The other day, I asked on Instagram what kind of blog posts people wanted to read on here and most answered that they wanted to know how I managed to read 20 books in March while still going to university, to work and being active on my bookstagram account. I do not know if I have any secrets for this, if what I will say will help anyone, but I’ll try my best to describe a typical month in my life so you can have an idea of how I organise myself before giving you some personal tips.
❥ A DAY IN MY LIFE
Reading is easier for me when I have a work day. The good thing about my job is that it is an hour away from my house, so I can read in the metro while going there. It’s usually where I read the most: since I always had to take either the train or the metro to go to school or else, I “forced” myself to be able to read at least 100 pages in an hour. That way, I know that I can at least read 200 pages per day, simply by reading in the train/metro.
I can also read during my lunch break when I’m at work, but that doesn’t happen a lot. I always try to eat with my co-workers, my friends, but sometimes I also have homework to do (I seem to have more motivation to work when I’m in my office than when I’m at home) or I want to relax, which ends up in me locking myself up in my office with my lunch while watching Netflix on my computer. If I ever do read during my lunch time, I also try to read at least 100 pages. As you can see, it’s what I always try to do: read at least 100 pages before considering putting the book down.
I can also take some breaks at work to read a bit, which allows me to read another 100 pages at the end of the day. What also helps me is switching formats and always having a book with me: sometimes when I get bored to read on the physical book I switch to the ebook, and having ebooks in my phone allows me to never run out of books. This way, whenever I have a down time, like waiting for a friend or for an appointment (like when I have to wait two hours at the hospital before being able to see my doctor), I can use the extra time to read some more.
It is important to note that I never force myself: I read because I want to, and if I don’t I obviously do something else.
When I have to go to university, it is a bit harder to read. Changing of university impacted a lot on my reading life because it is closer to my house so I have less time to read in the metro, which sometimes ends up in me not reading for two days (and sometimes even the weekend after that). I can read when I’m in class, I admit it, but I try not to do so too often. When I then go home, it can be either super early or late, and I have to say that I usually have no motivation to pick up a book. I usually grab something to eat and end up in my bed, watching Netflix or booktube videos.
When it comes to the weekend, I usually don’t read a lot either. The truth is that I’m always busy and when I am not, I somehow am not used to read at home anymore. As I said, I am reading a lot in the metro so I sometimes have to force myself to read when I’m at home. It is also why I do not read a lot before going to bed, though I try my best to add this to my night routine. But as I said, I never force myself. So if I don’t want to read at night or during four days straight, then it is okay. I still read a lot during the days I can and want to read.
❥ A WEEK IN MY LIFE
Let’s dive into the bigger picture, now that you know how I usually read every day. Here is how my week is always built:
- Every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I go to work from 9:30 to 18:00,
- Every Thursday and Friday I go to university (our schedule changes every week but our classes usually start around 9:00 and end around 18:00),
- Every weekend is planned weeks before, so I can either stay at home (happens barely), take pictures for Instagram (every two weeks), party with my friends (whenever we have money) or just go out to a museum, to the movies etc.
I try to do the most I can at work during my lunch breaks as I already said to be able to have time at home to do something else than studying (mostly watching tv shows and booktube videos, I admit it). It also allows me to have more time for myself – as you can see, I have very little.
❥ A MONTH IN MY LIFE
If you take the even bigger picture, you can see that every second of my life is planned. I have two planners (I tried bullet journaling but don’t like it), one at home and one with me. On the one I have with me, everything is listed for the week (events, blog posts, homework, parties, appointments etc) next to a to-do list (everything that I have to do for the week, such as homework, posts to write, pictures to take, unboxings, job stuff and more). Thanks to it, I can make sure I’ll remember everything and will do everything that I am supposed to do without lacking out of time.
I also tend to know what every week of the month will be dedicated to: some week I’ll read more, others I’ll have to spend some extra time studying. The thing is that I can either read one book a week or five ones a week; I try not to overstress myself on this because I know that I have a whole month in front of me to get back at it whenever I don’t have the time to read.
What matters the most to me is to never lost track of what is important. To not completely freak out thanks to my anxiety I always take one week at a time: having a goal and a deadline really helps me, as well as keeping everything small and in control. Maybe one week I’ll decide to read one book per day, because that’s what seems important at that moment, and I won’t think too much of the next week. Maybe the next one indeed will have to be dedicated to school work, and it’ll be okay because I know that I only have to study hard for seven days before moving to something else.
❥ MY TIPS
I don’t know if what I am currently writing is making any sense, but that’s basically what I do to keep my mental health issues far away and to be productive. It is also important to say that I dislike doing nothing and that being busy always helps my anxiety: as long as I am doing something, then I am okay. It doesn’t mean that I don’t procrastinate, because I do, but I am always busy and working on something. Also, everything looks great on paper but it can be hard to focus on what I was supposed to do when I have bad days or else. Remember that you are human and that everything won’t go as planned sometimes.
Now, let’s move on to the tips I could give you to make more time for your reading life while still having a social one, good grades and a job:
Of course, all of this is very personal and may not help you. Everyone is different and some people don’t have to stay that organised to be able to do everything they want to do. However, that’s what works for me and since people wanted to know how I do it, this is what I wrote about.
How do you balance your reading life and your others? Do you have some extra tips?
Ps: Tons of people have been asking me lately how I read so fast and if I have any tips, and the answer is that I don’t. I have tips on how to read more (i.e. this blog post) but there’s no secrets on how to read faster, except reading everyday and seeing your rhythm evolved with it. I can’t tell you to skip one chapter on two, or even to skip the narration parts. Just embrace your own rhythm, be proud of what you can do, read because you want to and not because you have to beat this Goodreads challenge. It’s okay to be a slow reader. We are all readers.