Audiobooks — What to do & What not to do — Part 1

Hey ReadARs

Here’s the first part of audiobooks, what to do and what not to do and everything here on a very Monday morning.

When to listen.

I usually listen to audiobooks when I’m doing something else.

When I say something else, I’m doing something like running, or working out, or when I’m driving a car, or when I’m in a cab, and it’s night time, so reading inside the cab is obviously not so possible.

I also listen to them when I’m also doing some household chore, or when I’m brewing my coffee. So I plug into audiobooks when I’m doing something else.

But not when I’m doing something very intensive, or you know, cognitively, my mind is required somewhere else. So if I’m running a program or coding it, no, no, not at all.

So when I’m doing something where my mind is not being utilized fully, okay, I listen to audiobooks.

Step 1 — “find your slot” to listen to audiobook.

That’s why you will see a lot of people listen to audiobooks when they are walking, or when they are driving, so passively listening. Remember this word, passively listening.

How long to listen to audiobooks at one stretch?

Actually, this is where a lot of people make a lot of mistakes. They go on a long stretch, their journey is one and a half hours long, and they will continue listening to the audiobook, not realizing somewhere around 20th to 30th minute mark, they would have actually stopped listening. And then they just let the book continue.

Even though we have two ears and one mouth, we have poor listeners. In fact, listening to audiobooks improves you as a listener, okay. That’s a very intangible, but very powerful benefit of audiobooks.

But your mind also has a cognitive limit, where it will stop really listening in. That sweet spot is between 20th to 30th minute mark. As you build that practice in, as you build your reps in, you’ll go from 20 to 30, okay. 20 is still a very sweet spot. Keep this 20 in mind as well.

What speed to listen?

Now, this is where again, there’s a lot of BS around, where what you should listen to 2x or 2.5x above, because you should quickly complete the book, there’s so many books out there. Yeah, they would have their own school of philosophy, I consider that as BS. I still believe 1.5x is the final point, okay. Obviously, to each their own.

The speed range, which I find very helpful is 0.85x to 1.25x.

I’ll explain to you when.

If I’m running, if the world around me is moving faster when I’m running, or when I’m driving, so the world around me is moving faster, okay. That’s when I bring the speed down to 0.85x. That’s when I slow down the audio book so that because the world around me is moving fast, I can grasp a little bit better.

When I’m at home brewing my coffee, or when I’m in a cabin, I can literally close my eyes and slow the world down for myself, I go to 1 or 1.25x.

You find your suitable listening speed. As I said, we are poor listeners, so don’t go over the top.

I barely use 1.5x in reserve scenarios where I’ve gone through the book already, maybe I’ve read it, I’ve already heard it, and I’m re-going through it, so that’s not the right word, but nevertheless. I’m going through it again, so that’s when I maybe, occasionally, I go to 1.5x.

Anything more than that, it won’t make sense. If you are at too high speed, all you will listen to it is Tape Recorder in Fast Forward Mode.

What not to do when listening to an audiobook?

  1. Avoid Audiobook while doing something very cognitive.
    I skip audiobooks when I am doing an intense activity where your mind has to be involved.
  2. So if you are driving a two-wheeler, I will tell you to avoid audiobooks. It should be strictly avoided anyways, but a lot of people still keep their earphones in. In a car, it’s relatively safer, but obviously in a car, don’t put your airpods on, okay. If you are in a car and listening, put it on the speaker, rather, so that you still have some sense left to drive, okay. Don’t fully smash your senses in.
  3. Avoid regression.

    See, audiobook is about exploring, it’s about soaking the information in. You are not going to retain everything out of it, okay. You are going to be like a sponge, which will retain what it wanted, and then everything else will drain off. This is also where the point of not going beyond 20-30 minutes comes into play. Your mind is only going to be able to soak some information.

    So avoid continuously keep going back 30 seconds or 60 seconds or back and forth. A small chapter will become huge if you do so. This is called regression. Avoid regression as much as you can.

    The only time I do this, okay, so there is also a caveat for everything in life. So if I’m running and the author has said something, wow, okay. Now because I’m running, my mind is still on the road and traffic around and stuff. So if the author has said something, wow, I would go back and do that 30 seconds back or 60 seconds back. I will set the settings to 60 seconds back. So if I just click a button while the audio book is playing, I can go 60 seconds back and listen to the entire portion of it. I do think 30 seconds is the best place because you don’t have to additionally listen. But in 60 seconds, it will give you a little bit of context. So I do regress sometimes, but it’s very, very rare. Only in a scenario when I’m doing something else and I missed. The rest of the time, go past. The audio book is about just soaking in.

Last but not the least, make a quick scribble of two minutes or three minutes after your listening session.

I’ll expand into it on how to retain better with the audio books in the part two of this video, which should come to you on a Tuesday morning, that is tomorrow.

After any listening session, just scribble what you heard in two or three quick minutes. Don’t try to make a whole summary essay out of it. But don’t try to ignore it either.

These two or three minutes, when combined with your 20 to 30 minutes of listening session, just are going to change the game for you. They’re not only going to make you a better listener, a better retainer of information, but it changes the way you look at audio books and reading and books, all sorts of knowledge and information as well.

So, yeah, this is what you have to do. This is the first quick video of do’s and don’ts of audio books. Part two of this will come tomorrow morning. So, watch it. That one will be a short one. I’m just setting this up for all of you.

P.S — Do the audible settings as well. Go to audible. If you’re on audible, go to settings. It’s on the top right corner, three lines. Click there, settings. Just go to the general and playback speed. That 30 second or 60 second thing, whichever you’re going to be more comfortable with. I’m comfortable with 60 seconds. The default setting, I think, is 30 seconds. If you’re fine with default, let it be. Don’t overdo.

That’s it for today. Thank you.
Let me know in the group if this video was helpful for you.


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