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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

                          Book summary: A Technique for Producing Ideas Finding Your Inside Time 10 Ways to Extend Laptop Battery Life Bob Parsons on His 16 Rules for Survival Free note taking templates and techniques

                          Trending in Lifehack

                          1 How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators 2 The Lifehack Show Episode 6: On Friendship and Belonging 3 Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes And How To Tackle Them 4 The Power of Tapping into Your Hidden Creativity 5 How to Become an Early Riser and Stay Energetic Throughout the Day

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                          Last Updated on September 16, 2019

                          How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

                          How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

                          You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

                          We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

                          The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

                          Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

                          1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

                          Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

                          For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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                          • (1) Research
                          • (2) Deciding the topic
                          • (3) Creating the outline
                          • (4) Drafting the content
                          • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
                          • (6) Revision
                          • (7) etc.

                          Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

                          2. Change Your Environment

                          Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

                          One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

                          3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

                          Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

                          Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

                          My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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                          Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

                          4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

                          If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

                          Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

                          I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

                          5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

                          I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

                          Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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                          As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

                          6. Get a Buddy

                          Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

                          I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

                          7. Tell Others About Your Goals

                          This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

                          For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

                          8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

                          What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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                          9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

                          If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

                          Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

                          10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

                          Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

                          Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

                          11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

                          At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

                          Reality check:

                          I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

                          More About Procrastination

                          Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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