Time Management for Reading: Balancing Coursework and Leisure Reading

Alarm clock, calendar, and checklist on a desk, symbolizing time management and scheduling.

We have all been there, surrounded by a mound of textbooks, eyes glazed from endless hours of studying, while just a few feet away is that untouched novel we’ve been dying to read. And let’s not forget those conversations we end up having with ourselves in an attempt to justify the need for a book break, even though we probably don’t have enough time. Or do we? It's time to get your book balancing act in place. 

As with most things in life, it is all about balance, and this is a concept you can take across all aspects of your life. Considering you’re reading this blog, you must be on a well-deserved break. So, sit back and relax, grab a cup of coffee and an obligatory slice of cake while we find the optimum bookish balance.

Understanding the Importance of Both Worlds

Before we start on our balancing act, let's take a moment to appreciate the importance and value of both worlds. Coursework reading sharpens our minds, broadens our knowledge, and paves the way for academic success. On the flip side, reading for fun is our door to relaxation, creativity, and personal growth along with wild adventures and new experiences.

It's not just about finding a balance; it's about creating a world where both can coexist— let’s not forget that all work and no play makes for an incredibly boring day!

Person studying intently at a desk with a computer and notes, immersed in work.

Time Management Tactics for the Bookishly Busy

The first step in achieving that all-important balance between studying and fun is understanding where you are spending your time. We always find it incredible how much time we waste on unnecessary tasks. Just in case you were wondering, coffee and cake don’t fall into the unnecessary task category!

Spend the next few days noting how you spend your time. Don’t change your schedule; simply keep a notebook and jot down what you did during those precious hours. We find that an A4 sheet of paper with the hours written down the side is the perfect way to keep track of your day. You will be amazed at the insights you gain. 

Creating a Bookish Schedule

Now that you have a better idea of how you spend your time, you will find it easy to craft a weekly schedule that includes dedicated blocks of time for both academic and leisure reading. 

Be more mindful of where you are wasting time and put that to better use. We find that rewarding yourself with an hour of reading after completing an assignment is far more satisfying than sneaking in a quick read when you should be working!

Creating your weekly schedule can be great fun. Get creative and make your own schedule using your favorite colors, post-it notes, and emojis, or perhaps reader-friendly apps or planners are more your thing. 

Organizing your weekly schedule visually is an easy way to make sure that you have allocated just the right amount of time for both your academic obligations and your reading-for-pleasure.

The Pomodoro Technique

Inspired by the Pomodoro technique, the Pomodoro method involves reading your course material for 45 minutes straight, then rewarding yourself with a 15-minute snippet of leisure reading. This is a great way to give your brain a break while keeping the joy of reading alive—it makes both activities far more enjoyable and manageable.

Prioritizing and Pacing

Prioritizing your reading assignments based on deadlines and difficulty is key to a successful plan. We recommend trying the ReadRank system, which will help you tackle your coursework in order of importance and complexity. 

When it comes to your leisure reading, take the time to enjoy each page and treasure your hard-earned reward.

Joyful woman reading a book by a sunny window, exemplifying leisure reading time.

Making Leisure Reading a Non-Negotiable

Here at Once Upon a Book Club, leisure reading is non-negotiable, and on those crazy days, you sometimes need to get creative. Whether it's a quick chapter with your morning coffee or an audiobook during your workout, these moments can make all the difference to your day. 

There is nothing like a change of scenery to add to your well-deserved break, and creating a cozy reading nook is the perfect way to take some time out from your coursework and immerse yourself in that latest novel.

Book Club Heaven

We love everything bookish, and book clubs rank right at the top. It is simply one of the best ways to get the most out of your reading experience. You don’t need to wait while you look for the perfect book club—join our Facebook community and embrace the joy of shared experiences with fellow book lovers.

Tools and Resources for the Ultimate Bookerrific Balance

We are so lucky to live in a digital age with the numerous apps, websites, and tools specially designed to help us track our reading progress, manage our schedules, and even recommend books based on our time availability. 

With our monthly book box subscriptions, you never need to leave your literary fix to chance. There is something about receiving our book box; it is like having Christmas every month. 

Our fun packaging and book-shaped box will intrigue any young adult as they wait to discover the unexpected delights of our specially selected monthly novel. Unlike your average monthly YA book club subscriptions, each month is full of surprises and makes for an interactive reading experience for young adults. For us, it's not just about reading; it is about the whole experience from the minute you receive your box to the moment you finish reading the last word.

Thoughtful woman with glasses balancing a stack of books on her head against a blue background.


Balancing your coursework and leisure reading doesn't have to be a daunting task. It's all about understanding the value of both managing your time effectively, and making leisure reading a non-negotiable part of your day. 

With the right strategies, like creating a bookish schedule, using the Pomoboro technique, and prioritizing your reading tasks, you can enjoy the best of both worlds. 

Remember, reading for pleasure isn't just an escape; it's an essential part of personal growth and relaxation. So, it's time to find your perfect balance, and dive into your next adventure, both academically and in the pages of your favorite novel. Let the joy of reading enrich your life, even during those crazy, busy days.

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