I used to be a reading machine. I guess I still read a lot compared to most people; however, I don’t read nearly as much as I would like.
I honestly believe my ability to focus for long periods of time has been compromised due to the overflow of information we receive on a daily basis.
As this tweet suggests, our attention is polluted by texts, stupid breaking news updates, tweets, emails, calls and everything else.
I have a new strategy that seems to help improve this situation.
I buy both the Kindle version and the Audible version of important books. When I’m in the car or walking the dog, I listen to the book on Audible. When I’m able to read, I read the Kindle version of the same book. Thankfully, these two versions automatically sync together, which means you can easily pick up exactly where you left off the last time you were reading or listening to the same book.
It also seems as if the Audible book only costs $1.99, if you already own the same Kindle book. This additional $1.99 investment ends up saving a massive amount of time.
The second, and most important, part of this approach is that I rarely listen to podcasts anymore. I love podcasts, but I’ve come to the conclusion that they’re a distraction, at least for me.
The reason why I believe podcasts are now distraction is because they pull our focus away from what is important to us.
Let’s say you’re in the middle of a great book, and you hear about a good podcast. You start listening to the podcast and now you’re attention is diverted. More than likely, you’ll hear about another book, or another great podcast IN the podcast you’re listening to, and you’ll end up going to that new book or podcast.
The great book you previously started just sits there and you never come back to it.
The behavior is very similar to what my dog does when we’re hiking in the woods.
She’ll be running to smell something when she’ll catch the scent of something else, and she immediately changes course to the new scent. She is unable to focus on any one scent.
I laugh when I watch this happen, but then I end up doing the exact same thing myself.
I’ve only been using this new approach for three weeks, and have already finished:
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight (great book)
Black Edge – the story of hedge fund trader Steve Cohen (Based on the life of Bobby Axelrod in Billions)
A Man for All Markets by Ed Thorpe (Details how to get the “edge.”)
The crazy part is that I had purchased the Kindle versions of Shoedog and Black Edge several months ago, and didn’t get very far in either book. I got distracted by something else and forgot about them.
If you’re struggling getting through books like me, give this strategy a try. I think you’ll find that it will be a game changer for you.
NOTE 1: You can speed up the book when listening on Audible. I usually listen to books at 1.5 speed. This helps a lot, too.
NOTE 2: If you’re listening to a book and come to an interesting part that you’d like to revisit, just take a screenshot of where you’re at, and you’ll be able to easily find this in the Kindle version where you can go through it again.