when you have no time


What are your strategies for getting through a reading slump? I don’t mean a lack-of-interest sort of reading slump, but a complete lack of free time, and little to no focus available for reading a lengthy, or intense, book.


Do you simply ride it out and wait for quieter, less stressful days? Or do you manage to find a few minutes each day, and something “easy” to read, until you’re out of the woods?


Remember the adorable kitten we adopted recently?



After he’d been with us about two or three weeks, we found out that he had apparently come to us with a contagious skin condition that he then passed on to one of our other cats. Into quarantine they both went. Not surprisingly, taking care of two cats in quarantine and giving them two kinds of medicine twice a day takes time. A lot of time. And the rest of our non-work time? That’s been devoted to daily laundry and house-cleaning so that none of the rest of us catch it.


Needless to say, that huge literary novel I was in the middle of was promptly set aside. Instead, I picked up a much shorter book that I try my best to dip into each day while eating lunch. Even just a page or two at a time helps slow my anxious brain back down.


We all know that reading = relaxation for our brains. But when, for whatever reason, you simply can’t read a book during overly busy, stressful periods, it’s time to go back to “basics” to find your calm.



how to navigate a reading slump …


Take a few deep, relaxing breaths a few times each day. Get as much sleep as possible. Go for a walk, or try to get some exercise. Stretch.


Here are a few other suggestions that you might try during a reading lull …


Listen to an audiobook for a few minutes before going to sleep at night.


Read — or better yet, re-read — a “comforting” book that you’re sure you’ll love.


Read essays or short stories, or magazines; nothing that requires a lengthy time commitment.


Besides these, what are your go-to strategies for reading and/or relaxing when you have absolutely no time?

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Welcome to the online home of The Novel Cat, where reading, relaxing, and snuggling with cats are a way of life. I’m Jennifer, and I help former and aspiring readers maximize life’s simple pleasures — like the joy of savoring a good book — by helping them create quiet spaces (both mental and physical) inspired by the habits of cats, who are masters at finding joy in life’s small details.

“The only important thing in a book is the meaning it has for you.”

W. Somerset Maugham

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”


“There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.”

Marcel Proust

“Standing there, staring at the long shelves crammed with books, I felt myself relax and was suddenly at peace.”

Helene Hanff

“What a happy woman I am, living in a garden, with books … birds, and flowers, and plenty of leisure to enjoy them!”

Elizabeth von Arnim

“A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.”

Neil Gaiman

“The art of reading is … an intimate ritual, that a book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us; when we read, we do it with all our heart and mind.”

Carlos Ruiz Zafón

“When I … looked round at the familiar bookshelves, and could hear no sounds but sounds of peace, and knew that here I might read or dream or idle exactly as I chose with never a creature to disturb me, how grateful I felt to the kindly Fate that has brought me here and given me a heart to understand my own blessedness.”

Elizabeth von Arnim