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How To Consume Thrice The Information in a Third of the Time


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During the start of my Personal Development Journey, I once heard Zig Ziglar say ‘turn your car into a university on wheels’. Almost 10 years later, I’ve fully embraced that philosophy and had the pleasure of learning from some of the world’s best minds in my transit time.

The average ‘working’ person spends 1.5 – 2 hours in their car PER DAY, which translates into 40 hours per month, or 480 hours per year! This is the equivalent of 15, yes you read right – FIFTEEN – University Semester courses you could have taken!

Tim Ferriss, in the updated and expanded edition of the Four Hour Work Week which I just finished, wrote of people becoming fluent in multiple languages, just by having language learning courses in their car!! How cool is that?

In this article, I’m going to share with you how I get even more bang for my buck.

May I preface this by saying more isn’t necessarily better. In a previous blog post I spoke about learning and DOING rather than learning, then learning again. So make sure what you learn is super relevant to to what you’re doing – perhaps you want to learn the latest internet marketing techniques trends, or you’re looking to improve your dating skills. It’s all available and waiting for you to download that knowledge from your ipod to your brain – all in your ‘idle’ time.

So here’s the first step – determine the top 3-5 priorities or events in your life right now where an audio program could add value for you. It might be making money, finding a partner, getting ready for a speech, or staying ontop of the latest financial trends. As long as its super relevant to you right now, it’ll be worth your while.

Here’s an example of what NOT do: immerse yourself in programs on how to have a fantastic marriage, when you’re still single. Sure, it might be useful 10 years from now, but then again, it might never be. Consume stuff that you can use and implement immediately!

Second step is to write down all the instances where you have ‘idle’ time.
Here’s what I mean by idle time: When your body is occupied, but your mind is free.

Some specific examples in my life:

  • Driving, mp3 players/CDs in both cars
  • Showering
  • In the morning as I brush my teeth and do all my other daily routines in the bathroom
  • At the gym doing cardio and weights
  • When I’m cooking
  • Doing housework or any domestic duties like hanging washing out, dishes
  • Restringing rackets
  • On any domestic flights
  • Going for power walks at night

Here are some distinctions that I’ve honed over the years:

** I’ve purchased 5 sets of speakers (for about $40 each you can get good quality logitech ones) which I’ve placed strategically around the house, so I can plug and play with my mp3 player wherever I am and not have to worry about headphones getting in the way of whatever I’m doing (you may have to go this route though if you have housemates you need to consider).

** I then usually find the book or program I’m after, then get the SUMMARY of it. So for example, http://www.bizsum.com offers brief summaries of all the best books in hundreds of different categories. you can get the essence of an entire book in a few hours listening without having to lose months of your life reading a 350 page book on business development. If the summary isn’t in audio, I convert it using a service like TextAloud. It isn’t as good as a human voice obviously, but it is comprehensible and very consumable.

** I then use a software program to SPEED UP the audio 2-3x. Being able to listen to 6 hour program in less than 3 hours is a godsend. Warning though, it does take practise to be able to understand a sped up audio and still retain the principles you learn. It will require your full attention, so its not something you leave in the background. There are programs that do this without loss of pitch (chipmunk sound) or I sometime use my sansa and rockbox to speed up the program which does so by adjusting the pitch. It’s not as cool but definitely helps me in getting through programs FAST.

I just finished listening to Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Work Week Unabridged (over 8.5 hours) and Gary Vaynerchuk’s ‘Crush It’ (4 hours) audio books in less than 3 weeks of no extra time other than using my idle time.

So, no matter how busy you are, you still can be learning, expanding and growing. Enjoy the journey!

2 Responses to “How To Consume Thrice The Information in a Third of the Time”

  • Nick:

    Great tips West! I listen to audiobooks in the car but I haven’t thought about all the other idle time that I could use.

    The iPhone also allows you to speed up the audio up to twice as fast and it corrects the pitch.

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