Monday, November 24, 2014

Finding Time to Read


About a month ago I was thinking about how people often ask how I manage to get through so many books in a week, month, or year. I thought I would start keeping track of my reading time each day as a way to illustrate how I fit reading into each day. I had a pretty consistent schedule -- I would run Monday, Wednesday, and Friday while listening to audiobooks, read a little bit of a hard copy book in the evenings after dinner, and then read for about half an hour on my Kindle before bed.

Well, the week I started tracking my reading, I injured myself running on Monday -- pulled a muscle in my chest -- and had to miss work on Tuesday, so I just lay around and read most of the day, plus I couldn't run again until Friday. I decided that week was pretty atypical, so I stopped tracking and started up again the next week (the week of November 9th).

That week, we had an unusually busy week, having friends over for dinner one night, attending a fundraiser another night, attending a play another night, attending a party on Friday, and hosting our own party on Saturday. Additionally, we had a massive wind storm followed by freezing rain and ice, so my running partner and I took a break and decided to run again on Saturday, except she accidentally slept through her alarm that day. Once again, this was a pretty unusual week, so I decided to keep tracking for another week.

Then I came down with a horrible cold that caused me to miss work for most of the week and also prevented me from running for the first half of the week.

I decided that the elusive "typical week" probably wasn't going to happen, and that it was just as well that I show how reading fits into an unexpected, ever-changing schedule. Obviously I read a lot more than usual on the days I was home sick from work, but I also slept a lot and missed out on a lot of audiobook time due to my limited running schedule and not doing much housework.

I would be interested to redo this again in a few years after we have a child, when presumably I will not have hours to myself in the evenings to lay around and read. I recognize that that's not something that everyone has the luxury of doing, but at this point in my life it's the way I spend much of my free time. (Also why I will stare blankly if you try to involve me in a conversation about recent TV shows that are not Doctor Who.)

Without further ado, here are two solid weeks of my reading time:

Sunday, November 9:
12:18pm: Listened to Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee part of Chapter 11 while putting away laundry and making lunch (18 minutes)
4:23pm: Took a walk and finished listening to Chapter 11 of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (38 minutes)
8:17pm: Read two chapters of Cordelia's Honor (42 minutes)
9:20pm: Listened to beginning of Chapter 12 of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee while getting ready for bed (7 minutes)
9:34pm: Read 9% of And the Mountains Echoed before bed (35 minutes)
Total reading time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Monday, November 10:
6:52am: Listened to half of Chapter 12 of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee while going for a run (36 minutes)
7:53am: Listened to more of Chapter 12 of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee while unloading the dishwasher (15 minutes)
10:41pm: Read 4% of And the Mountains Echoed (20 minutes)
Total reading time: 1 hour, 11 minutes

Tuesday, November 11:
8:45pm: Read one chapter of Cordelia's Honor (23 minutes)
9:29pm: Read 9% of And the Mountains Echoed (39 minutes)
Total reading time: 1 hour, 2 minutes

Wednesday, November 12:
8:03pm: Read three chapters of Cordelia's Honor (68 minutes)
9:44pm: Read 5% of And the Mountains Echoed (29 minutes)
Total reading time: 1 hour, 37 minutes

Thursday, November 13:
4:55pm: Read two chapters of Cordelia's Honor (30 minutes)
10:12pm: Read 10% of And the Mountains Echoed (36 minutes)
Total reading time: 1 hour, 6 minutes

Friday, November 14:
9:57pm: Read two chapters of Cordelia's Honor (48 minutes)
11:15pm: Read 8% of And the Mountains Echoed (27 minutes)
Total reading time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Saturday, November 15:
12:34pm: Listened to the rest of Chapter 12 of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee while playing Jetpack Joyride and snacking (35 minutes)
2:22pm: Read 35% of And the Mountains Echoed (140 minutes)
5:01pm: Listened to Chapters 13 & 14 of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee while making dip for the party (67 minutes)
11:08pm: Listened to the beginning of Chapter 15 of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee while getting ready for bed (11 minutes)
11:35pm: Read 8% of And the Mountains Echoed (28 minutes)
Total reading time: 4 hours, 41 minutes

Sunday, November 16:
4:12pm: Read the last 7% of And the Mountains Echoed (27 minutes)
5:13pm: Listened to Chapters 15 & 16 of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee while playing Jetpack Joyride (62 minutes)
7:03pm: Read three chapters of Cordelia's Honor (72 minutes)
8:52pm: Read 9% of What Alice Forgot (31 minutes)
Total reading time: 3 hours, 12 minutes

Monday, November 17:
11:43am: Read three chapters of Cordelia's Honor (53 minutes)
1:11pm: Finished Cordelia's Honor (77 minutes)
4:16pm: Listened to Chapter 17 and part of Chapter 18 of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (53 minutes)
5:55pm: Finished listening to Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (51 minutes)
7:18pm: Read intro and first two chapters of The Inconvenient Indian (61 minutes)
Total reading time: 4 hours, 55 minutes

Tuesday, November 18:
3:38pm: Read three chapters of The Inconvenient Indian (72 minutes)
5:08pm: Read part of another chapter of The Inconvenient Indian (17 minutes)
7:17pm: Read a chapter and a half of The Inconvenient Indian (45 minutes)
8:33pm: Listened to two chapters of The Last Summer of the Death Warriors while getting ready for bed (23 minutes)
9:11pm: Read a chapter of The Inconvenient Indian (20 minutes)
9:38pm: Read 6% of What Alice Forgot (21 minutes)
Total reading time: 3 hours, 18 minutes

Wednesday, November 19:
2:25pm: Finished last two chapters of The Inconvenient Indian (52 minutes)
7:19pm: Read 19% of What Alice Forgot (66 minutes)
Total reading time: 1 hour, 58 minutes

Thursday, November 20:
3:06pm: Read 2% of What Alice Forgot on the Kindle app on my phone while waiting for the doctor (4 minutes)
3:30pm: Read 7% of What Alice Forgot while waiting for my strep test results (25 minutes)
5:16pm: Read 7% of What Alice Forgot (27 minutes)
8:04pm: Read six chapters of The Fire Horse Girl (34 minutes)
9:50pm: Read 7% of What Alice Forgot (20 minutes)
Total reading time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Friday, November 21:
6:52am: Listened to four chapters of The Last Summer of the Death Warriors while going for a run (52 minutes)
3:38pm: Read 6% of What Alice Forgot on Kindle desktop app after finishing all my tasks at work (19 minutes)
4:10pm: Read 4% of What Alice Forgot on Kindle desktop app (15 minutes)
6:23pm: Read 4% of What Alice Forgot on the Kindle app on my phone while Mike was getting a haircut (15 minutes)
10:22pm: Finished What Alice Forgot (89 minutes)
Total reading time: 3 hours, 10 minutes

Saturday, November 22:
11:10am: Read 10% of Walking the Bridgeless Canyon (46 minutes)
1:23pm: Read one chapter of The Fire Horse Girl while eating (6 minutes)
1:55pm: Listened to five chapters of The Last Summer of the Death Warriors while taking a walk (51 minutes)
8:03pm: Read seven chapters of The Fire Horse Girl (58 minutes)
11:40pm: Listened to two chapters of The Last Summer of the Death Warriors while getting ready for bed (23 minutes)
Total reading time: 3 hours, 4 minutes

Some final observations: I spend more time reading every day than I realized. Even on the days when we had stuff going on in the evenings, I still fit in at least an hour of reading before bed, and even on that busy week I read for more than 10 hours. It's not unusual for me to read for a solid hour in the evening (again: things I expect to change with kids), but I also do a pretty good job of getting in 15 minutes here and there while unloading the dishwasher or waiting somewhere. If I didn't have so many podcast subscriptions, my audiobook listening would go way up, since I spend a lot of housework time and my Tuesday-Thursday morning walks listening to podcasts.

When and how do you fit reading into your day? If you recorded it, would you spend more or less time than you think reading each day?

If you're looking for my reviews of the books I finished in the past two weeks, you can always find them on my Goodreads page!

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