Saturday, February 12, 2011

How Paula Finds Time To Read On A Busy (College) Schedule!

So I know that we all have busy lives and we all have a time consuming hobby. Unlike being into a TV show (if you count that as a hobby…) which takes an hour out of your week, being into books takes a lot of effort. If you’re a fast reader it can still take you about a week to finish a book. So how are you supposed to fit such an awesome hobby into such a busy schedule? Here’s some things I’ve discovered over my college career.

TAKE A BOOK EVERYWHERE YOU GO – So I should probably be taking my own advice right now. Over the past week, I have missed THREE hour long opportunities to read. As I was leaving each day I didn’t grab my book because I was going to be running around campus all day and I would not have time to read. How silly of me. In the first instance, I had a meeting with a professor who had to cancel, so then I had an awkward hour before class where I just stared at the wall, when I could have been reading. Pretty much the same thing happened the other two times. I was early when someone was late and I could have been reading!! And today my friend missed our weekly lunch date. So I was sitting around the union looking friendless when (guess what) I could have been READING! (Sorry just a little mad at myself for not grabbing my book this morning). So really – moral of the story, bring a book everywhere you go. You may think that you wont have time to read it, and maybe you wont for a lot of the time. But for those opportunities that pop up, if you are stuck sitting around campus, you’ll really wish you had brought one with you.

WAKE UP EARLY – My roommate thinks I’m crazy for this one. I don’t have class until 11 every day. But I wake up at 8am. Now it doesn’t take me 3 hours to get ready (well… it shouldn’t). I wake up early so I can head to campus an hour (or an hour and a half) early, grab a coffee and read in the library before class. Not only does this let me enjoy my favorite thing when I would have just been sleeping otherwise, but also I find that reading before class is the final thing I need to wake up in the morning (or maybe it’s the coffee). That way I am nice and mentally ready to sit through class for a few hours. Also, there are usually cute boys in the library to gaze upon. Triple win?

STOP DOING HOMEWORK – Okay, this is one that I’ve done since Freshman year. It might not work for everyone, especially if you know that you don’t have the best time management skills… Every night, no matter what, I stop doing homework by 9:30. I could be in the middle of reading a chapter for class, but I will put it down. 9:30 is my schoolwork cut off time. (I will say that I can only get away with this because I tend to think a few days in advance – therefore the homework I’m doing Tuesday night won’t be due until Thursday or Friday. I am not suggesting people stop doing the work that’s due the next day!!) After 9:30, I get ready for bed and read for a little while before I go to sleep. This gives me the opportunity to focus on something other than schoolwork and de-stress before sleeping. It has also saved me from pulling all-nighters, but that’s another story.

Those are my top three ways to sneak in leisure reading into your busy schedule. I hope this helps anyone who is trying to balance their school/work load with their reading time. How do you fit reading for pleasure into your busy life?


  1. What great advice. When I was in college I took a book everywhere. I still do. I'm a bookworm!

  2. Yes, taking a book with me whenever I leave the house is a must. There are always small (and sometimes big) pauses and wait times throughout the day. And of course beside my bed for wakeful times during the night and early morning.

    I'm also a bit of a homebody and don't watch much tv, so that helps too ;)

  3. Great post! I do bring a book with me everywhere I go and it's great! At first I felt weird bringing a book to my internship, until I figured I had so much time between seeing patients that well, I'd be either staring at the wall or checking my e-mail 100 times a day if I didn't.
    And I'm also guilty of getting up early to read :) It's just relaxing.
    And it doesn't hurt to have a boyfriend who doesn't mind making dinner when I can't rip myself away from whichever story I'm reading ;)

  4. What great ideas on how to fit reading into a busy schedule! I always tell myself to take a book everywhere with me but invariably the times that I don't are the times when I'm sitting waiting for something...and then I don't have a book.

  5. I probably should wake up early rather than doing what I do,which is stay up half the night reading instead! I also hate leaving the house without a book- I always regret it if I do!

  6. Very much agreed...I always have a book with me, and if I couldn't find anyone to eat with at the dining hall, I found a little nook and kept myself company with a good book. One semester I had an odd work/class schedule that had lots of little gaps, but none big enough to justify going back to my dorm room -- so I'd just go to the library and enjoy little reading sessions.

    I also read before class started.

  7. These are great suggestions, though personally I am incapable of waking up until the absolute last second. I bring not being a morning person to a whole new level.

    I always have at least two books with me to read no matter where I go because you can find an opportunity to read at the most unexpected of times.

  8. Like American Express, I never leave home with it (a book, that is.) I spend so much time on buses, waiting for buses, eating alone, that having a book with me is second nature. It's like an appendage with me--feel naked without one. E-readers are great for that. I'm never without a book. But I love prints as well. I'll be taking one tonight as I head out to see Tango Fire and will read it until the dancing starts as well as the bus ride to and from it.

  9. I always keep a book in my purse, if I'm near the end of one book, it will be two in my purse. I'm usually at work half an hour early so there's some free reading times.

    A couple days a week the people I normally have lunch with don't have to work, or don't have a lunch break, so I read during my lunch.

    I try to read before I go to bed each night but sometimes that doesn't happen. I get a majority of my reading done during the weekend when I have days off.

    One of the places that I read the most especially when I lived in the dorm was the laundry mat. It takes a little more than an hour to wash and dry one load of laundry so rather than stare at the wall. I'd sit in a chair (or on a folding table, but shhh don't tell) and read or study.

  10. Great advice!

    I find that bringing my book with me everywhere I go enables me to squeeze in reading time.

    Lucky you! No class until 11?! I'm usually at work (I'm a high school teacher) by 6:45 if I have a first period class.

    I found that turning the TV off made a big difference. I watch a few select shows, but that's it.

  11. Excellent advice! I've started carrying a book with me everywhere now after one too many wall staring sessions. *L*

  12. Do you have a smart phone? I usually take my kindle everywhere, but a couple of times I've not had it when I was waiting. I used the kindle app to get a little reading in.

  13. I also take a book every where I go. Lately, I have a 'purse book' and a 'home book' because there have been so many times forgot to put the book I was reading in my purse before heading out the door.

  14. Love this advice, especially the "waking up early" one - my family makes fun of me for heading to campus early to read! =)

  15. Oh yes, I always take a book with me wherever I go. I love that there are so many people piping up to say that they do this too. I don't see many people I know in school carrying books around to read for fun. Bookworm solidarity!

    (Also, I wish I had the willpower to wake up early to read, haha.)

  16. Oddly enough, this post made me really miss college life. Grad school is so not the same.

    I love my nook for this reason: It fits so well in my purse and I have a couple of books I'm reading on it right now.

  17. All good advice! I've had so many professors tell me that there is no way I can maintain reading for pleasure with reading for school and they are just flat out wrong. I'm sorry, but just because you could never do it, doesn't mean I can't. I make sure to read at the very least a couple pages a day, by carrying the book with me everywhere I go and by either getting up early or staying up ten minutes later. It not only lets me get in a little reading, but it also helps me wind down at the end of the day.

  18. I admire Paula's self discipline! I wish I could get up early and finish all my school work in time to read at night. haha. Great post with some great tips!

  19. Another high school teacher chiming in! I don't get up early to read, but I do have a book with me almost all the time, and I do read every night before I go to bed.

  20. I'm also a college student, and I love this post! So many people say it's impossible to read for fun at school, and I just don't agree. I (like basically everyone else who commented) always drop my current book in my bag on the way out the door. If I don't, I just feel regretful when I'm I know an opportunity to read will come up, and sure enough I'll miss it! Your advice to wake up early and stop doing homework at a certain time is great! I need to exercise more self-discipline. :)

  21. Hey everyone! It's great to hear that us bookworms all have similar patterns :) I had never thought of having two books (one to read at home and one to read at school/work/internships) maybe I'll try that out.
    Glad we've all found ways to keep our hobby alive. As someone said in an earlier comment "bookworm solidarity!"

  22. Great post! Yes, I always have a book with me as well. And I usually manage to read 2 or 3 hours every evening, up to about 11.
    Another thing that works for me: audiobooks. I download them from my public library website to my ipodtouch, and I plug it in each time I do house chores,
    doing the dishes,
    preparing meals, though preparing fancy French recipes at the same time can be challenging, and sometimes I have to pause to be sure I don't get mixed up with the quantities LOL,
    preparing the wash,
    well you get the idea, the only obstacle is the vacuum cleaner, too loud.
    I'm also an artist, so each time I paint I listen to audiobooks.
    That's amazing how many books you can read/listen to this way.
    By the way, my art is here, it's all kinds of paintings on rocks!
    Emma @ Words And Peace

  23. For some reason I never even THOUGHT of bringing a book with me just in case I find some spare time. I'm almost done with my first semester of college and I have had many moments of pure zonage. I am certainly going to have a book with me at all times now because I bought a wonderful collection of books and I really want to read them. My textbooks get in my way and I feel like I can't simultaneously read a novel and a textbook at the same time, but a break is necessary. I haven't found a good time schedule for me yet, but I could probably do homework earlier (I just never want to because I get bored.) Your post was lovely! It was something I needed to read! Yay for blogs!


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