Why I Prefer To Read A Book Than ‘Listen’ To It

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How long can you stay focused while listening to an audio book? A Podcast? Do you enjoy doing it? Or do you get distracted easily by things you see around, or even your own thoughts that you lose track of whatever you’re listening to?

Audiobooks are a great tool. They allow people to rest their eyes and not have to actually hold a book and read it. It’s like having a friend who reads you a book and never gets tired and complains about it.

But as good as it sounds, I don’t think I’d ever be able to finish a book by listening instead of reading. Of course, I’ve tried. And that’s why I know that no matter how convenient it is, it just doesn’t work for me.

Or maybe I just haven’t tried to do it more often. Still, the reason why I can’t is simply because I can’t seem to do it. I tried listening to Podcast episodes, too, but I can only last a few minutes. If I’m not distracted by social media, my mind would just start to run random thoughts and I’d totally forget that I was listening to something.

What usually happens is I’d be putting myself in the interviewee’s shoe while they’re sharing their story, and then I’d imagine I have my own similar story. Then, I’m no longer listening to the podcast because I’m already having my own imaginary podcast interview happening inside my head.

I seem to befriend distractions a lot

If you’ve seen my tagline for this blog, that would easily explain why I couldn’t focus when listening to audiobooks and podcasts. See that little story I shared? Stupid, isn’t it? And I don’t think that I’m mentally ill or something. Yeah, I bet. It’s just that my mind is like a running machine that continuously produces nonsense when it’s supposed to stay focused on something. What a waste of machine, right?

There’s something about reading that keeps me more focused than just hearing the words. Although another issue I have of myself is that I can be a selective reader sometimes, or most of the time. It depends what I’m reading, I guess.

If it’s something I chose to read because it caught my attention, then I’ll completely read it. But if it’s something that I’m being forced to read (ex. boring stories; guidelines, instructions from a job that I hate, etc.), that’s when I can be selective. I’d just scan through the information, just looking at the important parts just to get it over with.

It’s much worse when I’m listening. I can pay attention for a good five or ten minutes and then my mind would start taking off and just float in the air. This is probably why I fail so much at life- but that’s another story. The point is, I just don’t think listening to audiobooks- as convenient as it may seem- is effective for me to absorb and understand whatever is in the book that I wanted to read.

I’ve even seen some articles where people say they do this so they can engage in other activities at the same time such as going to the gym. What the hell? I couldn’t even be bothered when someone tries to talk to me while I’m lifting weights and counting my reps. How blessed they are for having such talent.

Maybe the only way listening to audiobooks or podcasts is effective is if you’re in a moving vehicle and you don’t wanna get dizzy while reading a book that is shaking in your hand. But I still wouldn’t find that helpful. The only times I’ve ever listened to podcast interviews were when I was transcribing them for my clients. Don’t get me wrong. The topics were really interesting and very motivational. But I’d still rather read the transcripts than listen to the conversation. (Kudos to transcribers like me out there.)

So, how do I read a book when I’m on the bus or any moving vehicle without risking getting dizzy? Simple- I don’t. If I wanna listen to something, it’s gonna be no other than music. Or I’d just watch videos on Youtube. I’d save reading for any other free time but a moving vehicle. I’d just let my imagination run around like crazy while enjoying some good music.

It’s just not for everyone

That’s right. It’s not for everyone. Maybe it’s only for people who have the skill to stay focused and listen and absorb the message that is being sent from their headset to their ears- Even while they’re out and about.

Not me. I could be listening to a great story or a very interesting podcast interview, but a simple turn of my head to check for vehicles before crossing the road is more than enough to make me forget that I’m even listening to something. I even would remove my headset just to cross the road. Yeah, I’m that cautious- Or paranoid.

Not even when I’m sitting still or lying in bed. Because it will just make me fall asleep.