Goodreads Blog

9 Tips for Squeezing More Reading Time Out of Your Day

Posted by Hayley on December 16, 2016


Don't let Your Year in Books end with a whimper. It's not too late to say goodbye to 2016 the right way: with a pile of books (and probably a hot beverage). In an effort to read more and, for some of us, to complete our 2016 Reading Challenge, we turned to—who else?—our wonderful Goodreads community.

We asked on Facebook and Twitter: What are some tips for reading more? See what could work for you…and then get back to your books!


1. "Cut off all outside distractions. If your phone dies, let it die. Don't plug anything in until you're finished with your book. And get cozy. Make yourself a hot tea or hot chocolate and throw on some flannel pajamas." (Lacie)

2. "Stack the deck in your favor! Have a bunch of short books you've been meaning to get to? Put them on the top of your list." (Melinda) *See 25 of our favorite books under 200 pages.*

3. "Listen to audiobooks every second you can't actually be reading. Commuting, cleaning, and laundry would be wasted time without the ability to listen to a good book." (Denise) *See 20 of our favorite audiobooks for every type of reader.*

4. "Get up early to read for at least an hour and then read for at least an hour at night." (Rae)

5. "Call in sick for a 'me day.'" (Jainell)

6. "Find sneaky ways to read more at unexpected times. I read when I'm blow drying my hair!" (Joanna)

7. "Always have a book with you. If you're waiting in a long line at the supermarket, whip it out!" (Grace)

8. "Start reading a book or comic book series with 5+ books. You'll get hooked and won't want to stop reading." (Sally) *See 24 of our favorite addictive series for teens.*

9. "Mix up genres and book lengths. Never get bored!" (Mark)


And for those who are really serious about reading more, there's this tip from Justine:
"Quit your job and send the husband and kids out of town. Recruit some cats, stockpile tea, and get to it!"

Do you have a secret reading tip? Share it with us in the comments!
(Top image credit: Doctor Who)

Comments (showing 1-50 of 157) (157 new)


message 1: by Taaya (new)

Taaya 1. Plan your workout only with exercises you can do while reading.
2. Read on the toilet - if you don't have a a lot of kids, nobody will bother you there
3. Don't. Ever. Read. Fanfiction. Or at least not if you want to finish your goal. I had about 300 FFs this year, some 500,000 words and more, but only one was added on Goodreads as well


message 2: by Liz (new)

Liz I'll add: always know what your next book is going to be and ask for it ahead of time at the library so you aren't waiting between books!


message 3: by Bozhidar (new)

Bozhidar I am not a fan of audiobooks. I have tried a few but i find it hard to concentrate on them(following the story) or get into it(like i am living the adventures).


message 4: by Melyssa (new)

Melyssa I read when I'm at the hair stylist or when I'm getting a pedicure. You can also get in quite a bit of reading waiting at the doctor's office. It's wonderful that we can carry so many books with us electronically now.


message 5: by Noora (new)

Noora Taaya wrote: "1. Plan your workout only with exercises you can do while reading.
2. Read on the toilet - if you don't have a a lot of kids, nobody will bother you there
3. Don't. Ever. Read. Fanfiction. Or at l..."


Ha! I know, I wish there was a place to just add a word count for other reading (aside from published books) to get an accurate idea of how much I really read in a year, books *and* fic.


Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder* I can't do audiobooks well, but most of these suggestions work.

I like to set aside time to read in the bath too - very relaxing routine.

Join reading challenges or read-a-thons every once in awhile for fun spurts of themed reading that tends to inspire people.

Always have a book with you, so if you get stuck waiting somewhere, read to pass the time.

Read at lunch breaks at work. Adds up surprisingly fast.


message 7: by Taaya (new)

Taaya @Noora
That would be heavenly! And it would give you the possibility to track your rereads as well.


message 8: by TheBookLover (new)

TheBookLover Well I recommend this:-

1. Make a hot drink
2.bring all the books you want to read into your room
3. Lock yourself in your room and say your working
4. Read. Just read
And if your studying in college or uni or even high school
5. Do all steps, but instead of saying your working, say your ill and you can't go in to school/college/uni.


message 9: by Cheryl (last edited Dec 17, 2016 07:47AM) (new)

Cheryl Bozhidar wrote: "I am not a fan of audiobooks. I have tried a few but i find it hard to concentrate on them(following the story) or get into it(like i am living the adventures)."

I agree. But I will tell you, it gets easier with practice. It also helps if it's poetry or a shorter or faster-paced book and if you have chunks of time to listen. I got the most best 'training' on a vacation road trip. I also listened to a bunch of short stories (free from Librivox) at the beginning.

And yes, audiobooks while going for a walk or doing other repetitive exercise or chores is such a boon.


message 10: by Holly (new)

Holly Sometimes, I find creating a countdown of chapters/pages on a whiteboard helps. It motivates me to get down to zero.

I also read before bed and when I'm waiting for my brother at his speech therapy appointments.

Someone mentioned reading during breaks/lunch at work. That's helpful too - if you're staying for lunch.

I know it's been mentioned dozens of times before in other threads but you can also read on the bus/train if you take public transportation.


message 11: by Edward (new)

Edward Spend less time on Goodreads and Amazon and more time reading! :)


message 12: by Julie (new)

Julie Akeman shut your computer down, turn off all devices, I'm not one to afford a whole lot but I can afford books, and I work at a library and they let me read when I am waiting to put stuff up, I get a few pages in then check to see what came in and put those up and go my rounds making the shelves nice and neat, I'm a page so my job is pretty simple.

At home I have kids, three with me now and I read to them and I read for myself, when they are busy with a show or playing I read while keeping an eye on them, laundry can be done while reading and so can the dishes. OK though sometimes I 'forget' the chores and just read, I have read 115 books so far this year, big, small, short, long, vary it, even had some graphic novels this year. I read late at night too, I just finished watching season six of Game of Thrones so I have more time for reading, Got a large pile here.


message 13: by T♠️bi (new)

T♠️bi I really only glanced at this because I saw the Doctor and was like, "Oh, finally!" but these are all good tips.

Here's one of my own: Stuck on a fiction book? Get some modern poetry or a short story anthology for a break. I can breeze through those, no problem.


message 14: by Kristin (new)

Kristin Davison Noora wrote: "Taaya wrote: "1. Plan your workout only with exercises you can do while reading.
2. Read on the toilet - if you don't have a a lot of kids, nobody will bother you there
3. Don't. Ever. Read. Fanfi..."


Taaya wrote: "1. Plan your workout only with exercises you can do while reading.
2. Read on the toilet - if you don't have a a lot of kids, nobody will bother you there
3. Don't. Ever. Read. Fanfiction. Or at l..."


If fanfictions are complete they can be added to goodreads as books.


message 15: by Sabrina (last edited Dec 17, 2016 10:53AM) (new)

Sabrina Using public transpot can give you a lot of reading time. It added about 1 hour to my daily reading time. And for those who still prefer driving. I always had a book in my car, to utilize gridlook traffic or other waiting times.


message 16: by Christina (new)

Christina Read on your breaks and lunches at work. If you get two fifteens and a half hour lunch (typical for a lot of places), that's an hour everyday you wouldn't be reading otherwise.


message 17: by Michael (new)

Michael Edward wrote: "Spend less time on Goodreads and Amazon and more time reading! :)"
You just hit a nerve


message 18: by Nathan (new)

Nathan easiest way to read more is to not pay your cable bill.


message 19: by Kadi (new)

Kadi P Oh Gosh I'm terrible at this. I get hooked on a book and then I spend all my time finishing that one book or the entire series and don't get any work done at all. It's terrible for me but if I get back to doing work or really focus on the work half way through the book then I lose interest in the book or series and I don't like that.
I think my main problem is I chose books that are waaaaay too long. Like each book is more than 300 pages on average and even though that isn't awfully long you have to take into account that every book I read is usually part of a series that is a trilogy or longer. I guess my resolution is to find a way to manage my time in order to be able to read more but also work during the days that I'm reading a book.
If anyone has any particular suggestions apart from those mentioned in the article above please feel free to leave a comment below. :)


message 20: by Joan (new)

Joan Happel If I am reading a particularly long book, I will assign myself a certain number of pages to read a day, and then when I have finished my goal I will spend time reading a shorter to book. It makes me feel as if I am accomplishing more!
Also I have eliminated almost all television watching except for certain specials or a PBS mini series. If the TV is off it is much easier to just pick up a book.


message 21: by Perchta (new)

Perchta I read always and everywhere. I read in the train and then tram when I go to university (and when I wait for them at the stop). I read in the queue for lunch. I read when I am supposed to study. I read even while cooking. Shortly, I don’t read only when I am sleeping and going down the stairs ;)


Zombieslayer/Alienhunter {quester in a cashier's body} I love that last one, genre-jumping, so true! And the series one is also good.

I make time for reading any way I can.
For instance, if like myself you have to go to the coin-op laundry once a week, bring a book. You *could* leave while your clothes are going, but hardly anybody does it.
Instead of screwing around on your phone or staring into space, you have twenty-five minutes to read during the washing, and twenty-five during the drying. That's almost an hour.
I also read while waiting for food to cook in the oven or the microwave.

May not be much, but it helps me get in a little each day.


message 23: by the gift (new)

the gift 1 do not watch tv
2 do not watch tv
3 do not watch tv...*

*repeat as necessary

4 find a comfortable seat at the coffeehouse, go to librar(ies) once a week, live with low income, live on disability pension, spend money on books and more books, work as little as possible, read as much as possible, write reviews on gr, read reviews on gr...


message 24: by Sally (new)

Sally Bennett Bozhidar wrote: "I am not a fan of audiobooks. I have tried a few but i find it hard to concentrate on them(following the story) or get into it(like i am living the adventures)."
I know what you mean; however, I've found that some audio books are simply awesome in audio form. It all depends on the narrator, I think. The Life we Bury was one I recently finished and my mind did not wander for one minute. I've also found that when actors are the narrators (such as Reese Witherspoon with Go Call a Watchman), I'm able to focus much better. Narration is so very important.


message 25: by CC (new)

CC I think I should read more, but for me reading is about relaxing and getting absorbed in a good story and/or a good writing style... So reading while doing something else (other than a long wait for an appointment or something) is not as comfy... which means I read less...
But the times I do read comfortably provide me with maximum enjoyment.
For me it's about reading better, not necessarily reading more.


message 26: by Sally (new)

Sally Bennett CC wrote: "I think I should read more, but for me reading is about relaxing and getting absorbed in a good story and/or a good writing style... So reading while doing something else (other than a long wait fo..."

Sure, that makes sense. I typically do audio books while in the car alone or while outside walking alone or while cleaning house. Makes everything much more enjoyable.


Just Call Me Astrit I'm a university student, and in my carrer we are always using our computer so... when I get stress or I have free time, I open my ebook carpet and I start to read something, the first book or comic I see.
Sometimes I download it to my cellphone and I start to read.
*OR print some pages of an ebook/comic, only if you can't use a computer and you have to use a lot copies :)

(This could be wrong but it could be a good hack)


message 28: by Noora (new)

Noora Taaya wrote: "@Noora
That would be heavenly! And it would give you the possibility to track your rereads as well."


Yes. I don't want to pick an edition of the book I didn't read so if I want to re-read something now, I have to either check out or buy a different edition of the book. Haha!


message 29: by Noora (new)

Noora Kristin wrote: "If fanfictions are complete they can be added to goodreads as books."

Oh I know, but some fic authors don't like their works being added to GR, and for shorter works the effort of adding it seems like too much work. Especially when you read several shorter ones in a row. Being able to add a page amount or word count without specifying for this kind of thing would be awesome. :)


message 30: by Jemimah (new)

Jemimah Dhove Perchta wrote: "I read always and everywhere. I read in the train and then tram when I go to university (and when I wait for them at the stop). I read in the queue for lunch. I read when I am supposed to study. I ..."

This is me a few years ago.
Well, the one thing that has stayed the same is I still read when I should be studying.


annemarie_bookaholic Christina wrote: "Read on your breaks and lunches at work. If you get two fifteens and a half hour lunch (typical for a lot of places), that's an hour everyday you wouldn't be reading otherwise."

I do this I get a 1/2 hour lunch and two 15 minute breaks that I take together...I also read for an hour before work and about an hour to 2 hours before bed...sometimes I read all day in between things I have to do...


message 32: by Alexendra (last edited Dec 17, 2016 04:24PM) (new)

Alexendra Martio Download books and read when you want so visit Bookfre


message 33: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine I read on my commute, and always bring a book with me so that if I have to wait in line or for an appointment, I can get some reading done. I also try and read a little before bed every night.


message 34: by Alexendra (new)

Alexendra Martio Jasmine wrote: "I read on my commute, and always bring a book with me so that if I have to wait in line or for an appointment, I can get some reading done. I also try and read a little before bed every night."
That's good @Jasmine


message 35: by Hannah (new)

Hannah Jasmine wrote: "I read on my commute, and always bring a book with me so that if I have to wait in line or for an appointment, I can get some reading done. I also try and read a little before bed every night."

I'd say I read an extra five or so books a year by doing this - I always keep a non-fiction book on my phone so when I'm waiting in line or in the car for a few minutes I can get a few pages in. I choose non-fiction for these books so I don't lose/forget any plot.


message 36: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl the gift wrote: "1 do not watch tv
2 do not watch tv
3 do not watch tv...*

*repeat as necessary

4 find a comfortable seat at the coffeehouse, go to librar(ies) once a week, live with low income, live on disabilit..."


Hear hear!


message 37: by Vicki (new)

Vicki G Taaya wrote: "1. Plan your workout only with exercises you can do while reading.
2. Read on the toilet - if you don't have a a lot of kids, nobody will bother you there
3. Don't. Ever. Read. Fanfiction. Or at l..."


Yeah but your kitty will. She likes to play 'chase the paw' when I'm in the bathroom. She can't come in because the door's closed so she sticks her paw underneath the door and moves it around while I try to catch it. Such simple things can amuse cats for hours.


message 38: by Mallory (new)

Mallory Daniels If you start a book and lose interest at any point, don't waste your time with. It's all right to stop reading it. (It's taking me years to figure that out!) Put it aside and in a couple of months, even years, you will find that it's wonderful. I'm a firm believer that there is a right book for the right time. And sometimes, the time is not right yet.


message 39: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Mallory wrote: "If you start a book and lose interest at any point, don't waste your time with. It's all right to stop reading it. (It's taking me years to figure that out!) Put it aside and in a couple of months,..."

And some books will never be right for you. But yes, it's surprising to me how much my taste has changed over the decades. Some books will always be favorites, and some I bought but will never read (because I've moved on). In any case, yes, don't be afraid to put a book down!


message 40: by Ulla (new)

Ulla Bozhidar wrote: "I am not a fan of audiobooks. I have tried a few but i find it hard to concentrate on them(following the story) or get into it(like i am living the adventures)."

same with me


message 41: by Ulla (new)

Ulla Cheryl wrote: "the gift wrote: "1 do not watch tv
2 do not watch tv
3 do not watch tv...*

*repeat as necessary

4 find a comfortable seat at the coffeehouse, go to librar(ies) once a week, live with low income, ..."


and don't ever watch what's happening on twitter or facebook, never ever!


message 42: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie R. I read through the Kindle app, because whenever I have a few minutes to wait for something it becomes reading time. I might not have a book with me, but I always have my phone.


message 43: by Hany (last edited Dec 17, 2016 07:20PM) (new)

Hany Adeeb when i go to work , i read a few pages that make some difference ,
you can find time to what you love and need


message 44: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine Mallory wrote: "If you start a book and lose interest at any point, don't waste your time with. It's all right to stop reading it. (It's taking me years to figure that out!) Put it aside and in a couple of months,..."

Mallory, I 100% agree!


message 45: by Caroline (new)

Caroline Stay off social media. A book is far more interesting!!


message 46: by Rudy (new)

Rudy Lopez I always have a "breakfast book" handy by the dining room table. Whenever I eat alone I get in two to four pages read before I finish my meal.


message 47: by pegah (new)

pegah Omit TV from your life, put deadline for reading a book, manage to read thick books at home and short ones out (in Bus in Subway in Cafe etc).


message 48: by Wesley (new)

Wesley If you have a job ( or like me multiple ones ), read a book during your coffee break or during lunch. Also read some in the morning before going to work/school.


message 49: by Tiago (new)

Tiago Caroline wrote: "Stay off social media. A book is far more interesting!!"
That's exactly what I have done. I've deactivated my Facebook account temporarily and removed Whatsapp and Telegram from my smartphone. I've also been cutting down on screen time: TV, YouTube, and Netflix. All those gone hours are now back!


message 50: by Rana (new)

Rana Pretending that you are tired or taking longer at the toilet work great for me!!


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