20 months of audio books

As we get older, we'll all get caught in the busyness trap. Our family and careers grow to consume most of our time and there seems to be less "me-time" for personal relaxation, hobbies, and growth.

I've always been a purposeful reader of books to either grow mentally or spiritually. So, most of the things that I read fall into the "boring" non-fiction category.

There are so many things that compete for our brain waves and eyeball time on a daily basis that it can feel overwhelming to keep up with everything and still invest in ourselves. I had the desire to read more, but my attempts to read often ended with the book/iPad watching me sleep. So 20 months ago, I decided that I needed a change and a system that I could use that would work for my daily routine.

The change. In my profession, I stare at 2 Dell P2314H monitors 9-10 hours a day and it takes a toll on my eyes. My eyes are often tired at the end of a day and reading a book or iPad at the end of the day is like playing smooth Jazz to a baby after a warm bath and good feeding. So, instead of trying to force myself to read, I decided to try Audible after looking at a few audio book services. I chose Audible mainly because of the cost relative to the available titles that I was interested in listening to.

The system - 1 book per month x 2 listening cycles. Audible essentially allows you 1 audio book per month for $14.99. So, I decided that I would focus on 1 book per month. I figured that I could devote 30-45 mins per day listening to audio books while in transit or while doing menial house work/chores which would give me plenty of time to complete the book within a month. Since I would be physically doing other things while listening and the likelihood of missing important information would be high, I decided to listen to the book 2x within the month. While listening, I used the bookmark feature to record key points and take notes each time that I listened.

Protips and tweaks: Adjust your listening speed to 1.25x to 1.5x depending on the narrator. Use the dictation feature in the bookmark/note-taking feature.

What I learned. Of course, I learned a lot from the books that I listened to, but I found that I often lost context of which audio book that I listened to when actually calling on a principal or theory for applicable use. I could recall the voice of the narrator, but remembering the exact book was a bit more difficult. This was most likely because most of the books that I listened to were similar and closely related to the same business topics. Going forward, I plan to transfer the notes and bookmarks to paper so that the lessons learned are at my fingertips. This should help to cement the actual book and related information more firmly in my mind.