5 Sneaky and Underhanded Methods To Add 30% More Time To Your Daily Reading Schedule.

by Brad Isaac on December 14, 2007

Adult Ed - Cheating In my recent popular post The 26 Major Advantages to Reading More Books and Why 3 in 4 People Are Being Shut Out of Success, you saw that reading more books is one of the most powerful shortcuts to success.

But one obstacle to reading more books is simply finding the time to do it.  Well friends, put on your trench coats and fedoras and get ready to sneak some great reading in on the down low. 

Here are 5 sneaky ways to get more book reading into your day:

1.  Rip chapters out of your book – Hear me out before you make a judgement!  When I worked for a car wash years ago, reading books on the job was quite inappropriate.  So here is what I did to get around it.

I went to the local used book store and purchased some of the titles I wanted.  They might have cost $1 or $2 each.  When I got home, I picked the first book and carefully grabbed a chapter and ripped out the whole chapter from the seam.  If done carefully, the whole chapter was held together by the existing binding glue.   I repeated this for each chapter in the book.

When I was done, I picked one or two chapters and folded them in half and stuck them into my back jeans pocket.  The rest of the chapters, I put back into the original book cover and held it all together with a rubber band until I needed them.

In between rinse cycles, I’d just grab the current chapter out of my back pocket and read.  Boss-man was none the wiser.  

I would replace chapters I read back into the book cover and take the next chapter or two until I finished the book.  

Turns out, when I was done reading a book, I could fit everything back together and re-glue it using Elmer’s and the book was in rough, but readable condition.  Now, that I’ve refined a great bookbinding method, I’d just use that to rebind it good as new.

Caution: It goes without saying you should only do this with books you own.  Don’t rip up your friend’s book or a library book. :)

2.  Take a book with you into the bathroom – I am surprised at the number of businesses that do not allow employees to read.  It makes little sense to me considering books make employees smarter, why would you not want them to improve?  

Regardless, there is a “no mans land” where you can take a book where you won’t be disturbed – the bathroom.  

You may choose to read while you are doing your business or you might just want to close the door and read in the bathroom stall.  Since bathrooms are typically quiet, you can read for 10-15 minutes undisturbed.  

Since you’ll technically be in the restroom, your boss likely won’t be able to punish you.  Just make sure you don’t leave any incriminating bookmarks or hilighters lying around when you leave.  

3.  Make reading a high priority – If you feel like you aren’t reading enough now, the only way you will be able to change your behavior is if you make reading a high priority. I have already given 26 major reasons, some of the people commenting to the post have added some excellent reasons to the list as well.  

Reading good books often is a proactive skill to develop.  The late Earl Nightingale used to say that through reading and improving your vocabulary you communicate your education within seconds of entering a room.  Your skill with language is communicated immediately – so the impression you make is largely dependent on how “well read” you are.

Imagine sitting for a job interview and the potential employer choosing between you (who communicates intelligence) and a non-reader who doesn’t.  Provided the boss wants a smart person for the job they’ll know you are the right person in seconds.

4.  Scan Books for Your Phone or iPod – You can buy an inexpensive scanner that will convert your books to text so you can load them onto your cell phone or iPod for having a library with you at all times.  I have been doing this for as long as I’ve owned a Pocket PC – 6 years.  

Like point #1, I scan a chapter of a book and convert it to text with the free OCR software that came with the scanner.  Then I just copy it to my Pocket PC for reading at any time of day or night.  Since I always have my device with me, I can read while waiting for my meal at a restaurant, in line at the post office or just have some down time at work.  

If you own an iPod there are many good utilities that convert text to e-books such as eBook to Images and iPod Notes Packager.

5.  Use Text-To-Speech for On The Road Reading – Another tool I like to use that only gets better and better is text to speech software.  Great for reading blog posts in my car, you can also load E-Books chapter by chapter into the software.  This frees you up to read as you drive without wrapping your car around a tree.

The only possible downside, in my opinion,  is listening isn’t as mentally engaging as reading.  But it is still quite good.  

Currently, I am using Text2Go software with the Samantha voice you can get separately when you purchase the software.  The voices are lifelike and easy to understand.  The advantage of this program is it not only converts text to speech, it loads it automatically on your iPod or MP3 player.  Plus, there is a slick management feature that allows you to delete recordings you’ve heard and create custom play lists based on the text you are converting – useful when you are recording blog content.

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Well, there you have it.  5 sneaky and underhanded ways to add more reading to your daily schedule.  Some are radical, some may cost money.  But all will make you better read and more successful if you only apply them.  

Before you add more reading to your schedule you have to see it as important – crucial even – to your personal success and enjoyment of life.  Until you do, then you probably won’t read much more than you are reading now.  

I am sure a lot of you who read this blog have other good ways of sneaking in some book reading on the sly, so please feel free to share in the comments.


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December 14, 2007 at 3:57 pm

I use two simple methods to get extra reading time:
1-wake up earlier. that gives me a little extra time in the morning before I get started.
2- when the wife wants to watch something on TV that I don’t, I go in the other room and read. It’s almost always better to read than watch TV!

Thanks for the other tips!

Brad Isaac December 14, 2007 at 5:15 pm

Hi Stephen,

Those are two good suggestions too, but not covert enough for the list. ;)

December 14, 2007 at 8:04 pm

Some great ideas here – will have to implement some of these myself as I don’t read half as much as I should, or used to.

December 14, 2007 at 11:08 pm

While these might work if you want to be sneaky and covert about it. There really are easier ways to increase your reading in a day.
1. Buy audio books to listen during your commute instead of paper books. Instant listening.
2. Learn to read faster. (the single most effective way really). Most readers can easily double their speed, which takes a lot less time to learn than reading for twice as many minutes each week.

I don’t agree with your comment Brad that listening isn’t as mentally engaging. This depends on every individual’s learning style. If you’re an audible learner, its actually better. Visual, not so much. So, it depends how you learn best.

Brad Isaac December 16, 2007 at 10:08 pm

Mike, that’s why I said “In my opinion.” For me, it’s not as engaging – I can get distracted more easily. But like you said, it really depends on your learning style.

December 16, 2007 at 10:11 pm

Hey Brad, yes, I missed that “In my opinion”. I’m always amazed at how many people I’ve worked with and coached about teaching others and they try to force their learning style on the other person and wonder why they can’t end up helping.

Its about them, so they need to choose the method to learn based on what’s best for them.

December 22, 2007 at 10:43 am

Don’t forget that you can check out professionally-narrated audiobooks from your public library – either in person or online, by downloading to your computer and then ripping to MP3 player or burning to CD. It is perfectly legal to do so, as long as the title is for your personal use & is deleted after listening. Great literature read by Lynne Redgrave or Jim Dale is far superior to text-to-speech. Audiobooks are a great way to toggle from the printed page (read on the couch) to the author’s words through the headphones (as you drive, cook, workout, whatever). If you were turned off by audiobooks in the past, seek out top-rated narrators by asking for suggestions at the library. You may find that it was a poor narrator that gave you a bad impression!

Jo Rennie December 23, 2007 at 7:39 pm

I am an avid reader but much of what I read most people would call “brain candy.” I do think that anything you read is better that nothing though. I also get up 15 minutes earlier to read the paper and, invariably, there is something to talk about with others later in the day. I use the library and request on line so always have something available. We also have “Best Seller 7 Day Loans” so I can always get current books on a variety of topics that I might not usually choose. I have 3 kids {well young adults, really} and I just forwarded the 26 reasons to read to my 19 year old who only reads what he has to……

Victor Mota December 25, 2007 at 1:44 am


I agree with what you said about learning to read faster, it is much more useful, but how exactly do you do it? I would love to learn myself, to read faster. Thanks

December 25, 2007 at 3:21 am

Victor, there are lots of great ways and unfortunately probably even more BAD ways. Some of the resources I’ve used and will recommend are:

Good list of various articles.

Great Site with an online speed test to gauge yourself. Also lots of recommended books are articles here:

Great software to increase your learning speed, called eyeQ, which I really like and have used.

And of course, I’ve written a couple of posts on my blog about speed reading and some additional resources. You can see them here:

Nicolle December 26, 2007 at 9:45 pm

Another way to fit in more reading time is to read while eating. Of course, I would never suggest doing this while you have company, and you have to be careful with library books. A lot of people I know watch television while they are eating…and anything you can do while watching tv is better done while reading!
Also, if there is something on tv that I actually do want to watch, I read during the commercials.

Nicolle December 26, 2007 at 9:55 pm

Another strategy: to leave books in your bag, house, car, work, and anywhere else you might happen to be. There are always unexpected opportunities that might otherwise be wasted on boredom!
Great post!

December 27, 2007 at 4:38 am

My strategies:

1) Plan for it: Write in your schedule “11.30 pm – Read; 12 am – Sleep”.

2) Listen to an audio book (Cases of Sherlock Holmes) in German, miss lots due to limited understanding of the language, and then read the textual book in English. In that way, you will be more focused because you want to fill in the gaps, and can read faster.

3) Put any book in the bag wherever you go. Just whip it out and read when waiting or commuting.

4) Read the newspapers while eating breakfast.

Victor Mota December 29, 2007 at 2:02 pm

Thank you very much Mike, I’m definitely going to read all those links to increase my speed!

December 29, 2007 at 4:16 pm

teoani, your #2 suggestion to listen in another language seems rather odd. I assume you need to understand at least some of the language your listening to, to get anything out of it. Does it help learn the other language?

And Victor, no problem at all. I’m glad I could help and add some links for you!

Nate Klein January 3, 2008 at 1:38 pm

I use to sneak in some reading at work. You set up what books you want to read and they will break them down into however long you want to spend reading and email them out to you each day. (Also good for printing out and taking to the can)

Brad Isaac January 3, 2008 at 2:59 pm

I use dailyreader.net to sneak in some reading at work.

Nate! That’s such a great idea! I’m going to sign up right now. Thanks for the link.

Amanda November 24, 2008 at 11:57 am

I think the best way to read more is to have a book. My friend always quotes Lemony Snicket on this one “Never trust a person who hasn’t brought a book with them.”

You never know when you may end up in a waiting room, post office, DMV, or behind an unexpected traffic accident.

December 8, 2008 at 11:16 am

Thanks for the great tips! I just launched a reading speed test which can estimate one’s reading speed in 2 minutes, see if any readers are interested to try it

Christina Lin January 9, 2010 at 11:48 am

Thanks for your tips! Some great figures in history are also great readers. Chairman Mao of the People Republic of China even read in bed before his final hours in life. I translate what he once said about the importance of reading, “If persistent, why must we sleep late or get early? Most futile is reading by fits and starts. ”

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