My dad easily beat his fifty books challenge last year, completing more than twice as many books than me. His secret? Audiobooks. My relationship with audiobooks is very off-and-on, mainly because I don’t start any new ones, I think. Stephen Fry’s Harry Potter is my go-to when I cannot sleep, and every other year or so I listen to The Hunger Games but that’s it. I mostly listen to podcasts – Witch, Please! anyone?

Some of my favourite podcasts. Witch, Please! on the top left

The trouble with starting a completely new audiobook is that if I tune out for one minute I feel like I have missed something important. On the other hand, if I only sit on the couch and listen I start feeling listless. Here are some ideas for things to do that don’t require too much head space:

  • Crochet or knit. For some patterns you need to count much more than for others; I recommend going for a repetitive pattern to start with – unless you’re as good as some of the women at my handwork club who can knit the most intricate patterns while reading (not listening to, reading!) a book.
Some of the progress I made this year on my crocheted blanket/ pillow cover (depending on how far I get)
  • Doing the dishes or other housework. It is so much nicer to do with a podcast or audiobook on, and it makes me feel very good afterwards 😉.
  • My partner enjoys listening to podcasts on his bike. This worries me a bit because we live in a busy city and his headphones cancel out a lot of noise. However, he claims that with only wearing one it’s perfectly safe. I guess a calmer (and preferably Dutch) city makes it better too.
  • Drawing or painting. If thinking about what you want to draw or doing details is too distracting, drawing mandalas or working in a colouring book can help.

If all else fails, listening to audiobooks while travelling is always a good option. Somehow, sitting down and doing nothing feels much less irksome when I’m on a train. Perhaps because I feel like I’m already doing something useful: I’m travelling.


After reminding myself of all these things there is only one more task left: getting some audiobooks. Unfortunately they are, unlike podcasts, not available for free on iTunes. I’ve already asked my dad 😉.

If you have any tips, please leave a comment!


2 thoughts on “To do while listening to an Audiobook

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