(Also posted on Medium)
Finding time was the challenge — I told myself for the umpteenth time. How am I supposed to find time to read while I work a full-time job, help take care of my 1 and 3-year-old, spend time with my wife, take care of our energetic rescue pup and try to stay in touch with my friends.
Forget about finding time for self-care.
When I was younger with different responsibilities I was a voracious reader, mostly of fantasy and fiction stories. I would travel to the universes of the world’s greatest storytellers: Frank Herbert, Tolkien, CS Lewis, RA Salvatore, George RR Martin, and probably my last binge from JK Rowling.
Times were different now. I was at a job where I was working long hours, and every minute of time outside was allocated to taking care of the family, with whatever precious hours were left over for sleep. To rise again and repeat, trying to avoid burning out before Friday afternoon came. I could then begin to piece myself back together before Sunday night.
I needed a way to grow and stretch in a different direction mentally. Books had done this for me in the past. But how could I find the time to get back into reading? — Audiobooks were the answer.
It started with the LibriVox. Classics that are in the public domain were recorded by volunteers. This is a free app and I dove in. Three of the favorites that come to mind that I listened to on this app
- Count of Monte Cristo — Alexander Dumois
- The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes — Arthur Conan Doyle
- Allan Quatermain — By HR Haggard
Yes! My eyes (and ears) were opened to the potential of audiobooks.
I could listen in my car, I could listen while I walked the dog, I could listen at the gym — Anytime it was convenient
Then my needs changed from enjoying mostly fiction stories to those literature focused on improving the self and life. This is when I discovered that if you have a Library card you can get access to a broader selection of more recent and popular audiobooks. Enter Libby and Hoopla. The only downside is that there are a limited number of digital licenses so for popular books you may have to wait up to a few months.
Put them on hold early.
Finally, for the latest and harder-to-find books, I turned to and paid Audible which is a fantastic product.
On this journey I did notice that retaining information from the audiobooks was more difficult as opposed to reading — I came up with a process where I keep a daily log per book with notes on what I listened to that day and the day before.
Tip: You can also try to slowly work the speed of audiobooks up and listen faster. I currently listen to most books at 1.2x speed which is still comfortable for me.
I’ll do a future post on how listening to books has positively impacted my life. But for now, I’ll leave you with my top three favorites from this year.
Non Violent Communication — Constructive communication and empathy
– Hoopla Link
The Will Power Instinct — Understanding how our brain and evolutions play a part in will power and habits
– Libby Link
Trillion Dollar Coach — Being a good leader with emotion and candor
– Audible Link