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The Twenty-five Hour Day

Often, when I ask people what they are reading, they start spouting excuses as to why they can’t find the time. How do you fit more reading into your day? Create an extra hour.

Our schedules can get very full. With work and/or school, keeping the house livable, chauffeuring kids or family around, grocery shopping, and dare I say the occasional social outing, it’s no wonder people never get any reading in.

But if reading is something you enjoy, then it is worth carving out the time. Reading strengthens your brain, enhances your empathy, alleviates depression, builds vocabulary, and – my favorite – aids sleep.

According to the Harvard Business Review, reading fiction can increase empathy, theory of mind, and critical thinking – skills which become valuable in the workplace. Where non-fiction text often boils issues down to a singular level and step the reader through from beginning to end, fiction takes the reader on a problem-solving journey and allows them to collect the data and clues that will eventually lead to the conclusion.

Now that you feel better about taking some time to read for pleasure, let me also assure you that you don’t need a lot of time. Find a book that sparks your interest which has thirty chapters. Go to bed a half hour early each night to read a chapter. By the end of the month, you will have read the entire book.

Do you exercise? Grocery shop? Prepare dinner? Cook? Drive? Pop in your earbuds or turn on the stereo and listen to an audiobook. If you’ve never listened to a book before, it can take a little getting used to. Choose a book with a good narrator to break you in gently. Jim Dale is stellar reading the Harry Potter books. And I fell in crush with Steve West as he voiced the very well-written Ember in the Ashes series. The number of books I was able to read per year increased substantially when I added audiobooks. Plus, I was less annoyed by chores – so bonus!

Finally, whether it’s an audiobook, a print book, or an ebook, consider burying your nose in it during the lunch break if you work full time. I know experts say you aren’t supposed to read and eat at the same time, but I find it so relaxing to completely disconnect from the stresses of work in the middle of the day. When I go back to work, my shoulders are no longer tense, I’m not grinding my teeth, or thinking of a million things at once. How can that be bad?

By putting only two or three of these suggestions into action, you can easily carve out an hour each day to read. You’ll feel like your day is longer because you’re accomplishing more, and you will be a happier, more well-adjusted person for it.

So tell me, now that you have a twenty-five hour day, what book will you read first?

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