Over the years, I’ve made it a practice to read regularly and on a variety of subjects. Reading not only gives information, but it gives inspiration too. A well-written book can challenge you to think, inspire you to use your life for God, and (particularly with books on history or biographies) give you gratitude for how God has used others.
Sometimes people ask how I am able to find time to read. It’s not that some people have more time than others, but that some people put a higher priority on reading than others.
If you believe reading more than you are should be a priority in your life or if you’d like to read more in the coming year, here are seven ways to help you find the time.
- Set aside time on your annual calendar. I can’t read as much as I would like on a daily basis. But I always know I’m going to read several books during my summer vacation. This means I usually will get up early before activities with the family, but it’s worth it. Additionally, Terrie and I read a marriage book together every January. And whenever I take time for extended study, I read extensively.
- Read devotionally. Read a chapter a day from a book that challenges or encourages you in your walk with God.
- Look for material you can use immediately. I read some for sermon preparation, and I’m always reading for illustrations. I have a filing system for illustrations I come across and am able to use them in sermons. Knowing I will actually use what I read encourages me to read more.
- Seize opportune moments. Read while you are waiting for an appointment, in the airport or traveling, etc. Ebooks are particularly useful for times like this.
- Read for relational growth and discussion. Read with your spouse, friend, or staff for discussion. Sometimes Terrie and I read together; sometimes we just read the same book and discuss together. Our staff leadership team regularly reads the same book and discusses specific sections at meetings.
- Watch less TV. Look for and cut back on non-essentials that eat your time.
- Ask for book recommendations. I usually feel more motivated to read a book that a trusted friend recommends than one I happened to see on a bookshelf. Ask others, “What book have you recently read that really helped you?” (You can find my list of recommendations here.)