in moderation, of course).
Related Post: 5 Compelling Reasons You Should Read Every Day
That first “secret” is by far my biggest for reading more books, so it was a doozy! Want to know what it looks like in action? Following are some quick, practical ways I prioritize reading every day.
Secret #2: I schedule it
As busy moms, unless we intentionally schedule something into our days, it’s most likely not going to happen. I don’t wait for “free time” (that’s probably never going to come) to read. Because reading is so important to me, I actually schedule it into my day – either in one 30-minute chunk or two 15-minute chunks.
Secret #3: I read in the margins
In addition to my scheduled reading time, I also read in the margins of my day. My days are pretty full of tasks and responsibilities, but there are usually little windows of time scattered throughout. In those few minutes, I’ll often open up a book and read, even if it’s just a page or two.
Secret #4: I carry a book with me everywhere
Because I read a lot in the margins of my day, I make sure I’m always prepared with reading material. Anytime there might be waiting or downtime (appointments, school drop-offs/pick-ups, car rides, etc.), I bring a book to read. And if I don’t happen to have a physical book with me, I always have an ebook or two on my phone. While I much prefer physical books, that does make it easy to pull out a book anytime/anywhere. I’ve even read while waiting in line at the grocery store!
Side note: I do this with the kids now, too. Anytime we go somewhere as a family, I stick our read-aloud book in my purse – just in case! It’s a lifesaver during times of waiting.
Secret #5: I read more than one book at a time
This may seem like an illogical reason, since I can’t literally read more than one book simultaneously. But having two (or more) books in different styles or on different topics going at once means I have something for whatever mood I might be in at the moment.
If I’m not in the mood for a parenting book, I’ll pick up a Christian living book. If I don’t have the energy to think very hard, I’ll pick up a fiction book. By having a variety of options, there’s always something I feel like reading. In this way, reading more than one book at a time actually results in reading more, overall.
Secret #6: I have a reading queue
One of my other secrets to reading more books is to make sure I don’t lose momentum after I finish a book. I keep a TBR (to be read) pile on my bookshelf (that never seems to shrink) and a running to-read list on my phone. Before I’ve even finished my current book, I already have another one picked out and ready to read.
Related Post: My Completed & Decorated Bookcases
Secret #7: I “read” with my ears
Finally, I do some of my “reading” with my ears – by listening to audiobooks! (And yes, it counts.) Most of my audiobook listening is fiction because I’m a visual learner and I don’t retain nonfiction very well from listening to it. But I love that I can still “read” even when I’m busy doing other things.
7 Tips for Reading More Books
Based on the “secrets” above, here’s a summarized list of seven quick ways you can read more books:
- Prioritize reading
Again, you’ll never magically “find” the time to read – you have to make it! The only way to read more books as a busy mom is to prioritize it. And to do that, you need to stop thinking of reading as “wasted” time or an unnecessary luxury – there are great benefits to reading every day!
- Schedule your reading time
Once you’ve decided to make reading a priority, schedule it into your day. Think you don’t have the time? I challenge you to do a “time audit” – you probably have more time for reading than you think! And it’s okay if you can only commit to 10-15 minutes a day. You’ll be surprised how quickly it adds up!
- Read in the margins
Read during your lunch breaks, in school pick-up lines, while you wait at appointments, or any other time you have a couple of minutes of downtime. Basically, anytime you would pick up your phone, pick up a book, instead!
- Carry a book with you everywhere you go
You’ll be better able to take advantage of those random free moments if you always have a book with you. Ebooks on your phone are great for this because you’ll have them with you wherever you go!
- Read more than one book at a time
Having a couple of books in different genres or on different topics will help ensure you always have something to fit whatever mood you’re in when it’s time to read. This will lead you to read more, overall.
- Always have the next book ready
Don’t lose your momentum! Before you’ve finished your current read, decide what you want to read next and have it ready.
- “Read” with your ears
Finally, get more books in by listening to them on audiobook! Listen during commutes, while cleaning and doing household chores, on walks, etc. As a busy mom, you may have more time to listen than read, so audiobooks can be a great way to consume more books.
Need some reading recommendations? Here are some of my favorites:
- My Favorite Books I Read in 2021
- My 15 Favorite Books I Read in 2020
- My Favorite Books I Read in 2019
- My Top 10+ Favorite Books From 2018
- My Top 10 Favorite Books of 2017
- My Favorite Books For Moms
- My Top 10 Favorite Parenting Books