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Until I finally tried audiobooks with an Audible trial membership, I thought there was no way listening to a book would ever work for me.
The first books I listened to were the Harry Potter series because I wanted to try listening to a story I was already familiar with in case I got distracted. It was an amazing experience. The narration brought such a different experience to the books. Now, around half of the books I complete I listen to all or at least part of.
If you’ve been afraid to try audiobooks or are just looking for some tips on how to get in more listening time, here are some tricks I’ve used and that I hope will help you too:
1. Rereads. As I already mentioned, listening to books I’d already read helped me ease into audiobooks. If you’re already familiar with the story, it’s okay if you get distracted because you can jump right back in. Plus, when I listen to a book I’ve already read versus physically reading it, it helps me feel less guilty about rereading it instead of trying a new book, because I’m reading it while doing something else so it’s more productive (or at least that’s what I tell myself).
2. Listen while cooking. This is one of my favorite activities to pair with an audiobook. I enjoy cooking, but listening to a book at the same time makes it even more enjoyable. And if you don’t like cooking, a book will help pass the time a lot faster.
3. Listen while cleaning. Ugh, cleaning is the worst. I like to make it better by turning on an audiobook and zoning out. You can listen while doing the dishes, putting away laundry, you name it. You might even start to find doing these things relaxing when you’ve got a good story going on in your ear. For me at least, it helps me briefly forget how much I dislike cleaning.
4. Listen on your commute. I used to drive a minimum of 45 minutes each way to my job and back. It’s so easy to finish a book in just a few days when you listen while commuting (depending on the length of the book). My commute has now shrunk to a twenty minute walk, but listening to a book is still my favorite way to spend that time.
5. Use your workout. If you’re someone who can run without music (I’m not one of those people, but more power to you), an audiobook can be a great addition to a workout. If listening to a book while running is not for you, you can still listen while you take a walk or maybe even while you do yoga (I haven’t tried this personally but it could work!).
6. Listen while working, if you have a job that allows for this. If you have a job where you are fairly independent, don’t get a lot of interruptions, and can often go into automatic mode, try incorporating audiobooks. You might even find that audiobooks help you focus on work for longer because you’re so engrossed in the story and don’t get distracted by things that would normally pull you away from the task at hand.
7. Listen while making art or crafts. I like to listen while drawing or painting, but you could easily listen while sewing, knitting, or making various other art or crafts. I find that with an audiobook playing, I can focus longer and really get into flow mode.
8. Increase the speed. Audible has a feature that lets you increase the narration speed so that the narrator reads faster. I usually like to start the story at normal speed, then once I’ve gotten used to that, I’ll bump up to 1.25x, then 1.5x if the narrator’s pace is slow enough normally. I wouldn’t suggest this for first time audiobook listeners but if you’ve been listening to books for awhile, this is a simple way to read more books without adding more time to the day.
9. Give your eyes a break. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood to read words on a page but I do want to listen to a story. At these times, I’ll find somewhere to relax, close my eyes, and turn on an audiobook. (Yes, I have fallen asleep this way before, so I try to remember to set an alarm when I do this!)
10. Switch it up. With Amazon Kindle and Audible, you can seamlessly switch between an audiobook and the Kindle version of the same book. When I just can’t get enough of a book, I’ll switch between listening and reading so that I can get as much reading time in as possible.
While not all of these tricks will work for everyone, I hope you find some that work for you and help you to read and enjoy many more books.
(If you’re interested in trying audiobooks, you can get a free trial with Audible here.)