Looking back now, I’m sure I spent entirely too much time working on the farm and playing baseball during my boyhood, and not enough time with the books. –Billy Graham
Reading is in decline in the United States. Despite the popularity of books like Harry Potter or the Twilight Trilogy, the number of non-book readers has tripled since 1978 to 23 percent. That’s right, one out of every four Americans didn’t read a single book last year.
And really, can you blame them? With all the choices on television and the Internet these days, why would you waste your precious time reading?
Pay no mind to the fact that those who earn a salary of $75,000 or more a year, also read more than those who earn less than them. I’m sure that’s purely coincidental.
The fact that billionaires, like Steve Jobs or Phil Knight, have huge personal libraries, I’m sure, had no bearing on their success.
Ignore the fact that readers are better thinkers, better communicators, have better people skills, and are less stressed than the rest of us.
Besides, who really has the time to sit down and read? Sure, Steve Jobs may have had all this free time on his hands between inventing the iPhone, but I have a family.
Where would I ever find the time? I’d like to offer you three suggestions, just in case you change your mind about reading.
- Wake Up Early – You don’t want to sacrifice time with your family to read, so read while they’re still asleep. Wake up an hour earlier than normal. Be selfish at 5 a.m. If you’re not a morning person, learn how to become one.
I know what you’re thinking, but I like my sleep. What means more to you, that extra hour of sleep or that promotion at work? That extra hour of sleep, or achieving your dreams?
Most of us would rather stay in bed and dream rather than wake up and work on accomplishing our dream. Just remember while you’re sleeping, someone else is hustling, and that someone is accomplishing what you can only dream of.
- Stay Up Late – For most people, it’s not realistic to read while the family is still awake. There are too many distractions. So, you’re going to need to stay up after they’re in bed.
If you’re used to watching television when the kids go to bed, this can be a dilemma. You’re going to have to make a choice. Is reading more important than the latest episode of CSI? Is reading more important than checking my Facebook?
For most people it isn’t. You can choose to be most people, or you can choose to better yourself and those around you.
- Make the Most of Your Downtime – If you’re not willing to sacrifice sleep, you’re going to have to make the most of your downtime. I spend 30 to 45 minutes waiting to pick my child up from school two to three days a week. I bring a book with me.
How much time do you spend mowing your yard each summer? Can you download a book on your iPhone and listen to it while mowing? How long is your commute? Can you listen to an audiobook each morning and afternoon on your way back and forth to work?
This may mean missing out on your favorite talk radio show. A small sacrifice to pay, but one many people aren’t willing to make.
Those who make reading a priority in their lives accomplish more with their life. It’s been proven over and over again. But in the game of life, most people will choose pleasure over progress. Don’t be most people.
What are you currently reading? How could you make time to read more?