I am great at multitasking. As I write this, I’m watching TV and eating dinner. But I’m not one of those people who can listen to audiobooks while I work. Maybe this is because I’m more of a visual learner, but I just can’t concentrate on work and listen to audiobooks at the same time. I will inevitably miss things, and I don’t like missing things when it comes to books. However, I do need to be doing something while listening to an audiobook, because I’m not great at sitting still (unless I’m actually looking at something, like a book). So I’ve found a few activities that are perfect for listening to audiobooks, and I’ve found it helps make mundane chores go a bit faster.
- Driving (or riding the train/bus). I listen to probably 90% of my audiobooks in the car. I find I can still pay attention to the road, but driving doesn’t require so much thought that I can’t also concentrate on the audiobook. I actually started listening to audiobooks because of my long commute. Feeling like I’m actually accomplishing something during those hours makes them a million times easier to bear. I feel relaxed rather than stressed, and stopped resenting the time I was wasting in traffic. If you have a long commute, I highly recommend exploring audiobooks. They were a game changer for me.
- Doing Chores. I also really like listening to audiobooks while I do the dishes. Or with headphones while I vacuum. It’s a fun way to read a chapter or two while doing something that isn’t entirely pleasant. And, again, it makes those chores go by so much more quickly.
- Tedious Hobbies. Because I need to keep my hands busy while listening to audiobooks, I’ve found they’re great while I’m doing things like painting my nails or knitting. Those might not be things everyone does, but I’m sure you can find a similar task that doesn’t require much brainpower. Get yourself an adult coloring book and go to town. My rule of thumb is that if it doesn’t require you to read anything, it’s probably safe to listen to an audiobook while you do it (subvocalization is what tends to distract me from the audiobook narration).
- Resting. The one exception to my need to do something with my hands is when I have a migraine. I get them every once in a while, and they’re pretty bad. Usually so bad that sleep is out of the question, but lying down in a dark room helps. Since I can’t read books in the dark, and a screen would only hurt my eyes. I’ve started using that time to listen to audiobooks. I’ve found that it takes my mind off of the pain a bit, and allows me to relax and stay still longer than I usually would. If you need a break from your day, or if your head feels like it might implode, I highly recommend trying this. It’s almost like someone reading you a bedtime story.
- While Reading. Wait, what? You read that right. When I was in college, I took a 19th century British lit class. And lets just say, there’s only so much Dickens you can read before your eyes start to glaze over. And then I discovered audiobooks. (Specifically, the free classic audiobooks you can find on iTunes U or YouTube.) If you’re having trouble paying attention to a book, listening to the audiobook while you read forces you to pay attention. I have since used this trick many, many times, and it works every single time. (How do you think I got an A in graduate level Romantic lit?)
Are you an audiobook listener? Where/when do you typically listen to audiobooks?
My favorite place to get and listen to audiobooks is Audible. If you’re not already a member, you can sign up now for a one-month trial and get two free audiobooks – which you get to keep even if you cancel.
Also check out my most recent Audiobook Recommendations!