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Save Time and Add Value with Audio Books – Part 1

Save Time and Add Value with Audio Books – Part 1

Few months ago, I sat down and worked out estimation on time needed per day for my usual projects. The outcome is pretty shocking to me:

I sleep for 6-7 hours, spend around 1 hour for lunch, dinner and bath, 8-10 hours for my work and 1 hour for commuting. Adding them up, I already spent 16-19 hours on those projects. By spending 2 hours per day for blogging and its preparation (reading, planning etc), time for attending my post-grad courses in human resources management, and time for my girl friend and family – That leaves me less than 3 hours per day to do the rest of things – including self-development.

It is a rough calculation but it indicates I have little time for developing myself for the future. This worries me.

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Man Reading Book

    I still read books but my progress on reading is getting slow paced.

    Beginning of this year, I found a way to leverage some of the used time for self-development – by listening to audio books. With some tasks like commuting and bathroom break, I can utilize these times to listen and learn from the audio content.

    So I purchased an iPod Mini at Amazon, subscribed to Audible, download a book to iPod, plug my ipod into my car audio system and off I go to commute everyday. Isn’t that easy?

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    If I ever had enough for audio books on a day, I can switch to my music collection in ipod. Very handy.

    When I was searching for audio books solutions, I set out some requirements:

    • I need a large selections of self-development books.
    • I need a quick system of selecting what I need.
    • I need a good software integration for transferring books to my ipod.
    • I need a subscription based so I don’t need to take care of payment every time I purchase a book.

    I have found Audible suits me well. It is pretty easy to manage on audio books, integrates with ipod pretty well and it has large range of selections. I have Audible subscription since Feb and I love every bit of it. Subscription is cost effective as well because if you purchase one book at a time books’ price may vary from $10 to over $20. However subscription fee is fixed and you can use any book credit to it.

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    CD Listening Audio Book

      My current collection of self-development audio books are:
      Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In


        How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships

          10 Days to More Confident Public Speaking

              How to Win Friends & Influence People

                The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

                  Develop a Powerful Memory

                    For paper book, I do not usually read through again once completed. For audio books, as I can go through them really fast (like 10 Days to More Confident Public Speaking

                        is around 3 hours so I can finish it off in 3 days on commuting), I don’t have excuse of not listening the audio book again.

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                        Have you got similar stories on audio books? Please share your experience. If not, I encourage you to try it out when you are exercising, commuting, or cooking etc. You can listen to two FREE audiobooks RISK-FREE from Audible

                          now to try out this time-saving self-development method.

                          Next, I am going to write more about my audible setup. Stay tuned.

                          More by this author

                          Leon Ho

                          Founder of Lifehack

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                          1 Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes & How To Tackle Them 2 The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness 3 20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity 4 A Review of the Book “The Art of Learning” 5 How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

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                          Last Updated on March 31, 2020

                          Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes & How To Tackle Them

                          Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes & How To Tackle Them

                          Procrastination is something many people can relate to and I, myself, have been there and done that. Yes, I write all about productivity now, but when I first started out on my career path, I would often put off work I didn’t want to do. And most of the time I didn’t even realize I was doing it.

                          So what changed?

                          I thought to myself, “why do I procrastinate?” And I started to read a lot of books on productivity, learning a great deal and shifting my mind to the reasons why people procrastinate.

                          My understanding brought me a new perspective on how to put an end to the action of procrastination.

                          Procrastination slows your goals and dreams way down. It can create stress and feelings of frustration. It rears its ugly head on a regular basis for a lot of people. This is particularly apparent at work with day-to-day projects and tasks.

                          But, why do people self-sabotage in this way? Essentially, there are 5 reasons behind procrastination. See if you can identify with any of these in your own work life.

                          1. The Perfectionist’s Fear

                          Procrastination is sometimes a subconscious fear of failure.

                          If you put off a task enough, then you can’t face up to the potential (and usually imagined) negative results. If you’re a stickler for minor details, the stress of getting things ‘just right’ may be too much and cause you to delay continuing the task.

                          Either way, fear is at the root cause and can sabotage your desire to move forward.

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                          How to Tackle It?

                          Try visualizing the completion of your task in a positive way.

                          For example, you have a presentation that your boss wants you to conduct for a potential client. Visualize yourself standing in the meeting room confident, meeting the eyes of the client and seeing them light up as you explain the concept simply and concisely.

                          Imagine your boss telling you how great you did and you were the best person for the job. Think about how it would feel to you and focus on this as you move forward with the task.

                          2. A Dreamer’s Lack of Action

                          This is a person who is highly creative and has many brilliant ideas but can’t quite seem to bring them to fruition.

                          The main reason for this is because there’s usually no structure or goal setting involved once the idea has been created. This aimless approach ends up manifesting as a lack of decision-making and significant delays on a project.

                          How to Tackle It?

                          Write down a timeline of what you want to achieve and by when. Ideally, do this daily to keep yourself on track and accountable for progression. Creative minds tend to jump from one idea to the next, so cultivating focus is essential.

                          If you’re designing and creating a new product at work, set out a task list for the week ahead with the steps you want to focus on each day. Doing this ahead of time will stop your mind from wandering across to different ideas.

                          Learn about how to plan your time and take actions from some of the successful people: 8 Ways Highly Successful People Plan Their Time

                          3. An Overwhelmed Avoider

                          This is one of the most common reasons for procrastination; the sheer overwhelm of a daunting task.

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                          The complexity of a task can cause the brain to lose motivation and avoid doing it altogether choosing instead to stay in its comfort zone.

                          The search then starts for a more enjoyable task and the harder tasks are put off. This can cause stress and dread when the task inevitably comes up to be completed.

                          How to Tackle It?

                          Break the challenge down into smaller tasks and tackle each one individually.

                          For example, if you have a project that has technical elements to it that you know you’ll find challenging, list each step you need to take in order to complete these difficult elements. Think of ways you can resolve potential hurdles. Perhaps you have a coworker that may have time to help or even consider that the solution may be easier than you initially think. Put each task in order of most daunting to least daunting. Ideally, try to deal with the more challenging parts of each task in the morning so that momentum is created as the tasks get easier through the day.

                          A reward system will also help you stay motivated so, once completed, you can enjoy your treat of choice.

                          If you want to know how to better handle your feelings and stay motivated, take a look at my other article: Procrastination Is a Matter of Emotion, Here’s How to Stop It

                          4. The Busy Bee Who Lacks Prioritization

                          Either you have too many tasks or don’t truly acknowledge the differing importance of each task. The result? Getting nothing done.

                          Time is spent switching constantly from one task to another or spending too much time deciding what to do.

                          How to Tackle It?

                          It’s all about priorities and choosing important tasks over urgent ones.

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                          Make sure to question the value and purpose of each task and make a list in order of importance.

                          For example, throughout your work day, you can waste a lot of time dealing with ‘urgent’ emails from colleagues but, you need to ask yourself if these are more important than working on a task that will affect, say, several office projects at once.

                          Help yourself to prioritize and set a goal of working through your list over the next few hours reassessing the situation once the time is up.

                          In my other article, I talk about an effective way to prioritze and achieve more in less time: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

                          5. The One with Shiny Object Syndrome (Distraction-Prone)

                          This is another common cause for procrastination; just simple distraction.

                          Our brains aren’t wired to focus for long periods of time and it looks for something else. So throw in a bunch of colleagues equally looking for distractions or checking your phone mindlessly, and you’ve got a recipe for ultimate procrastination.

                          However, this type of procrastination may not always be an unconscious decision to sabotage and put off work. It’s simply a result of your work setup or types of coworkers you have. Only you know the answer to that.

                          How to Tackle It?

                          Be mindful of your workspace and potential distractions. Schedule a specific time to converse with your coworkers, put headphones on to minimize listening to what’s going on around you, and switch your phone off.

                          Aim to do this for 20-30 minutes at a time and then take a break. This will be a much more efficient way of working and getting what you need done. This is also why scheduling down time is so important for productivity.

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                          Whether this type of procrastination is self-sabotage or being a victim of a distracting environment, either way you can take control.

                          If you need a little more guidance on how to stay focus, this guide can help you: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

                          Bottom Line

                          I’m going to be bold and assume you identified with at least one of these procrastination pitfalls.

                          You could be trapped in the endless cycle of procrastination like I was, that is, until I decided to find out my why behind putting off tasks and projects. It was only then that I could implement strategies and move forward in a positive and productive way.

                          I killed the procrastination monster and so can you. I now complete my tasks more efficiently and completely killed that feeling of stress and falling behind with work that procrastination brings.

                          I know it’s not easy to stop procrastinating right away, so I also have this complete guide to help you stop it once and for all: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

                          Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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