A new year has just begun, time to make some good resolutions!
How do you define a “good” resolution? In my book, it has to be something that is:
You might call this the “D.RE.A.M.” approach! I’m joking around more grounded strategies of goal-setting, especially the SMART one, based on the mnemonic:
For the precise meaning of each term, please refer to Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMART_criteria. I’m substituting Attainable for Doable, and I’m leaving out Specific and Timely, and that’s with a purpose: for me, a new year resolution should not necessarily be a new goal, rather a new habit aimed at improving yourself in a broader sense. So, it hasn’t necessarily to be specific, neither it has to be timely if it’s something to be implemented from now on. Finally, I’m adding Actionable because it must lend itself to immediate and definite action, for being effective. “I want to lose 4 Kg in a year” is doable, realistic and measurable, but the course of action is too undefined. Add to it “so I’m going to have a look at the gym programs and then enlist” to get something you can do tight now.Well, my new resolutions will not be to write fewer typos, as you might have started to think after reading the title of this post. I’d rather prefer to improve what I do with my ears, in the sense that I’d like to listen more to podcasts and audiobooks to improve myself and expand my knowledge.
Well, my new resolutions will not be to write fewer typos, as you might have started to think after reading the title of this post. I’d rather prefer to improve what I do with my ears, in the sense that I’d like to listen more to podcasts and audiobooks to improve myself and expand my knowledge.
The main reason behind this strategical resolution lies in the fact that I spend more or less an hour a day in my car commuting to and from work, five days per week, not counting occasional trips to the grocery or other commissions. This adds up to five solid hours per week of listening time: not bad if you consider that many audiobooks have a running time of about 7-8 hours. I could read two books on average per month, 24 per year! This number for me is HUGE!
Let me set something straight: when I write “read a book,” you might say that listening is not reading and that listening in the car is not the same to reading in a silent library. Frankly, I don’t care: I’ve read lots of books in my life, in every possible situation: comics between work meetings, quantum mechanics while queuing for concert tickets, Sherlock Holmes on my phone in the supermarket, business analysis techniques while waiting for my children to end their figure skating training session. Listening to something clearly and beautifully voiced will not be something uncomfortable for sure. As for the absorption of the material, I think that, even on paper, reading is not automatically equivalent to studying, which would surely be harder to do with an audiobook, but that’s not my goal either. I can always go back and study old-style-lean-on-the-book-at-the-table whatever topic caught my attention during the listening. Lastly, reading 20 books a year would, at present, be a 10x multiplier for my current reading score. That’s more than enough reason for me; I’m sold!
So, let’s write a quick action plan:
- Perform a test run with an audiobook:
- Get an audiobook in .mp3 format
- Install the app “Bookmobile” on my phone (http://freshmowed.com/bookmobile.html)
- Start listening to it the next morning during commute
- If the test goes well, add these steps:
- Repeat the above three steps ad libitum
- Consider getting an Audible account at http://www.audible.com/ (Audible is an Amazon company devoted to audiobooks and offers a subscription-based service)
- Try listening at 1.5x or 2x speed, I’ve read that it’s not hard to follow and may help getting more bang for the bucks
- Experiment with different earplugs: maybe regular ones for driving (to be able to hear horns and sirens), and in-ear isolating plugs for other environments, like the cafeteria (warning: you may look like an aspiring sociopath), washing dishes, on the bus and the likes.
- If the test doesn’t go well, identify the reasons and act on them one by one before trying again (no, I don’t usually give up the first time, neither the second nor the third). It could be anything:
- Bad audiobook
- Volume or other audio-related issues
- Car is too noisy
- Too many worried thoughts
- Something else
- Freely alternate between audiobooks and podcasts.
For this last item, I’m currently in love with the Time Ferriss Show (http://fourhourworkweek.com/podcast/). Some episodes are nothing less than mind-boggling, and the guests are fantastic (among them, Derek Sivers, Tony Robbins, Dom D’Agostino, Kevin Costner and many others). I’m not yet done listening to all the episodes, and the list is ever expanding, but I’d like to hear from you about possible alternatives, just for the sake of variety.
Before leaving, some more resolutions for myself:
- No work at home, unless absolutely necessary (this may require an increase in efficiency at work, not a bad thing)
- Going to the gym twice a week for treadmill and elliptical
- Doing push-ups and abdominal exercises daily
- Try to improve my Spanish via https://www.duolingo.com/
- Work on some secret postponed projects
The last one is the less measurable; maybe it would be better to devise a metric for it before shooting off.
In the next post, I’ll continue the work started in my “Front-end, Back-end, Week-end” post and continued in two others about getting acquainted with Evernote.
Have you got any other advice you’d like to share? Post a comment below!
Until next time, I wish you a fantastic 2016!