Joanna Michałowska, a PhD student and book lover, recently told Women Love Tech that she’d been struggling to find time for new books before discovering Audible while commuting. This inspired her to build a tool that shows how many audiobooks you could listen to during your “dead” time.
“During the holidays with my friends from The Omni Calculator Project, we created an Audiobooks Calculator,” explained Joanna. “It shows how much dead time you have in a week and tells you how many audiobooks you can listen to during this passive time.
“I believe that in our time-poor and multitasking world, audiobooks are one of the best solutions. No matter how busy your life gets, audiobooks make it possible to escape some mundane tasks, learn new skills, and expand your knowledge.”
As a huge fan of audio books myself, I wanted to find out more and asked Joanna to write the below story for us. Here’s her story:
The time you spend in your car, commuting, is pretty much lost. In fact, the average US worker loses 200 h a year commuting, time that could be spent learning new skills that can actually make a difference in your life. Instead, you just sit in your car, listening to music or the radio… if only there was a radio program that would teach you exactly what you want to learn… Wait! What about audiobooks?
According to the Association of American Publishers, audiobooks are growing faster than any other format – including print and e-books. They are perfect tools to learn something new and improve your skill set without compromising your safety on the road. Moreover, in this time-poor, multi-tasking world, more of us are buying audiobooks to not quit on reading books. According to Pew Research Center survey 1 in 5 Americans listen to audiobooks. But is listening to them as effective as reading? Turns out that yes! Recent study performed by Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute showed that both activate the same parts of the brain!
Therefore, the Omni team built a tool that shows how you can convert your “dead” time into “active” time. Use our calculator and read the article below to find out what you can learn and how much you can improve when performing everyday activities.
Reclaiming your dead time
Commuting is the epitome of dead time, time lost doing nothing productive. In fact, we dislike it so much that, apparently, short commutes make us happier than having sex.
Unfortunately, commuting is not the only time wasted in our lives. From trips to the store to cleaning and washing up, we’re sure we can all relate to the feeling of having done nothing productive at the end of a long and tiring day. We’re not saying there’s no value in cleaning your house or doing the dishes (there is a lot, actually), but the value is solely in the clean house and dishes left after. The act of cleaning or going from point A to point B has no real value; it’s dead time that could’ve otherwise been used to improve yourself and the lives of those around you.
And this is where audiobooks come in – to fill that gap and turn our dead time back to living time. Reclaiming your dead time is all about creating personal growth during what would normally be wasted time. And, as you might have noticed, personal growth is a very… personal concept. So, while you might see value in learning to play the ukulele, another person might think of it as wasted time that they would rather invest in learning how to be a better husband/wife.
And that is the beauty of audiobooks, and, by extension, of this Omni Calculator. You can tune it to your own liking.
Skills & self-development
Since the democratization of books, they have been one of the best sources of knowledge and entertainment. Reading is widely regarded as an eminently positive activity and rightfully so.
It seems, though, that our modern lifestyles take up most of the time available to read and, therefore, learn. Modern society brings with it modern tools that can help offset the lack of time we suffer daily: enter the audiobook. Traditionally, books require full sensory attention to be read and understood. Such a focus activity requires exclusive dedication, which is not always possible. Listening, however, is a much simpler activity that leaves your hands and eyes free to do something else – multitasking!
Are you interested in art? Do you want to improve your diet and overall health? Or maybe you have something else you want to learn. In either case there is almost certainly an audiobook that helps you do just that.
How to use the calculator
- Input the time you have available for audiobook listening, be it during your commute, cleaning, exercising, or any other activity where your time could be made more productive by listening to an audiobook.
- Then select your area of interest. What do you want to do/learn with the time you can reclaim?
- Select your listening efficiency. How often do you get distracted to the point that you need to repeat the last minute?
- Et voila! Omni’s Reclaiming Dead Time Calculator will show you how much you can do and learn by making good use of your dead time.
What to do with your extra time
Just remember that not everything in life about efficiency, growth, and improvement. Leisure, fun, and entertainment are crucial things in every human life. So, don’t get caught up in the pursuit of perfection, and remember to enjoy yourself. There are many ways to reclaim your dead time, so do what brings you the most joy.
While trying to be more productive might be what you first think of, adding value to your life could also come in the form of listening to a good story, a fantasy novel… Heck! you can even listen to podcasts if that’s what resonates the most with you (there are podcasts for every topic imaginable, and most of them are free)!
Just make sure that whatever you do with you time you make it count. If you enjoy walking at your leisure toward a spring of fresh water, do it because you want to, not because you are thirsty 😉