"Potty" Books, or Finding the Time to Read

The next time you want to get that book read but swear you have no time in the world to read it, put it in the bathroom.

At the risk of being a little crude, everyone has to go to the bathroom, and your list of possible activities in that room is just a tad limited. Put the book in there and read a page or two (or five) in the time you have.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking that one has to devote large chunks of time to an important endeavor. War and Peace doesn’t have to be finished in a single sitting, so to speak, but it can be finished in time.

For those who don’t use the bathroom (or who think it’s gross to put reading material in there), apply this idea to the area of your life where you have a few minutes to yourself.

If you find yourself waiting for the kids to get out of band practice, put the book in the car and read a couple of pages before the car loads up with teenagers.

If you have a commute that puts you on the train or bus, read it then. (And yes, you can train yourself to read on the train because I did just that myself as a commuter.)

Even if the gym puts a television screen on your elliptical machine, turn it off or prop a book against the blank monitor.

At the office, get to the parking garage five minutes early in the morning, or let the parking lot or lobby empty out before you enter the fray at the end of the day. You also can use a few moments of the lunch hour to slip into that book.

Skip the 11 o’clock news and read a few pages before you go to bed. Whatever you’re afraid to miss at that hour will be rebroadcast on some media the next morning, and a good book will give you better dreams than anything you see on television.

Or try audio books, the unabridged kind, and see if you like them. I’ve tried them on long lonely drives down I-95, and they beat the heck out of late night radio (except for 98.9 Liberty, WWLB-FM 98.9, the rock station in Richmond that will “play anything”).

I have had conversations like this with people who argue with me. “No, I don’t have a second to myself,” they insist. That might be true. The care of a newborn is constant and exhausting. A new job is consuming. There are periods in which life is unrelenting. However, like I said, everyone goes to the bathroom — so find your “bathroom” or moment of peace and launch the reading of that book you’ve promised yourself.

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