It is a sunny, hot day. The temperatures are in the thirties. I put my sandals on and get out. Walking down an old roman road, build from hand-cut stones. Both sides of the road are planted with trees now mature. They make almost a complete arch above the road and create a shaded, cool and pleasant microclimate in the scorching heat. I walk in the middle of the road as almost no cars drive trough here.
Eventually ending up at a busy boulevard and the bus stop. It is full of people and the bus will be too. In the heat that means the tight space inside will be saturated with air lacking sufficient oxygen. But that’s ok, I am using the bus for just 3 stops and then switching to the much less crowded and more comfortable new metro.
My journey will take at least half an hour up to forty minutes. Normally that time would be spent in random glazing at the surroundings or starring at people, their movements, expressions and clothing (I do that quite a lot). My mind would be blank most of the time or filled with random thoughts, which come and go without any specific focus.
Today is different. I have headphones and the mp3 player with me. And it’s not music I am listening to. I’ve downloaded the latest serious of interviews from the self-publishing success summit initiated by Chandler Bolt, a guy in his 20s who quit university and wrote a book, which then led him to founding the self-publishing school.
I am still staring at people, but this time my mind is engaged. I am listening to some of the best self-publishing authors today. About marketing strategies, about their stories and how they ended up taking the leap – quitting their jobs and starting their own businesses. It is exciting and my mind is like on steroids with so many ideas. Ideas about products, about blog posts and also long-term opportunities that I didn’t even know existed.
Sporadically I take my phone out and write. I am not texting, I am writing down the ideas. I write them then and there because I don’t want to loose any one bit. Standing among the crowd of people that stare blankly in the same way I used to do my, now I am in my own world. Creativity and productivity skyrockets. I love it, I feel alive and inspired, positive and eager to get stuff done, to experiment and play with these ideas.
My stop. Time to get off.
No, not the movie I mean the spirit of the times. In our world time feels as if it runs on a higher gear. There is so huge amounts of information everywhere, all the time. From the moment you go to sleep till you wake up there is a whole tsunami shadowing the morning sun. A tsunami of blog posts, of statuses and whatnot. Initially you try to keep up with all of it, you try to consume all of it, but soon enough you realise two things:
- Most of the information doesn’t really add much value to your life
- It’s impossible to consume it all
So what then? – You need to become selective!
There is a kind of guilt that comes when we discard a piece of information as if we are missing out on stuff. We feel guilty that we are not keeping in touch with what’s going on. My view is that in fact, not much is going on. There are a lot of people producing activity updates, but in reality there are a small number that you actually need to follow in order to a) learn what you want to learn, b) keep up with the latest in what you are interested in.
A status update will never be as exhaustive as a detailed blog post or a book on a certain subject. A book is never going to be as up-to-date with the latest as a blog post is. There’s always a trade-off to what you follow and read, and your choice should depend on your goals and priority!
The value of podcasts and audiobooks
This is where podcasts and audiobooks come in. A the computer I normally have enough to focus on that I don’t have the time to read or study. Also the screen seems to have an effect on me. I am accustomed to work on it rather than study. It is less a space where I can go wild with ideas because there are too many familiar distractions that take my attention.
But when I walk or travel my attention is waiting to have a focus. It is freed and wandering. I can’t read while walking, or at least it’s not that safe and my speed will be slower. It is not always easy to read when you move through busses and trams because you always have to find where the last line was, what the author’s point was and it is just much harder to consistently follow the point being made.
Meanwhile the surrounding environment produces a lot of noise, noise that to me personally is not the most pleasant. This is where audio resources play a great role. I have recently discovered this new world of information and it completely changed the way I travel and commute.
I now have more time to learn and get new ideas. I thought I was busy and I had no time to read, but now I have gone through a few podcasts and with every one of them I have had new ideas about posts or business development. They have shown me ways to improve my daily life so that I can be more productive and also learn and grow.
Some good podcasts
Search for podcasts in your own interest:
Podcast apps for the phone:
On Android I am using Pocket Casts
I have found that in the history category many audobooks are free. Possibly in the other categories you can find free ones as well.
I have found myself often saying that I am too busy to read, that I don’t have time to learn new things. In the last few months thought that has changed. Reading or rather listening to podcasts and now audiobooks has expanded my knowledge. I have found better ways of doing work, relaxing and overall living. I have learned about new places, cultures and also civilizations that are not anymore.
The information I listen to is much more detailed than it would be in a short post. It adds more value to my life than reading a multitude of short updates on Facebook.
I encourage you to try one of the free podcasts or audiobooks listed above if you haven’t listened to any before. Or find some related to your interest and share it with me. Let me know if listening to them is working out for you. I.e., do you find it useful as something to do while travelling. If yes, which one is your favorite?