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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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    Published on July 15, 2019

    10 Simple Strategies to Make Your Life Better Starting Today

    10 Simple Strategies to Make Your Life Better Starting Today

    Habits are an important part of the direction you take your life, and — as I’ll share with you shortly — there are certain daily habits you can adopt right away that are guaranteed to improve your life.

    Think back to when you were just six or seven years old…

    At that age you probably didn’t have many habits. But, as the years went by, you picked up more and more good and bad habits.

    You may not have thought about it before, but habit forming never really stops.

    That’s why it’s never too late to change your habits and transform your life.

    So, if you feel burdened by your bad habits, start kicking them into shape by replacing them with these 10 positive, life-changing strategies:

    1. Go to Bed a Little Earlier and Wake up Earlier 

    Starting tonight, get yourself to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual. And, then make sure you get up tomorrow morning 30 minutes earlier, too. This small change can have a BIG impact on your day. 

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    Instead of furiously rushing in the morning to get ready for work, the extra time will give you a golden opportunity to start your day off on the right note. You can drink a smoothie while sitting on your porch, spend 10 minutes exercising and stretching, and still have time to read a few pages of an inspiring book.

    2. Be Grateful for the Good Things in Your Life 

    Setbacks and obstacles are inevitable in life. But, with a positive mindset, you’ll be able to overcome most of these. And, when you do, you’ll boost your self-confidence. 

    This is something you can definitely be grateful for. 

    However, if worst-case scenarios are playing out in your life, then sometimes, to stay strong, you’ll need to keep your mind on the good things that are happening to you. For example, your relationship with your partner might be crumbling, but your career is continuously getting stronger. It’d be easy to feel downtrodden and miserable about your relationship problems —  but, it would be much healthier to keep your mind and gratitude on these things that are going well, such as your career.

    3. Drink Water All Day Every Day 

    I’m sure you’ve heard the advice of drinking at least eight glasses of water a day, but are you following that advice? If not, you’re robbing your body and mind of essential hydration. 

    With the right amount of water intake a day, you’ll be amazed how good you feel — and how good you look!

    4. Take 15 Minutes to Set Goals for the Day, and Then Tackle Them One by One 

    This strategy will put your life into a new stratosphere! And, it’s very simple to do. 

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    Simply spend 15 minutes in the morning (either at home or at work) planning what you need and want to achieve during the rest of the day. Once you’ve listed your tasks, the next step is to put them into order of priority. 

    For instance, you have three things to do: catch up with your emails, write a project update, and prepare a briefing for your CEO. It’s best if you put these in order of importance. In this example, your emails can probably wait until you’ve created your CEO brief and updated your project documentation.

    5. Turn Off Your Cell Phone (or Put it on Airplane Mode) When You’re Focusing 

    A 2012 study found that even looking at a cell phone or feeling it vibrate in your pocket can significantly distract focus and reduce your ability to complete complex tasks.[1]

    It’s no surprise really, as our thoughts are subconsciously drawn towards checking our phones when they’re switched on. It’s a bad habit — but one that most of us have. However, when you need 100% focus (like I do when writing my articles), then switching your phone off, or at least putting it into airplane mode, will free your mind and supercharge your focus. Try it and see!

    6. Walk as Much as You Can 

    Have you noticed that most people’s lives are sedentary? They drive to work, sit in front of a screen all day, then drive home and binge on the latest Netflix series. It’s no wonder there’s a growing epidemic of obesity and mental health issues. 

    Our bodies are made to move — so we should move them! This can be as simple as walking up the stairs to your office instead of taking the elevator, and going out for a walk around the block at lunchtime. In the evening, instead of arriving home and crashing on the sofa; spend 20 to 30 minutes walking around your block.

    When you make these things a habit, you’ll be amazed by how much better you feel. You’ll have less stress — and more energy.

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    7. Be Mindful of Your Surroundings

    How often do you stop, think and appreciate the “here and now”? I’m guessing not very often. But, I understand why. Modern life is demanding and fast-paced. There’s precious little time to appreciate the small things. 

    But, if you want to live a healthy and happy life, you must break out of this trap. You can do this by allocating 15 to 30 minutes each day for mindful meditation. This could be in a park, in your garden, or even in your lounge. The trick is to focus 100% on your surroundings. 

    For example, if you’re outside, watch how the leaves on the trees blow around in the wind. By keeping your focus on this movement, you’ll clear your mind from your usual stresses and strains. This will give you brain a much-needed break. And, as well as improving your mental health; you’ll find your creativity gets a boost, too.

    8. Ask for Help When You Need It 

    No one can know or do everything. Which is why you shouldn’t be embarrassed to delegate tasks to others when needed, ask questions when you don’t have the answers, and work with partners and colleagues to clarify intentions. 

    When I first set up Lifehack, I tried to do everything myself: blog writing, website creation, marketing, financial planning, etc. However, I quickly learned that it was much better to hire some help. Not only did this inject some fresh ideas and inspiration into Lifehack — it also made the whole operation way more enjoyable!

    9. Practice Self Care 

    Are you looking after yourself as well as you should? If not, then take steps to improve your diet, exercise more, and to speak to yourself with encouraging words and thoughts. 

    The latter suggestion is often overlooked. But how you speak to yourself determines how you feel, what you believe, and what you achieve.

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    10. Embrace Learning 

    You cannot transform your life without learning something new. That’s because the process of change forces you to adapt. But, many people stop learning as they get older, as they find the learning process boring and bothersome. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. It can be fun and rewarding. 

    Whether you decide to learn to play guitar or study the basics of accounting — embrace learning, and begin changing your world for the better.

    I’m sure you’ll agree that these 10 strategies are simple enough for you to start putting them into action in your life. (I suggest you begin today!) 

    Nevertheless, you’ll probably need to use some extra willpower for the first 30 days or so, as this is the typical length of time it takes to create a new habit. After that, these strategies will be part of your day-to-day life, and you won’t need to think about having to do them. In other words, they’ll have become habitual actions.

    If you need any further encouragement to get started with the 10 strategies, then consider this:

    Even just adopting one of the strategies can turn the tide in your favor. But, when you implement all 10, you’ll create an unstoppable trend towards success, health and happiness.

    So start making your life better — today!

    Featured photo credit: Javier Garcia via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Deborah R. Tindell and Robert W. Bohlander, Wilkes University: The Use and Abuse of Cell Phones and Text Messaging in the Classroom: A Survey of College Students

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