Pretty much all of the most successful people in the world are voracious readers: Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffet, Elon Musk, Bill Gates…

And if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me.

Not to mention reading makes you more empathic, a better writer, and could even stave off dementia. Yep, I’ll take a book over an episode of Eastenders any day.

But, when you’re short on time, how do you find more time to read?

First of all, take some time and ask yourself how much time you spend on useless activities. You could easily sacrifice that daily episode of Eastenders for half an hour with a book. You’ll get more out of it and the books will be less likely to regurgitate storylines.

If you want to do something badly enough, you’ll find the time. Ereaders and mobile apps make it easier than ever find time to read wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. Let’s look at a few times and places where you can squeeze in a few extra pages. Because, while it may not feel worth it to read a few pages here or there, those pages add up fast.

Toilet trips

We’ve all got to do our business. Sometimes, we have to sit for a bit.

Most of us use this time to read random posts on our phones.

But what if you used that time to read instead?

If you read at one minute a page, and you’re on the loo for just ten minutes, that’s 10 pages.

Within a week, just from toilet trips, you’ll have read 100 pages.

Public transport

I hate public transport. Everyone cramped in together like sardines, suffocating on weed and fag fumes…


I make it more bearable by reading. A lot.

Most of us spend at least fifteen minutes on public transport travelling to our destinations.

If you read a page a minute, you could read a 300 page book in 20 days.

20 days is roughly a working month, so imagine how much more you could read if you adopted these other habits too…


Despite popular opinion, we Brits don’t love queues. We complain about them a lot.

What we do love is manners. And respecting that someone arrived somewhere before you — and therefore waiting behind them — is a sign of good manners.

However, it’s amazing how much time you can lose to queuing. My mum and I once spent AN HOUR queueing for a carvery. I could’ve cooked a roast dinner from scratch faster.


Instead of complaining, use queues as an excuse to read a few more pages.

Waiting for…something

Waiting for family to be ready to go out.

Waiting to meet your friend for coffee.

Waiting for a film to start at the cinema.

Waiting for the car to defrost on a cold winter’s morning.

Almost any time you spend waiting for someone or something can be spent reading.

There’s always more time in the day

Like I said at the start, if you want to do something badly enough, you’ll find the time.

If you find it way too easy to put down the book you’re reading at the moment, maybe it’s not the book for you. Perhaps you should focus on building your reading habit before committing to such a yawn-inducing read.

Happy reading!

Want to read more but don't think you have the time? Here's what you need to do.

This was originally posted on The Writing Cooperative as ‘How to Squeeze More Reading into Your Day‘.