Friday, December 5, 2014

Finding Guilt-Free Time to Read

I’ve been asked how I find time to read as many books as I do. First I’d have to say that when you enjoy something thoroughly and benefit from it, if it’s your passion, so to speak, you make time for the activity. Reading is such an activity for me. My God and my family come first, but reading enhances my relationships and my involvement in ministry. What I put in, God can bring out. Reading has value that way.

The Woman's Study Bible, NIV
Here are a few tricks I’ve learned:

1. Use waiting time. The television character, Rory, one of the Gilmore Girls, always carried a book in her purse to read when she had to wait for something—a bus, a friend, an appointment, whatever. She had the book available and made good use of the time. Likewise, one of my college professors claims he read the entire Old Testament while waiting for his wife to do her make-up on Sunday mornings. My husband doesn’t put on make-up, praise the Lord, but my professor’s point was that we can make good use of waiting time. A few minutes here and there eventually get us through even a great, big, overwhelming book!

2. Get up early (or stay up late). It all depends on how you’re wired. If you’re an early bird, get up before anyone else and enjoy a few moments of uninterrupted quiet, reading time—the Bible first, then other books. If you’re a night owl, celebrate getting the rest of the household to bed and reward yourself for a good day’s work by reading before you tuck yourself in.

3. Multi-task. Here’s your opportunity to get really creative. I’ll offer a few ideas to get you started: I like to work-out in the morning, and sometimes I run on a treadmill. I’ve learned that if I make the incline steep, I can burn the same amount of calories per mile walking as I burn running on a flat surface. If I’m walking, I can read as I do, and walking is easier on knees and ankles. It takes a little longer to complete a work-out, but joint health and reading time justify that. I also like to read while I cook. I’m notoriously impatient while waiting for water to boil or pasta to soften up. If I keep a book on the counter to read during these waiting times, I’m more likely to get the recipe right.

4. Reward yourself for doing tasks you usually put off. Tell yourself if you complete the dreaded task, you’ve earned a little time to read. Then keep your promise—treat yourself. Don’t rush off to do something else.

5. Turn teaching your children into playtime for yourself. I found this idea in a Focus on the Family Magazine article last year. It’s too much fun! If a child fails to do a chore, as children sometimes do, rather than rant and rave, fuss and fume, quietly do the chore yourself. Later, have your child pay you back by doing a chore for you. Choose a dreaded, time-consuming one, then read while your child works. (This isn't as effective with little kids, but with teenagers, it’s ideal.)

These are just a few ideas. I hope they are helpful to you. If you have others, please take the time to comment and share. I always appreciate finding more time to read: God’s Word first, then other worthwhile books--or blogs or magazines.

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