Today I am handing This Northern Gal over to the lovely Jo, who has a fab post for you all today. If you’re at uni (or just very busy) and are looking for ways to boost your reading time, I think you’ll love it too.
Hi all! My name is Jo, I’ve been blogging over at BookLoversBlog for the past four years, three of which have been whilst I have been studying for a Bachelor’s degree in History and Journalism. Kelly invited me to do a guest post on her blog, and whilst thinking about what I wanted to talk about, I thought back to a post I did on my own blog last year, giving tips to student book bloggers on how to stay on top of their blogging whilst at University.
A big thing that I get asked a lot, when I tell people that I am a student book blogger, is how do I make time for reading whilst I’m at University. Well it’s not easy (especially when you do a reading based degree like mine and it’s expected that any reading you are doing is work related) and I’m not able to read hundreds of books a year like some book bloggers are (props to you guys, I wish I could read that much!) but over the past three years, I have picked up certain methods that help me to maximise my reading whilst staying on top of my university work and I’m going to share those with you guys today, in the hopes that any students reading this, find these tips helpful:
Pick your reads carefully in relation to your workload
I cannot stress this one enough, because it is so important! You may want to gobble up all of those hefty tomes that you love, but the sad truth of the matter is, there will come a time at Uni when you are snowed under with work and you simply won’t have the time to read a 700 page book in a day, or even a week. So what I have found has helped for me, is matching the length of my book to my current workload.
For instance, at the beginning of the semester, I might go for a 400 or even closer to 500 page book, because my workload is lighter and I can spend more time reading, but during exam times, or when I have a heavy workload, I will stick to something in the 200-400 page range, because I don’t have the time to devote to anything longer. This means that I can keep up with my reading throughout the academic year, without feeling like I am getting bogged down with the same book for weeks and weeks because I don’t have the time to devote to it.
Travel is your best friend
For me, I get an awful lot of my reading done on public transport. It’s an easy way to squeeze in some extra reading time. For quite a lot of people, you don’t go to Uni in the same place you live, so that journey back home for Christmas, Easter, reading weeks, summer is a great way to get some extra reading done, I’ve finished so many books in the five hour train journey from Stirling to Peterborough over the years! Even if you’re just going from one city to another on a day trip, or getting the bus into town or are on a road trip and not driving, maximise your travel time because it is the only time you are guaranteed at least an hour or more of time when you don’t have anything else to do!
Maximise your summer
One of the major benefits of university is the long summer holidays. It’s the last time you will ever get them before having to enter the world of work, so make the most of it! You will likely have a lot more time to read over the summer, so this is the time when you can kick back, relax and take on those longer reads that you may have had to put to the side during the academic year.
Set aside a little time each day to read
Even if it’s just half an hour a day, setting aside a little time each day to read whilst you’re at Uni, can make a dent in your TBR, and is great for your mental health because Uni can be very stressful, so just having an hour or even just half an hour to read each day will give you a break from your Uni work and allow you to unwind.
Adjust your Goodreads goal according to your time pressures
This is something I got severely wrong my first year of Uni, so learn from my mistakes! I thought yeah, I’ll be able to manage 30 books this year, even though I have A Levels and am starting Uni and have a job….. you can all probably guess how well that went. I know not all readers have Goodreads, but for those of you who do, don’t be afraid to adjust your Goodreads goal up or down depending on how busy you are at Uni. You will be stressed enough with your Uni work, adding another stress with a high Goodreads goal is not worth it.
Make the most of your free time
As tempting as it can be to spend all of your free time bingeing on Netflix, it’s not always the most productive way to spend your free time, you need to find a good balance between working, Netflix bingeing, socialising and reading. So when you have free time when you aren’t needing to work or socialise, don’t just immediately reach for the laptop to watch Netflix, you could fit in a little reading time!
Branch out with e-books and audiobooks
I have always been more of a fan of physical books, but even I have to admit, I’m starting to see the benefits of e-books! E-books and audiobooks can be really helpful to you as a student, because they are a lot easier to read whilst multitasking-you can listen to an audiobook on the way to class, or whilst at the gym, or even whilst doing work. You can read an e-book whilst watching Netflix (I do this quite often with my e-ARCs from Netgalley) if it’s something you’re familiar with and don’t necessarily need to pay your full attention to.
Always have a book on you
I carry a book with me pretty much everywhere, even if I don’t think I’ll actually have time to read it. That way, if you find that your lecturer or seminar tutor is late, you’re left waiting for an appointment, you’re waiting for a friend etc, you will have your book on you and you can just whip it out and squeeze in a few extra minutes of reading time.
These are just a few of the ways you can maximise your reading time whilst studying, and the ways that have worked best for me, but as with all things, making time to read at Uni is about finding out what works best for you, there can be a lot of trial and error involved at the start, but once you settle in and find a balance (and that is key, finding a balance), it is perfectly workable to be able to read for pleasure alongside getting good grades in Uni and enjoying all of the social aspects of it.
Thanks for such a wonderful post Jo! If you would like to read more of her work, you can find her blog here.