10 Surprisingly Simple Time Hacks For Reading More Every Day

Saikat Basu 21-02-2014

It will take you exactly 7 minutes to go through this.


If you are on this page, you have that time to do some reading. If you are going to skip and skim through, you don’t. But it’s still better than not reading at all.

Welcome to the age of toting an overload of information while running uphill against the clock. It does feel like that every day – there is just too much to read, and so little time. Even children are struggling with it; they have distractions of their own, while we adults have ours to bear. There is just one obvious antidote against all excuses – you have to make time to read. The gold-plated question is how.

Go on a web search and “reading a bit more every day” is a common gripe. Here are some solutions (call them, simple time hacks) to grip the problem. They are just as applicable to the latest John Grisham thriller you bought in hardcover and to the many feeds in your RSS reader waiting for the click on the “Read” button.

Take A News Break

Take A News Break

“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.” — Groucho Marx

A radical thought. But it can work not only because news is careening towards sensationalism, but also enslaving us in what’s trivial around the world. Some news matters, not all. Switch on a channel or flip a newspaper and watch as optimism ebbs away.


A better way would be to spend the time on news that matters. Reading that enlightens and broadens the mind. Set up your RSS reader with feeds from sources that make your day better. Use an app like Flipboard to go visual with it. Reading some Flipboard Picks with the dawn usually sets me up for a brighter day. If you have to go through the news, Android and iOS apps like Circa could help you catch up with bite-sized chunks.

Have Small Portions

Time for Reading

Bookmarks were perhaps invented for this reason. A large chunk of time for barreling through a book or a longform article Too Long But Do Read: 6 Places To Go To For Some Of The Best Reading On The Web TLDR is now an accepted part of Internet slang. Too Long Didn't Read is symptomatic of our attention spans…or rather lack of it. But there's a subtle shift that's happening beneath the layers of the... Read More could be a tall order. Reading a book or an article in small portions should help you conquer online and offline Ayn Rands (her Atlas Shrugged is a 1,088 turner). Amazon Kindle makes it easier as it syncs your page position across all installed platforms, helping you start where you left off on another device. My friend Erez also recommends a service like Delivereads to get your daily dose of longform reading on the Kindle How to Read Great Long-Form Articles on Your Kindle With Delivereads I love my Kindle. Being able to read an endless variety of books on one slim device with a paper-like display makes me feel like I’m actually living in the future. But sometimes, a book... Read More .

Optimize Your Browser

Optimize Your Browser


Browsers don’t make for cozy reading. But a few browser extensions make it more restful for the eyes. Consider these six Chrome extensions for productive reading Make Your Web Reading More Productive With The Help Of 6 Chrome Extensions Reading on the web at the best of times is an ocular challenge. Those who love reading and a warm blanket, tend to hate reading on a web browser. Designing a better reading experience for... Read More I had taken a look at. They can at least help you decide what to read and which to skip. Similar add-ons are available for Firefox.

Reading Comes In All Shapes…And Sounds

Reading and Audio

Thanks to technology, we can move away from traditional books and enjoy books and articles in different formats. You aren’t bound to a hardcover or a paperback anymore. There were audiobooks earlier in the age of CDs. There are audiobooks now within reach of a click. Many services give you free audiobooks The 10 Best Websites for Free Audio Books Want to listen to audiobooks without paying a premium? Here are the first websites you should check out. Read More as well. An Android and iOS app like Umano comes well-recommended for listening to topnotch article picks in a human voice. Keep your mind free. Audio frees up your hands to multitask while doing some other menial task.

Estimate Reading Times

Estimate reading times


Estimate the time it would take to finish an article or a book. Read it then or block time to read it later. Articles can be easily bookmarked with read-it-later services. Experienced readers can make a judgement with an eye scan. I think it’s better than relying on the “Time to Read ” estimates on Kindle and on some websites like Medium and Longreads. They are good touches but sometimes they are way-off because comprehension and reading speed differs for every one.

Don’t Forget Your Read It Later List

Read it later

That’s a peek into an average users read-it-later list. Confession…it’s mine. Bookmarking services like Pocket have made it easier to manage reading with their cross-platform support. You can read on the browser or on any mobile device. You can read while commuting or while waiting for a dentist’s appointment. But get back to it and read. Turn it into a sacrosanct reading list with careful picks and not random links. Don’t let the ill fate of fire-and-forget link bookmarking befall your precious reading list.

Setting up reminders to read them on certain days is a good habit to start. It could be the weekends or the first thing after lunch when you are on a work downtime. The easiest way is to use an IFTTT recipe to connect Pocket to iOS reminders. Browse IFTTT for your read-it-later service channel or create your own IFTTT recipe for the job.


Speedread To Do More With Less


This is not an “easy hack”, but it is doable. Speedreading is one skill that helps to hack your reading list in the limited time at hand. It takes practice to read fast but the saved minutes devouring online articles could be used to enjoy a great book at a more laid back pace. Speedread through our own articles on the subject with a search on MakeUseOf. You can start with Bakari’s review on ReadQuick for iOS How To Use ReadQuick To Speed Read Through Your Read Later Articles [iOS] If you're like me, you probably pile up a long list of articles in your Instapaper or Pocket accounts that you intend to read later. But keeping up with the books I want to read,... Read More , an app which also helps to tackle your read-it-later list. There are Android apps and websites as well that teach you how to speedread.

Take A Reading Challenge

Reading challenge

Just like a bucket list for your life goals, a reading challenge could help keep you on the straight and narrow. You can set up  a reading challenge on your own, or use a website like GoodReads or Shelfari to set up a personal challenge or read against someone in your reading circle. Here’s a shortcut to find some reading challenges for this year – Pinterest.

Participating on a social site like GoodReads also means that you are not reading “alone”. As Joel said, reading can be a social experience Can Reading Be A Social Experience? Reading has a reputation for being an isolated activity. We often think of people in their pajamas or bathrobe, sunk into a massive armchair in front of a roaring fire, with a mug of hot... Read More .

Read Reviews Before You Turn A Page

Book recommendations

They say never trust a critic. Or a reviewer. But an overwhelming opinion against a book could help prevent it from sucking away time. Social recommendations from GoodReads and LibraryThing not only save money on a bad buy but they also save you from a bad book.

I wish I had listened to my own advice before I started with Dan Brown’s Inferno.

Add Value To Time

Value of time

Okay, here’s a church confession – I read in the loo. Many people do. For that matter, I also eat at the dining table. At the end of the month (or at the end of a lifetime), those few minutes or so add up. For voracious readers, it’s not only an escape but also a way to grab time and read. After all, there’s too much to read and too little time!

You can use Wolfram Alpha to find out how many hours it will take to finish a book. Enter the number of pages and it gives you a conservative estimate.

Bonus “Tip”: Read because you love to. Not because you have to.

No time hack can solve a reading problem. These few might help you to read more. It’s also wise to remember the words of Mortimer J. Adler — the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.

Are you a voracious reader? It’s a busy world. How do you manage your time and fill the minutes with some reading? Here we are hoping for some read-worthy tips.

Image Credit: Stop Your TV, Small portion of food, Funny child girl (all Shutterstock); Instant Vantage (via Flickr)

Related topics: Reading, Time Management.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Kwame Henderson
    March 10, 2014 at 4:36 pm
  2. Saikat B
    February 25, 2014 at 5:46 am

    Didn't know about Gist. Thanks for that.

  3. Stayseekate
    February 25, 2014 at 4:03 am

    I recommend these apps:
    I use Paper app of FB and then go to Tech news and save all the articles that I want to read later on Pocket then sync all my saved articles on The gist app from the name itself makes a gist of blogs/articles an app that summarizes long articles. It saves me time and I don't need to do fast reading/ skip paragraphs of long articles. I usually read makeuseof articles there but when there's a MUO giveaway there's an option on the app to go see the full article/website. I use Goodreads to organize my to-read list of books and Read list and to find new books and read reviews before I purchase a book. I use feedly app too.

  4. Anna Watkins
    February 25, 2014 at 4:02 am

    ALWAYS have something to read with you (I call it my 'emergency entertainment kit'). If you're stuck in a traffic jam, in a long line, waiting for your kid at the dentist -- READ instead of checking your phone or playing Angry Birds, or getting stuck with People mag instead of something you'd rather read.

    • Saikat B
      February 25, 2014 at 5:10 am

      Yes. Thanks to mobile devices, you can carry all your reading around with you. I know it has saved me from umpteen hours of boredom.

  5. JMF
    February 25, 2014 at 2:45 am

    Please fix typo in second paragraph: "their" should be "there."

    Perhaps more reading is necessary??

    • Saikat B
      February 25, 2014 at 5:47 am

      Fixed and thanks! Can say that you ARE reading the posts.

  6. Ashley
    February 24, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    I read while I brush my teeth. My dentist always tells me "whatever you are doing, keep doing it." Okay, then!

    • Saikat B
      February 25, 2014 at 5:11 am

      Good dentist. Mine told me the exact opposite thing -- never read while brushing.

  7. Deborah H
    February 22, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    I used to read a book about every 2 weeks. Then life got extremely busy and my down time was dropping into my chair at night to watch tv. My sons gave me a Paperwhite for my birthday last year and I have downloaded many books, but out of 2 I've begun, none are finished. Reading your article gave me new insights and will definitely make a difference in how much I read.

    • Saikat B
      February 23, 2014 at 1:11 am

      There's always an urge to download more books than one can handle. Download a few and it kind of gets away from you. That too is one of my "problems" :) It's better to finish one and then buy/download another I think.

  8. Prateek J
    February 22, 2014 at 9:38 am

    nice tips for a voracious reader like me. Happy reading.

  9. Saikat B
    February 22, 2014 at 7:13 am

    Thanks. It's always nice when you guys take time to drop a note of appreciation. More, if our articles actually help you with some small life change that leads to big benefits :)

  10. Pat
    February 22, 2014 at 4:59 am

    I enjoyed your article it was very informative I used to Love reading when I was younger,so this helps a lot because i so want to renew my Love for reading.THANK YOU:)

  11. Srivastav R
    February 22, 2014 at 4:10 am

    Such a nice post "always" deserves a share...
    keep on writing such interesting articles.. :)

  12. Eric J
    February 22, 2014 at 12:21 am

    nice article. a reading challenge in goodreads, im 2 books down out of 5.

    • Saikat B
      February 22, 2014 at 2:15 am

      I am trying to keep it simple. A book a month. Low I know, but with the amount of reading I do online, aiming low is okay. So far so good.

  13. Justin P
    February 21, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    Good advice, but I will not read Ayn Rand ever again. Religion is bad, money is good, have some hate sex. Bleh.

    • Saikat B
      February 22, 2014 at 2:14 am

      I read it when I was younger, naiver, and less opinionated. No, I won't pick it up now :)

    • Fajawood
      February 24, 2014 at 6:31 pm

      Best review I've ever seen of Rand!

    • Will Wyatt
      February 24, 2014 at 6:32 pm

      I read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged in the 9th grade. That's about the level at which someone who takes her nonsense seriously needs to be; she was a total nutcase. Needless to say, I outgrew her.

      Otherwise, good suggestions in this article.