One of the questions I’m encountering most with people logging their time for the 168 Hours project is “how can I find more time to read?”
It’s a good question, and one I’ve certainly been trying to improve on. The easiest answer is to turn off the TV. The average American watches 18-23 hours of TV per week (per the American Time Use Survey) though Nielsen claims an even higher 30 hours per week. But it definitely takes time to get in the habit of committing to turn off the TV at, say 9:30PM, and then reading for the next hour. The entire field of TV programming is designed to keep you watching into the next hour, or even if you’re watching TiVo’d programs, it’s very easy to just watch another one.
Aside from committing to turn off the TV, you also have to keep interesting books nearby, so you don’t just pick up a magazine or putter around the house when you have 15 free minutes. I’ve been trying to read on the stationary bike (though I know that this means I’m not getting my heart rate high enough!) You can read during mass transit commutes, or get books on CD or mp3 for car commutes. It also helps to have a book in your purse or briefcase so that if you get stuck in a post office line, it’s not a complete waste of time.
There are also a few websites that offer books in the public domain (DailyLit.com comes to mind) for office workers who have some downtime during the day.