Tips for Audiobooks and Multitasking

It can be hard to find time to sit down and read when you lead a busy lifestyle. Audiobooks can make reading more approachable, but it’s not always easy to take in everything you hear while listening. This is why it can be helpful to listen to audiobooks while multitasking. Below I’ve inserted seven tips that can help make audiobooks more enjoyable and easier to absorb.

1. Read Along With a Physical or Digital Copy

While it’s possible to listen to audiobooks by themselves, some people find it helpful to read along with a physical or digital copy of the text they’re listening to.

Reading along to what you’re hearing is a great way to help your brain retain the information better. You can also pause the audiobook to go back and reread things you miss, which is a plus.

This method is kind of like getting the best of both worlds. You can benefit from having someone read to you while simultaneously enjoying the visual design of a physical book. And if you’re a fast reader, you can always adjust the speed of your audiobooks to fit your reading style better.

2. Take Notes While You Read

Taking notes while you read is another great way to help you retain auditory information better.

Note taking is great for reading physical books, but it can also strengthen your audible reading experience. By writing down important information, questions, and other details you want to remember, you may find that it’s easier to recall what you’ve just listened to.

It also serves as a great resource for going back and rediscovering information you might have missed the first time around.

3. Be Creative While You Listen

I’m a visual learner at heart, but I find it hard to focus on just one thing at a time. This is why I like playing music in the background while writing, because it helps me focus more on what I’m doing.

However, when I’m doing a task that doesn’t require as much focus as writing— like a graphic design project, for example— I like to listen to audiobooks to enhance both experiences. It boosts my creativity and my concentration.

Next time you’re doing something creative like drawing or painting, try adding an audiobook to the mix.

4. Be Active While You Listen

If your lifestyle involves a lot of physical activity, adding an audiobook to your routine might just equally improve both experiences. It gives you something to do while reading audibly and can make the act of exercising more enjoyable as well.

Next time you find yourself at the gym, on a run, or even doing a few morning stretches, I suggest listening to an audiobook. Who knows? You might love it.

5. Change the Reading Speed To Fit Your Preferences

One of my favorite things about listening to audiobooks is that you can change the reading speed to fit your preferences.

If you believe you’ll benefit from someone reading slower and more cautiously, you can change the speed to match that. It’s the same for readers who need information fed to them quickly to stay focused.

Another benefit of reading speed flexibility is that you can read books a lot faster. By having someone else read to you at a quicker speed, it saves a lot of time in the long run. This is especially helpful if you’re a student who needs to do a lot of reading for school, or if you simply have an extensive TBR list to tackle.

6. Listen to Audiobooks While Cleaning

Cleaning can be an enjoyable activity for some people, but for others, it’s just another chore.

Whether or not you enjoy cleaning, listening to an audiobook while doing so is a great way to get some reading done while completing other tasks. I’ve also found that I clean a lot more efficiently when I have something else going on at the same time, such as music, TV, and especially audiobooks.

And if you’re the type of person who absolutely dreads the act of cleaning, you might just find that audiobooks make it a bit more bearable, and even entertaining.

7. Commute With Audiobooks

Playing an audiobook while commuting to work or school is a great way to stay entertained in the car. It’s also beneficial for people who find it more difficult to focus on audiobooks while doing other things. Because the act of driving or taking public transport is so monotonous, it might be easier for you to multitask this way.

This is also a great time to get your daily reading done. If you’re a busy person like me, you know how difficult it can be to find time for your favorite books. But listening to an audiobook while commuting can be an easy way to check reading off your to-do list.

Is It Easier To Listen to Audiobooks While Multitasking?

Anyone who listens to audiobooks knows how difficult it can be to retain the information you’re taking in. While this is often the case with reading physical books, it’s easier to go back and reread things with an open book than with audio, even if you can press that 30 second backward skip button on Audible.

But does multitasking help with that?

It’s easier to listen to audiobooks while multitasking if you’re the kind of person who needs to stay busy to focus. While everyone’s learning and reading styles are different, some people can benefit from listening to a book on tape while completing other tasks to keep their attention maintained.

For example, I like to listen to audiobooks while working on graphic design projects for my business, doing puzzles on my phone, cooking, cleaning, etc.

I’ve found that doing two things at once makes it a lot easier for my brain to comprehend the information I’m taking in. It’s the same thing with watching TV; I can’t focus unless I’m doing something else, too.

While this style of information absorption isn’t for everyone, it does help a lot of auditory learners focus on what they’re reading better.

So if you’re the type of person who struggles with audiobooks, maybe pair one with some multitasking and give them another try.

Pros and Cons of Listening to Audiobooks

Here are some benefits of listening to audiobooks:

  • Audiobooks help you grow important literacy skills.
  • They boost your concentration ability.
  • They can help broaden your attention span.
  • Practicing retaining information is a great skill to have for work and studies.
  • You can read books quickly and save time.
  • They’re perfect for auditory learners.
  • You can save money.
  • Having someone read to you can help you feel comfortable with books if visual reading is difficult.
  • You can grow your book collection while taking up less physical space.
  • You can try out a book before buying a copy, and you can donate physical books you don’t read in exchange for audiobooks.

However, nothing is completely free of downsides. Here are some cons that come with listening to audiobooks:

  • It’s harder to go back and reread sentences from earlier chapters.
  • You don’t have complete imaginary control over the characters’ voices.
  • You can’t refer to maps as easily, or other resources that might be included in the book such as family trees, glossaries, etc.
  • It’s difficult to enjoy the magic of your book’s visual design, such as the cover and interior formatting (this is especially true for a lot of fantasy books, which tend to be very beautiful).
  • It’s easier to space out and lose focus.
  • You can take notes, but you can’t mark up an audiobook.
  • It’s easier to miss important details like foreshadowing.

Final Thoughts

Nothing can replace the magic of an open book in your hands. But there are times where audiobooks feel like the right choice for certain situations. While it can be difficult to absorb so much audible information at times, multitasking while doing so might just make it easier.

Happy reading!


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