The secret of multi-tasking during your morning jog!

You know that feeling, right? That feeling when you have a really interesting book in hand and don’t want to put it down… and just finish it in one reading.

But life has other plans and you manage to put it down. And read it say, through a week, when you get the time. Away from multiple screens that scream for your attention.

But, consider this. What if I told you that you could read the book without making dedicated time for it – to sit down, hold the book and read it?

I’m a big proponent of multi-tasking… rather simul-tasking or parallel-tasking. I’d like to think about something else while doing completely something else, but would like to give my attention to both in the percentage that each deserves – say, 85% to what I am doing and 15% to the other thing I’m thinking about.

Now, consider this. What if I told you that you could enjoy a book while doing something completely unrelated?

Hold that thought!

Ever since I remember, I have been a HUGE fan of science fiction. But I did not start reading actual science fiction until after college and into my first job. My first ever science fiction book was Douglas Adams’ (understandably!) The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy. And it remains my all-time favorite even today.

I have graduated to other forms of science fiction ever since and only recently completed Asimov’s Foundation series. It is very, very difficult to allocate time for reading anyway, these days. Add to that… I’m a very slow and pensive reader, in the printed book form. Online, I seem to be reading and assimilating much faster.

But, there are so many science fiction books out there to consume that I feel one lifetime clearly isn’t enough.

Hold this thought too! Please!

I jog/walk in the pre-dawn, every morning. There’s this lovely, lovely lake near my home in Bangalore that has a rudimentary jogging track around it. The local authorities are hell-bent in making it more useful only an inch a day, nothing more. But it works for me. The clean and fresh air of pre-dawn, from 6-7am, is enough to make me wake up at 5:30am every day.

But, like most people who force themselves into some kind of workout or exercise in the morning, I find myself occasionally uninterested in this early morning routine. It is difficult, particularly in a city like Bangalore when early morning sleep is so enjoyable in the nice chill of the morning.

I used to use music as an enthusiasm driver to kick myself out of the bed and start the jog. But there are so many kinds of music and it is time consuming to make a playlist that I like, day after day. Sometimes a boring song comes in the way and I find myself fiddling with my phone to change to something else than run. This is clearly annoying.

Now, bring those two thoughts you held, earlier!

I consume a book while I run, these days!

Yes, the secret sauce is audiobooks!

I can’t imagine myself reading something with a book in hand while jogging in the dimly lit lake track at 6am. But I can sure load an audiobook on my Galaxy S2 and run it parallel to Runstastic and consume the book.

It is terribly, terribly exciting and satisfying!

These days, I wake up enthusiastically thinking of what Ender would go through, for an hour, that day. The run is almost secondary and incidental. It seems to happen on its own, in the background. I find myself more interested in listening to the book that the act of running has gone into the backdrop much like how one takes for granted the act of driving a car after one has sufficiently mastered it. Music did not work like this. Audiobooks work wonderfully well!

By the way, the Ender in the previous paragraph is from Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, the amazing, current book that I’m so thoroughly into.

I never imagined I’d be simul-tasking during my morning jog. Music was something incidental to running, when I used it. But to actually push the running to the background and do something actually productive… this is incredible!

And a smartphone is that perfect device to achieve this! It just works like clockwork – Runtastic records my run while Smart Audiobook Player does the trick for the audiobook (from Audible) so wonderfully well.

I completed the entire Foundation series earlier, solely on audiobook version. I had initial worries about the kind of voice that reads out and the pace in which he/she is reading it. But I have come to adjust myself to any speed and any voice. So much that conventional reading feels like a massive waste of time! It is actually doing one thing at a time!!

I’m exaggerating of course, but you get the drift, I suppose.

A workout is usually a mundane, pushed activity. It is important and good for the yada, yada, yada, but in real life, one needs to motivate himself (herself) to be at it, day after day. And audiobooks seem to be (at least me) the way to make it happen in such a way that the focus turns completely away from the strenuous run and to actually doing something interesting, enjoyable and useful!

I can’t think of a better ROI for my smartphone than this!

Audiobook pic courtesy Joe Winkler’s lovely post on… what else… audiobooks!

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  1. Parvathy Shankar
    Parvathy Shankar at | | Reply

    It is a very nice read Karthik. Should try to motivate myself based on this.Thanks for sharing

  2. Srini
    Srini at | | Reply

    Which plan of Audible have you subscribed to? Any truth to the rumour that “a major online vendor” would start selling audio books in India soon?

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