I’m pretty sure all of us here in the blogging world have quite a bit more going on in our lives than just reading and blogging about books.
I’m no exception. With a more than full-time job, an almost 2-hour daily commute, and two young kiddos… finding time to read is a lot like piecing together a puzzle.
My weekdays begin at 5am and I don’t stop going until 8pm.
Here’s an example of a normal weekday for me:
5am: Wake up & get myself and the kids ready for work/school
6:30am: Commute to work/school
7:30am: Drop the kids off at before care & head to the office
5pm: Drive home
6pm: Make/eat/clean up dinner
7pm: Homework time for the kiddos
7:30pm: Bath time for the kiddos
9pm: Shower/Get ready for bed
9:30pm: Me time
Because there is zero free time during the week, all the chores and everything else that needs to be scheduled is done so on the weekends.
So… how do I fit in reading through all of this?
The short answer: audiobooks.
I do read ebooks and hard copies of books, but those take me significantly more time to read than audiobooks just because of my schedule.
Because these two formats/ways of reading are done at very different times, I’m going to break it down by format.
The Best Times to Listen to Audiobooks
In the car
Most of the time I don’t listen to my audiobooks while my kids are in the car, but luckily, my husband picks them up from school in the afternoons, which means my commute home is spent listening to my audiobooks!
At the gym
Some people like listening to workout music, but me? If I’m not working out with friends, I pop in my headphones and listen to an audiobook!
While doing certain tasks at work
I (obviously) can’t listen to an audiobook and concentrate while I’m writing, but a decent portion of my job involves graphic design and data mining. When I’m doing things like that – it’s the perfect time to pop in my headphones and listen to an audiobook.
On my lunch breaks
If I actually take a lunch break and don’t eat at my desk, instead of going to a restaurant and eating, I’ll either grab my packed lunch and park somewhere so that I can listen to my audiobook in my car while I eat or I order takeout and sit in the parking lot while I listen. I know, that’s kind of weird, but whatever!
Anytime I’m doing pretty much anything around the house that doesn’t require reading or listening to something, and if my kids are happily occupied, I have my headphones in and I’m listening to an audiobook. It makes the chores I don’t normally enjoy much more tolerable. (Here’s looking at you dishes!)
While I’m getting ready
I get up about a half hour earlier than my girls do and my husband usually leaves for work not to long after I wake up, so a lot of the time, when I’m sitting at my vanity, I play my audiobook as I’m doing my hair and makeup.
While I’m in the shower
I take my showers at night since I work out in the evenings. I bought a splash-proof bluetooth speaker that is absolutely fantastic and I stick it right on the edge of the tub while I take a shower and get ready for bed.
As I’m falling asleep
This is a tricky one because I’ve definitely fully fallen asleep and woke up hours later with the book still playing in my ears, but it doesn’t bother me. The next time I listen to the book, I just skip backward until I find the last part I remember.
While grocery shopping
If my oldest daughter doesn’t join me while I’m grocery shopping, I’m completely antisocial as I’m shopping because I pop in my headphones and listen to an audiobook. It’s always interesting when I get to a sex scene in the canned foods aisle.
The best times to read
Reading and actual ebook or physical book is a thousand times harder for me than listening to an audiobook because I can’t multitask as I do so. Honestly? There are only a handful of times that I can actually sit down and read a book (if I’m not sick an laid up in bed.)
Before I fall asleep at night
This is my only quiet time, so a lot of times I’ll slip on my headphones and listen to some music while I read (if I don’t just close my eyes and listen to an audiobook instead.)
During my lunch break
We have a beautiful lake just outside my office with a nice dock sometimes if the weather is nice, I’ll bring my lunch out there and read my book.
At restaurants when I’m by myself
I’m so that person who has her ebook in her purse at all times, so I have no problem going to a restaurant by myself and reading while I’m there!
In waiting rooms
Forget scrolling through my phone while I’m waiting on an appointment, I just pull out a book and read until I’m up!
While hanging out with friends
Ok, hear me out… My best friend on the planet is a total introvert and bookworm. Sometimes the two of us want to spend time together, but we don’t want to be social, so we’ll curl up on the couch together and read, sipping wine or tea, and talking occasionally. We’ve also discovered a cute little coffee shop where we meet up, curl up on the couch there and read together.
Any possible spare moment at home
On the extremely rare occasion that the girls and my husband are occupied or out of the house, all the chores are done, and the blog is up to date, I will sit in my glorious reading chair in my library, put on some music, and read.
Yeah, so, my husband and I are at that point in our marriage where we no longer pretend to enjoy the same movies. We have very different tastes and sometimes we want to spend time together and have a movie night after the girls are in bed on a weekend, but we can’t agree on a flick. I am totally fine with letting him pick the movie as long as he’s fine with me reading while he’s watching it as I curl up next to him and eat popcorn and peanut m&ms.
My daughter and I have homework time in my reading area in my library. After I’ve helped her out and she’s working quietly, I sit next to her and read a few pages of my book while she’s working.
Family reading time
This is extremely rare because my girls are so young (3yo & 5yo), but sometimes I can get them to grab a stack of their own books while I’m in my reading chair and they curl up next to me with their own books.
We made the brilliant purchase of a water slide for the girls last year for their birthday and it keeps them occupied for a decent amount of time. I love going outside with them and setting up my lounge chair next to the slide with a good book and soaking up the sun.
Prioritizing my free time
One thing I want to mention is that I very, very rarely watch TV or movies at home. If I have free time, I’m reading or blogging.
We don’t have cable, just an Apple TV and a Roku TV with Netflix, Prime, and YouTube, but I so rarely watch anything. I’m much more of a going-to-the-movies type of person than the person who can sit on the couch watching TV or a movie.
I just feel so unproductive when I’m sitting in front of the TV, I get antsy after about 3 minutes.
For some reason, though, I can easily sit on my reading chair with a book all day and feel perfectly fine with it.