I started listening to audio books recently. The first month of 2019, to be exact.
So far I’ve listened to 23 hours distributed between 3 books.
And I have mixed feeling about audio books… I mean, it’s a great way to squeeze in more reading hours in moments when you can’t actually sit down and hold a book (or a Kindle, in my case).
And that’s the point: 99.99% (*) of my listening happened while I was:
- Running on a treadmill at the gym
- Exercising/stretching at the gym
- Folding laundry
- Preparing food
- Doing the dishes
- Eating breakfast
- Cleaning the house
(*) Note: the 0.01% was due to 5 minutes today that I was actually sitting down and listened until I reached the end a chapter before I started something else at the same time.
So I was never fully focused on the “reading act” the way I am when I’m with my Kindle.
It’s…different. Different levels of focus.
I know that I could sit down and just listen to a book. But somehow that didn’t seem an attractive option for me. And probably that’s because I’m used to listening to podcasts while doing all the activities I pointed above.
So I replaced podcasts with books.
I concluded I don’t immerse myself and assimilate information the same way when I’m listening. And that’s probably because I’ve multitasked while listening to Audiobooks.
I’m not saying I can’t remember what I read. I just feel that I might have missed small pieces of information. A quick-witted phrase. A savvy detail. A stirring revelation I wanted to note down and muse over. I got the overall message, no problem. But the act of listening wasn’t conducive to reflection while I was receiving the information.
And that brings me to my wandering mind…
Our minds wander, that’s normal. From moment to moment it gets filled with random thoughts and to-do’s for an undetermined future date. When that happens with my Kindle I just pause, acknowledge, take a breath and find the last sentence I remember processing and continue reading from there.
With Audiobooks, my mind got lost in not only my internal thoughts but also with all the things going on around me (remember: I was multitasking).
So the combination of my inner musings and external stimuli kept me not paying attention to the audio for what? 30 seconds? 2 minutes? 5 minutes? I really don’t know. When I realized I was distracted I just paused the audio feeling a little bit overwhelmed.
And eventually I would come back to listening when the situation I was in felt less distracting.
Wrapping it up…
I don’t hate Audiobooks. I actually enjoyed it most of the time and I’m sure I would not be able to read 3 books as fast as I did if I was reading.
I will continue to listen to Audiobooks. At least 1 per month, that’s part of my Reader Goals for 2019.
But I’ll choose wisely which books to listen to. If it’s a more contemplative reading that I know I would like to take notes and assimilate slowly, I will probably not choose the audio version.
And I will experiment with just sitting (or lying) down to listen, distraction free.