Over the course of growing up (if one can even consider me a ‘grownup’) and gaining my education, I lost what formerly was a fierce love of reading, and I became obsessed with productivity.
At some point, my days of being engrossed in a Harry Potter novel for eight hours at a time ended. Now my day is a series of tasks involving school, fitness, work and communications through email or phone.
There are probably multiple factors to blame for this lost love. Whether it is a distraction from using my phone for social media in my free time, being burnt out from having too much academic reading, or conforming with society’s general obsession with productivity rather than leisure, I cannot remember the last time I read an entire novel.
A trend among people in their 20s combines both reading and productivity. According to a Wall Street Journal article, “Audiobooks are the fastest growing format in the book business today.”
The idea of this is immediately intriguing to me.
In a QZ feature, Thu-Huong Ha writes “Audiobooks are a way for people who were once big readers to keep up with their youthful curiosity. As they find themselves with less leisure time than they had in college, the gym and the car become opportunities to be stimulated.”
Most of my classmates are similar to me and have a “sleep when you’re dead” mindset when it comes to productivity. We are a generation fearful of our downtime or moments with nothing to do.
Audiobooks are the opportunity to maximize time when that would otherwise be spent in a not explicitly productive way. In other words, audiobooks can fill car rides, workouts or even time spent getting ready in the mornings with entertainment.
Another benefit is that reading is associated with a wider vocabulary, higher intelligence level, and being a generally well-rounded person. The Audio Publishers Association reports, “We find that our users are well educated, well paid, and successful.”
QZ reports that audiobook listeners tend to be above the U.S. average when it comes to income and education.
As a former book lover who seeks knowledge and wants to stay well informed on a variety of subjects, audiobooks are the perfect opportunity to maximize growth in my life during my downtime.
“Audiobooks mean we never have to be idle," Thu-Huong Ha writes. "They’re a cure to widespread restless mind syndrome, with its daily self-imposed nagging to make progress: Be more effective, says your productivity tracker. Do and learn more, says your to-do list. Optimize your to-do list, says your faddish new notebook.”
One can even listen to an audiobook at faster speeds in order to limit distraction in pauses during the reading.
Although there is value to having downtime when the mind can wander, audiobooks are an incredibly convenient way to become more cultured and well-rounded.