By: Harrison Wendland, Rengaged’s Content Manager
In 2017, when I kept hearing that the average CEO reads 50 books annually, I knew I wanted to be part of that group. I have never really been into audiobooks though. So I put myself in a position that forced me to complete audiobooks to feel productive. I am the type of person who loves productivity and feeling like all that I do is contributing to the goals and desires of mine.
I attained a delivery job where I was driving in my car 15-20 hours each week. That meant that I could listen to music, audiobooks, or nothing for the majority of the time. Being who I am, I knew it would “force” me to listen to audiobooks. So that is how it began with audiobooks. Now, I complete about 2 audiobooks to 1 print book. Most months, I complete 8 audiobooks and 4 print books.
It may seem like a lot but if you think about it, it is not too bad, I’ll get into that now.
Then I read research that showed that by listening on 2x speed rather than 1x speed your brain digests and remembers the information better. Again, me being me, I did not want to stop there. I was like wait, if I can now finish a 6-hour audiobook in 3 hours, what if I increased the speed to 3x and finished it in 2 hours, could I do that and still retain the information? Turns out, yes I can.
Quick pro tip from myself though, I did not feel comfortable at first upping the speed to 2x. I “tricked” my brain to get used to it. I would listen on 3x speed for a minute then rewind and lower to 2x, it felt sooooo slowwww which is what I needed. So that is where I am at now with audiobooks. 90% of the time I drive alone I listen to my audiobooks and I also do while cleaning, cooking, or doing laundry, it works out pretty well.
What about the print books though? Well, one the of the lectures in the 3rd section from our “From Job to Calling in 30 Days” course is about goal setting and daily actions. I decided in 2018 that I would read 20 pages nightly.
I chose 20 because I decided that 20-30 minutes each night is something that I can commit to every night. That has been wonderful, it has become a sort of meditation for me also. It helps me rewind each night, it works for me. I like to get lost in a book that can teach me something before I sleep.
Often times I learn something that resonates with me on a deep level that leads me to ponder or reflect on something valuable before I sleep. That is so so good for me because then, it enables my subconscious to go to work for me and create solutions or opportunities while my body sleeps.
Here is a typical week for me without travel. I wake up, read my Bible (book 1), write down my goals, journal (personal as well as gratitude), and hit the gym after eating and having a protein drink. I leave the house at 6:30am for a quick nearly daily workout. Then I get home, shower and prepare for the office. On the drive in, I finish about an hour worth of audiobook content in 20-25 minutes (book 2).
During the day I usually head to the office and do a variety of different work. The drive back is another hour of audiobook content. Once home, I get adjusted and get back to work. Sometimes I’ll take a break and read my current print book (book 3) or a different one (book 4). I may cook which means more audiobook time, or do laundry, or clean. Most days I work on side hustles or main hustles after office time as well, I will also spend that time to call friends and family and do personal things like blog, respond on LinkedIn or research certain things. At 9:00, I have a hard stop.
Now it is the last hour of my day, 90% of the time, and I prepare for the next day. I spend the next 15-20 minutes brushing my teeth, ironing clothes, whatever it may be. Then, I get into my book and read the 20 pages, as a minimum and call it a night by 10:00.
Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays look very similar. I may sleep in a little later than 6:00 these days if for any reason I am up past 10:00 pm during the week (I shoot for that same bedtime during the weekends).
As you can see, most of the “free time” from my 168 weekly hours is spent reading or on personal development, that is what drives me.
So, here we are, the final week in August and 77 books completed in 2018. That means that I’m on pace for over 120 (doubling the stated average for CEOs). I’m happy with that, I’ve learned a lot and progressed a lot, but knowledge is not enough by itself.
For me, there are two further parts for knowledge that is acquired.
First, we must apply the knowledge that we acquire.
Second, we must share that knowledge.
The purpose of this blog on a personal level, is to share the knowledge that I acquire, all blogs that I author intend to educate and share knowledge that I have acquired as a result of the books that I have read, and beyond that, to connect those books and other pieces with the experiences that I and others have.
This is just the intro, let’s learn together and spend some time growing as a community. If you have any recommendations for books you would like to have reviewed and included on Rengaged book blog, shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s do it, cheers!