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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 December 2, 2018

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

    The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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    The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

    Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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    Review Your Past Flow

    Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

    Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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    Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

    Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

    Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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    Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

    Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

    We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

    Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

      Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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