Hi everyone, Guest Blogger Alex here today. I currently work full-time, live with my boyfriend and find that pretty much every one of my weekends is taken up at the moment (and I'm sure this will remain the case on the run-up to Christmas!), you can find my blog over at AJPeacey.com and you can follow me on Twitter as AJPeace, or Instagram as AJPeacey.
Every enthusiastic reader with a full on life can relate to dropping the ball on their reading. When I was a teen I took for granted the hours I would spend reading because all I had to work it around was college and a part-time job. I lived at home so housework, cooking for myself and so forth didn't eat into my precious time.
Now I work full time, have a home to look after, a boyfriend, friends and family to maintain relationships with and we're soon to be getting a new addition to the family (no, just a puppy) and my time is likely to be spread even thinner.
I absolutely love reading, but I'm like my own worst enemy when I'm stressed and I cut out the little things I enjoy out of my day in a misguided effort to save time, but this just inevitably results in heightened stress levels and a stronger feeling of discontent.
With studies showing that reading is good for us, I have compiled some sneaky ways to keep myself as a Bookworm, even when I least feel like it.
Below are little hints and tips I've accumulated over the years to keep my eye on the ball (book) and ensure that I at least read a little each week.
1) Set goals and targets: At the beginning of 2016 I set myself a reading challenge with Goodreads to read 50 books this year, unfortunately, that isn't going to happen, but the point is, in my efforts to meet this challenge, I've read much more than I would have done otherwise.
2) Choose mood-boosting books: If you're feeling a little glum due to the general pressure of life, or there's something not-so-good happening which is leading you to feel sad or apathetic towards reading, pick a book which makes you laugh or completely absorbs you in the story. I find in dark times funny books and fantasy novels work the best for me.
3) Schedule 30 minutes reading in each day: I do this each night before bed. I'm a terrible sleeper anyway so getting myself ready for bed each night and having a routine where I always read for 30 minutes (also works if you set yourself one chapter per night etc). I often find myself reading for longer when I get really into it, but if not, at least I've done my 30 minutes.
4) Utilise your free time: This year I went on a relaxing 'beach and pool' type holiday for a week, which was booked purely to recharge my batteries and escape from life. Whilst I was away I read six books.
I appreciate not everyone can afford luxuries such as holidays abroad, and I certainly haven't always been able to, but you can still apply this principle at home.
Everyone gets holiday time to take, so even if you have a 'staycation', make sure at least a couple of these days are left empty so that you can either sit in your garden or your bedroom and that you have a stack of books to dip into. Although I'd had time off doing 'nothing' my brain felt like it had been used and I felt relaxed yet accomplished.
5) Join a book club: If you have the time to join a real-life book club, then do so. If not, I recommend 'Goodreads' as you can review books you've recently read, get inspiration for new books to read based on what you've read before and set yourself challenges! Their app is great too.
So that's it really, 5 small yet simple and achievable tips to keep yourself focused on reading. It really is about building little habits consistently to keep you going, but the main benefit of the above tips is that you can use some or all of them (sometimes I don't get round to putting them all into effect myself!), and it really will push your reading forward.