As many of you may know, I’m an audiobook junkie. Due to my attitude towards the use of time, reading physical paper and ink books is difficult. I feel uncomfortable using my time in that way. If friends give me books, I start to read them, but usually by the time I reach page twenty I’ve either decided that the book is not worth my time, or that the book is worth getting on Audible. If an audio version is not available, I either pass the book on, or keep it for those rare occasions when I feel comfortable with the idea of reading.

Anyhow, I’m lucky to have a fellow audiobook junkie here in Tokyo – someone with whom I can swap recommended listens. Recently, he recommended ‘Manage your tune, Master your life‘ by Robin Sharma, a very short audiobook that had helped him make some positive changes. I downloaded it this morning (in addition to Obama’s speech which is available for free), and listened to it whilst on the train to the city office.

In brief, Robin points out just how precious our time is, and how important it is that we do not postpone the things that matter most to us. He gives practical advice – one suggestion being to join the 5am club. Having started my own 6am club last week, I can vouch for the amazing difference it makes to have an extra hour in the morning. Whereas many people wake up and find that they are chasing their day before it’s even started, if you get up that little bit earlier, you will find that not only can you get a ton of stuff done before the daily routine begins, but also that you entire day will be more orderly and productive. From experience, I’d say that’s very true.

Listening to Robin’s session today, I was finally compelled to do something that I’ve been wanting to do for about a month now but have been lacking in courage to face – quit one of my part-time teaching jobs. I love the students (and judging by the emotional scenes tonight the feeling was mutual), and found myself learning a lot through working there. But (as I mentioned last night) I’ve got other projects that represent my passion, and the feeling of frustration in not being able to make time to pursue them has reached epic proportions.

It was funny though. When I gave them notice this afternoon, I felt compelled to re-write my email and explain why I was quitting, and pass on some of the advice from the audiobook. I talked about 2009 being the Year of Change. I wasn’t entirely sure why, I’d only ever exchanged very short emails with them about scheduling. But next thing I knew, the member of staff who deals with foreign teachers was asking me to come in a bit early – they needed to talk to me. It turned out they since last week they have been at exactly the same crossroads as me. There were further emotional scenes.

I think we humans are pretty good at knowing when we’re not acting in harmony with spirit. If we practice being in touch, we can tell if a job is no longer in congruence with our true paths. But taking that next step – causing inconvenience and possibly upset, stepping into the unknown in the face of (sometimes strong) opposition from those around us, is incredibly hard sometimes. But it has to be taken if we’re to move forward.

I’m glad I took that step today. In the grand scheme of things it was insignificant, but carries a lot of meaning for me as I continue on my journey.

5 Responses

  1. I’ve recently been listening to a few audiobooks being unable to get hold of their paper counterparts out here in the middle of nowhere. But I found it difficult to do something else and pay proper attention to the audiobook at the same time! Can I ask why you feel that paper books are more of a time waster? I feel I can read a book a lot quicker than the time it takes to listen to it in audio form and read whenever I am on long journeys.

  2. thanks for your comment cherrysherbet 🙂

    I started listening to audiobooks when I was doing my gardening job, and it was that combination of physical ‘no brain’ activity and mental stimulation that got me hooked. I still associate Norwegian Wood with weeding the paths between the vegee beds.

    I only listen to audiobooks if I’m doing a no-brain activity, such as washing up, walking around Tokyo, being on the train, editing photographs, cleaning the house. If I start doing anything that requires proper thinking (such as checking emails) then I usually stop the book. In this way, I feel that I am making the most of my time – learning AND doing whatever brainless task needs doing.

    I don’t think of reading books in general as being a ‘waste of time’ – it’s just not for me. I admire people who are able to make time for it.

    I guess the thing is is that I have chosen to prioritise everything else over reading books. Thus, if I read books it feels that I am procrastinating, and not doing what ‘needs to be done’ in order for me to complete my priority actions.

    Another reason I don’t like reading books (and I think this is a key reason) is that I use my eyes for reading (computer screens) so much already that I want to give them a break whenever I can.

    It was interesting at New Year when I did make time to start reading a book – it was such as novel (!) experience that I kept stopping and thinking, “Wow, I really AM on holiday!”