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Guide: How to Log and Measure Your Audio Book Listening Habit

Guide: How to Log and Measure Your Audio Book Listening Habit

Greetings fellow LifeHackers! The gracious Leon has given me the opportunity to share my experience as a fanatical devotee of the almighty audio book; may some hackage result from your reading it.

Entertaining your idle brain through your oft noise-polluted ears during otherwise useless parts of your day is, indeed, audio books’ most obvious and attractive feature. Think about it; reclaiming used time is quite the hack. Once I realized this fact, routine traffic jams no longer brought out my inner leadfoot and Mr. Hyde is kept in check while waiting in line at the bank.

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At first, I found myself reading exclusively fun stuff, which was…, well, fun. It wasn’t until I read my first self-development book that I realized that I could be personally productive. I started to pay more attention to what I filled my ears with and tried to balance between fiction and non-fiction. One day, after completing about 20 books, I realized I had no account of what I had read, nor what I found interesting about each book. Why did this bother me?


Well, we all know the saying, “What gets measured gets _____.” You could fill in the blank with things like ‘better’, ‘organized’, or for the cautiously tautological folk, ‘gauged’. So I started logging how long each book was, when I read it, and what my thoughts were. Even with that much information, the best I could do was recommend books to other people.

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It wasn’t until I made a spreadsheet and some bar graphs representing which genres I was reading that I was able to make use of my reading habits. Balancing the bars became a little goal for me. “Oh look”, I would say to nobody in particular, “the science-fiction bar is racing upwards.” I would want to pump up one of the non-fiction bars; but which one? One time I said, again, aloud, to nobody in particular, “The self-development’s bar is looking stumpy dag-nabit, I’m going to read one of those new-fangled books like ‘Getting Things Done’.” Though I may have since gone overboard by tagging up all my reading and building a webpage that lets me dynamically measure my reading habits, it really helps in finding my next book.

Audiobook log Total Book

    I really need to cut back on the Sci-Fi…

    Whenever you’re developing a skill, be it running, learning to fly a plane, or developing one’s self, logging is one of the best tools to reach goals, to understand what you want to achieve, and even to marvel at your accomplishments thus far (marveling tends to encourage one to reach even more goals!). If you do decide to reclaim the ticks of the clock by having books read to you, I encourage you to keep track of what you’re reading and actively select books based on what you’ve been reading.

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    In Summary:

    • Reclaim precious time by ‘reading’ audio books
      • You may find it calms the nerves while waiting
      • Reading can be entertaining and good for you
    • Log and measure what you read
      • Make sure you’re reading what you want
      • Stroke your ego by reviewing your progress, it can be motivational
    • Log anything you want to improve
    • Spreadsheets are you allies
    • I’d be happy to help, advise, and even rant to anybody who’s looking to get into audio books :)

    Hack on!
    — Maulik

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    Lifehack.org Note: If you are interested in Audio Books, make sure go and read another article, Save Time and Add Value with Audio Books – Part 1.

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    Last Updated on August 12, 2020

    How to Plan Your Life Goals and Actually Achieve Them

    How to Plan Your Life Goals and Actually Achieve Them

    Where do you want to be 5 years from now, 10 years from now, or even this time next year? These places are your goal destinations and although you might know that you don’t want to be standing still in the same place as you are now, it’s not always easy to identify what your real goals are.

    Many people think that setting a goal destination is having a dream that is there in the far distant future but will never be attained. This proves to be a self-fulfilling prophesy because of two things:

    Firstly, that the goal isn’t specifically defined enough in the first place; and secondly, it remains a remote dream waiting for action which is never taken.

    Defining your goal destination is something that you need to take some time to think carefully about. The following steps on how to plan your life goals should get you started on a journey to your destination.

    1. Make a List of Your Goal Destinations

    Goal destinations are the things that are important to you. Another word for them would be ambitions, but ambitions sound like something which outside of your grasp, whereas goal destinations are certainly achievable if you are willing to put in the effort working towards them.

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    So what do you really want to do with your life? What are the main things that you would like to accomplish with your life? What is it that you would really regret not doing if you suddenly found you had a limited amount of time left on the earth?

    Each of these things is a goal. Define each goal destination in one sentence.

    If any of these goals is a stepping stone to another one of the goals, take it off this list as it isn’t a goal destination.

    2. Think About the Time Frame to Have the Goal Accomplished

    This is where the 5 year, 10 year, next year plan comes into it.

    Learn the differences between a short term goal and a long term goal. Some goals will have a “shelf life” because of age, health, finance, etc, whereas others will be up to you as to when you would like to achieve them by.

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    3. Write Down Your Goals Clearly

    Write each goal destination at the top of a new piece of paper.

    For each goal, write down what is it that you need and don’t have now that will allow you achieve that goal. This could be some kind of education, career change, finance, a new skill, etc. Any “stepping stone” goals you removed will fit into this exercise. If any of these smaller “goals” have sub-goals, go through the same process with these so that you have precise action points to work with.

    4. Write Down What You Need to Do for Each Goal

    Under each item listed, write down the things that you will need to do in order to complete each of the steps required to complete the goal. 

    These items will become a check-list. They are a tangible way of checking how you are progressing towards reaching your goal destinations. A record of your success!

    5. Write Down Your Timeframe With Specific and Realistic Dates

    Using the time frames you created, on each goal destination sheet write down the year in which you will complete the goal by.

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    For any goal which has no fixed completion date, think about when you would like to have accomplished it by and use that as your destination date.

    Work within the time frames for each goal destination, make a note of realistic dates by which you will complete each of the small steps.

    6. Schedule Your To-Dos

    Now take an overview of all your goal destinations and make a schedule of what you need to do this week, this month, this year – in order to progress along the road towards your goal destinations.

    Write these action points on a schedule, you have definite dates on which to do things.

    7. Use Your Reticular Activating System to Get Your Goal

    Learn in this Lifehack’s vlog how you can hack your brain with the Reticular Activation System (RAS) and reach your goal more efficiently:

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    8. Review Your Progress

    At the end of the year, review what you have done this year, mark things off the check-lists for each goal destination and write up the schedule with the action points you need for the next year.

    Although it may take you several years to, for example, get the promotion you desire because you first need to get the MBA which means getting a job with more money to allow you to finance a part-time degree course, you will ultimately be successful in achieving your goal destination because you have planned out not only what you want, but how to get it, and have been pro-active towards achieving it.

    More Tips for Achieving Goals

    Featured photo credit: Debby Hudson via unsplash.com

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