Although my girls have been listening to audiobooks since they were tiny, it’s only been this year that I’ve discovered the beauty of audiobooks for myself.
But once I got started, I was hooked.
When I’d tried listening to audiobooks in the past, I always felt like my mind was wandering too much and I was missing large portions of the book. However, with some practice, I’ve learned to develop that focus (and I’ve found that speeding up the audio helps!), and if my mind is still wandering, I just turn it off and try again later.
The real genius of audiobooks, though, is that they allow you to combine a physical task that is not really conducive to reading a book with the mental task of listening so that you’re making the most of your time and “reading” more books. Always a good thing when your “to read” list is growing faster than you can actually read!
Here are the 7 times when I listen to audiobooks during the day…
1. While walking.
It was listening to audiobooks while walking that made me fall in love with them in the first place. Being able to “read” and walk at the same time is great motivation to get out there and walk, and I find that I can walk faster and farther when I’m listening to a good book like 41: A Portrait of My Father or Quiet.
2. In the shower.
I know it sounds funny, but I actually love to listen to a book while I shower (although I’ll admit that this is where I am most likely to let my mind wander as well). Our shower is large, with a big shelf built into one wall. By turning my phone upside down in the corner of this shelf, the sound is magnified pretty significantly so that I can easily hear the story over the sound of the running water.
3. In the car.
Because one of my reading goals this year is to read more classics, I often save a book like Black Beauty or The Hobbit to listen to in the car when the girls are with me. And when I drove to my mom’s in January for my personal retreat, I chose books about creativity, work and productivity—like The Creative Habit and Die Empty—to listen to on my way down and back.
4. At bedtime.
My girls are better at this than I am, and they listen to a story every night before bed (and I’ll often hear them turn it back on if they wake up in the middle of the night). But bedtime is a great time for adults to listen to a book as you fall asleep as well. The Audible app even has a sleep timer so you can set it to turn off when you fall asleep.
5. While doing chores.
I’m not a huge fan of folding laundry, but I do find that I dread it a little less when I know I have a good book to listen to while I fold. It’s a little harder to listen to audiobooks when I’m doing something in the kitchen because I tend to get interrupted a lot and our house is noisy, but the laundry room is tucked around a corner and I often hide in there and listen to Team of Rivals for 20-30 minutes without interruption!
6. During wait time.
Although I might default to reading a book during wait times, listening to a story with earbuds is also a great way to get some extra listening time in while waiting to pick up your kids from an activity or waiting for a doctor’s appointment.
7. While you pursue another hobby.
This might be my favorite of all. With audiobooks, I no longer have to choose between reading or pursuing another hobby. Instead, I can listen to a book while I doodle or crochet or bake or whatever it may be. While hobbies shouldn’t be all about “getting more done”—and I do think we need time to just let our minds wander—I do love adding a good story as background for a more physical hobby some of the time!
Do you enjoy audiobooks? When is your favorite time to listen?