If I had to take an unofficial survey of New Year’s Resolutions, the goal to “read more” and “exercise/get in shape/some variant on this idea” would certainly be in the top two. Who wouldn’t want to work our their body and their brain?

Finding time to read can seem impossible (I should know; as a teacher with 4 classes to prep for, a play to direct, a blog and editing business to run, a book club to manage, and [some semblance] of a life to live, reading time is precious. Really, though, what is this magic “free time” you speak of?) The sad reality of our busy lives is that reading often takes a backseat. If I don’t explicitly schedule time to read, it will never happen.

Time to read doesn’t have to mean sitting down every Saturday to a 4-hour block reading marathon (though, I did just that for National Readathon Day last week, and it was truly glorious!). There’s no Rule From the All-Powerful Universe that says you have to devour whole novels at a time. You’d be surprised at how quickly a page here or a chapter there adds up!

So how exactly can you squeeze reading into your already tightly-packed day?

Make it a habit // Sometimes all it takes is creating a routine. Whether you decide to spend Sunday mornings curled up with a cup of coffee and 30 minutes of a good book, or opt to read one chapter each night before bed, making a habit of reading will easily make it an integral part of your day. It doesn’t matter when you read, just make sure that it works for you.

Seize the (little) moments // I can pop a bag of popcorn in 2-3 minutes. You know what else I can do in 2-3 minutes? Read a few pages of a book! I bet if you spent one day taking inventory of your time, you could find plenty of little unused pockets. Waiting for 30 pages to print out at the copy machine? Read. Waiting for your pork chops to broil? Read. Waiting for the barista to ready your latte? Read!

Always carry a book // Once upon a time, I won a party game at a bridal shower for having the most crap in my purse. True story. One of the winning items? A book. I’ve always tended to carry a purse that’s on the larger side so that I can stash a book in case of spare time. With the advent of e-readers and ease of storing your books in the Cloud, you can literally read anywhere. Keep a book on you (or at your office, in your car, wherever!) so that you’re never caught unawares.

Show up early // You know what’s great about carrying a book around with you all the time? If you show up to an appointment early, you’ve got automatic quality reading time! Most doctors’ offices have you waiting a good while regardless, but try showing up to your next hair appointment, or car inspection, or movie showing a few minutes early. If they can take you early; great. If not, pull out that book of yours! It’s a win-win situation.

What are your tips for squeezing reading time into your day?