Read five books in the toilet so far. Already started on the sixth. Not in one sitting of course. Proof that small changes in the daily routine creates time you never thought you had. Specially for luxuries like reading books.
A major benefit of toilet reading is that the overall routine itself stays unaltered. You don’t have to torture yourself with the agony of getting up any earlier—just leverage more benefits from an existing activity.
We all have to ascend the porcelain throne at least once a day, however reluctantly. Usually to hold court among the tiles for at least 10 minutes each morning. That is at least an hour of reading a week and over 4 hours of reading a month! Enough to termite your way through lots of pages. The underlying principle of toilet reading is similar to building up a savings account with small daily (consistent) contributions.
Books are “strategic” reading matter. They complement the condensed focus of news items or magazine articles with deeper fuller content. The 600 seconds of privacy you get on the throne can be your moment to shut off the information demands of the now and contemplate the longer view.
Benefits of toilet reading
- Intimidatingly huge books become manageable when to taken on in nibbles.
- Good books last longer. Similar to rationing out a tub of ultra double super good chocolate ice cream.
- Spacing out the time between books WHILE reading consistently will also help soften the financial cost of books without being left bookless
- Since each bout of reading is very short you can savour the few pages you do read more deeply. You find yourself “in the story” between readings. Since you are forced to re-establish the threads of the book each time, you start noticing connections and contexts you would have missed if you galloped through. Eventually the book’s “story” becomes part of the daily routine in delicious ways. I hope to one day be able to fully describe it in words.
- No one expects you to drop what ever you are doing and attend to other things when you are defecating. They know you’ll be out of there in a few and tend to leave you alone. No doubt there are many exceptions to this rule. Even if you take your mobile into the can, you surely can’t be getting calls early in the morning EVERY day?
- Short reading times don’t compete with pressing “practical” immediate priorities of daily life. 10 minutes a day is not enough for studying or other tasks. Specially when you are defecating.
A tip about toilet reading:
Besides the obvious thing about washing your hands.
Don’t force yourself to read through a fixed number of pages. Reading shouldn’t be the 100 m. Let the rhythm of the book dictate the pace or you’ll end up feeling unsatisfied after all frantic galloping. The process should be something you enjoy not a chore.
Competing for those 600 seconds are the usual morning paper, and magazines. Which highlights the fact that what you read in those scraps of time is clearly your choice. If you are looking to find more grains of time to read, life hack a convenient list. As for fine tuning the actual act of reading, Matthew Cornell a productivity consultant has a extensive post on How to read a lot of books in a short time. Both have that American mania for efficiency that may seem over the top. I don’t practice them but I added the incase it helps some one. For something more relaxed, there’ Gautam Satpathy’s post with practical take on audio books has a handy list. None of those sites are paying me to the links btw ;)
As for the books I have been reading on the throne — that’s another post.
This has nothing to do with the Rythmic one’s toilet post. Obvious I suppose but my SUV riding legal team advised me to put in this declaimer ;)
There is of course the option of reading in bed. Something I have been a culprit of since grade 8. It is a slipper slope to sleep depravation. A topic which I prefer to avoid -reasons classified till Dec 16th, 3019 (yest that’s THREE thousand and nineteen).