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It’s the summer – the sun’s out, hammocks are in style. What better way to relax in the summer breeze than by opening a good book? Reading is a great way to unwind outside and enjoy the weather while also exercising your mind – however, with the world being busier than ever these days, a lot of people don’t make time to even open a book. There are many books deemed “beach reads” and “summer trash novels” – perfect for this time of year, yet many times, even fun books get put on the back-burner for laptops or electronic media.

Unwind after a long day at work or spend time outside – even reading before you go to bed would be enough time to crack open an interesting novel or read some short stories! Making time for something as intriguing as a good story might sound like a lot of work, but once you’re involved in reading something you enjoy, the time just melts away. What are some ways to clear your schedule and make time for the fun summer reads?

1. Clear at least half an hour of your schedule each day for reading. Sometimes, giving yourself a set time to do something gives you incentive not to miss that block of time. Maybe you don’t read all that much and are pressed for attention, especially if you have children and other responsibilities to worry about. Even if it’s just the train ride into work or a half an hour after the kids have gone to sleep, reading’s something that stimulates your mind was also bringing you a peaceful vibe. Summer reads that are light and easy are the best – they’ll enthrall you, but aren’t too complex for the warm months. Enjoy the relaxed nature of the weather and read outside – then you’ll get the best of both worlds!

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2. Make a list of books that you want to read. If you have a set plan or at least a general idea of what you want to crack open during the summer months, it’ll be easier to plan those reads in. If you just want to go with what you’re in the mood for, put the books you’re thinking about in a pile and then sort through them each time you finish a book. Either way, you’re thinking about what you really want to read – and that’s a good start!

3. Carry a book around in your bag wherever you go. Even if it’s just a few pages here and there, a little reading while waiting for a friend or sitting outside briefly could be a little treat during the day! If you don’t have a big enough purse, just leaving it in your car or having it available next to you for your lunch break at work could make life a little less stressful. Although it’s important to remember not to be antisocial and not use reading as a crutch in order to not to talk to people, a quick skimming of a page in a novel might be all you need to get back on task!

4. Reduce your time using technology. In the recent decades, the Internet and television have been replacing time when people would ordinarily pick up books. For example, there are many people who would rather sit in front of the television than open a book just because reading feels like a chore to them. If you’re reading something that interests you, then there’s no reason to not enjoy it. Technology is great for the world and the Internet has really revolutionized the way we see the written word, but sitting down with a good book or magazine is a great way to be intellectual without feeling like you’re in school again. Turning off the video games or Blackberry is a great start to reclaiming your reading skills while still relaxing the summer away!

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5. Read everything you can get your hands on. By that, I mean the news – in print or online form, magazines, books, ads in the subway, etc. Basically, anything that involves even the slightest stimulation, since it’s just fun to learn more about the world around you, even if it’s through a magazine or a billboard. Reading should be fun and not a forced hobby. Keeping up a love of the written word is important in life, especially with technology replacing and changing the way we see words. Just pick up a newspaper on the way to work – expand your mind, but only read what gives you enjoyment. It’s the summer!

Check out this article for more information on how to keep your enthusiasm for reading alive. It’s always a good plan to check out bookstores for ideas or browse a used book store – engross yourself in books and maybe you’ll just fall into one right away!