The secret to finding time to read

Yes, you have time to read
Image courtesy of Flickr user ckaroli

After making time to exercise, making time to read is pretty high on the list of people's time-management goals. Reading for pleasure sounds decadent and wonderful -- something we'd love to do, if only we had the time!

As with all time-management challenges, though, a perceived lack of time to read is not really the problem. After all, you're reading this right now -- and I'm guessing that keeping up with CBS MoneyWatch is not absolutely required for your job.

We do read for pleasure, we just don't do so in a way that's as obvious as attacking "Anna Karenina" might be. Instead, we tell ourselves we're "working" when we're fussing around online. Electronic temptations are always there to pull us away from the more focused mental effort necessary to pick up a book. At home, it's more likely to be the TV luring us away, but the outcome is the same.

We have the time to read. We just choose not to use that time the way we hoped our better selves would do.

But there is one eye-opening technique to figure out where your potential reading time might lurk. Pick up an absolute page turner -- a Harry Potter book, say, or something like "The Da Vinci Code." Start reading it, and then keep track of when you're doing so. You'll find that you tend to re-purpose time from other things in order to find out what happens next. You sneak in 30 minutes of reading when other people are at lunch. You read on the bus instead of scrolling through your email. You read while waiting for things to heat up in the microwave, and you read at night instead of turning on the TV or your laptop. You read in bed, or even figure out a way to shower quicker so that you can read more in the morning.

After your page-turner is finished, you'll probably go back to your normal routine. But if you've noted when you read when you wanted to find out what happened next, you might try using one of those times on a more regular basis for various other reading adventures. Would anyone really notice if you picked up a book right now?