One of my New Year’s Resolutions has always been to read more books. And although this has always been one of my goals, during med school it became exponentially harder. Even in college, I found the time to read occasionally (having an English Minor is great for this because you literally have to), but during the first year of Med school, while feeling totally overwhelmed, reading for pleasure, let alone for new knowledge, almost completely dropped off my radar. Med school is kind of a goal devouring beast—your time is not your own and there is so much information to take it that there is barely enough time to sleep, let alone accomplish something extra. But after trying to carry a novel around with me to catch a few sentences at a time between lectures, and piling up an accusatory stack of books on my nightstand, I finally found the solution: audiobooks.
Audiobooks are perfect because they neatly fit into every void that can’t otherwise be occupied by studying. Sure there are a handful of informational podcasts to enhance your medical knowledge, and some of them are absolutely great, but if you really want to make your time listening to these worth it, you have to be very intentional and focused about learning the information—something that is impossible while multitasking. Audiobooks, on the other hand, are low stakes. If you miss a sentence or two, or zone out during some dense world-building, so what? The experience can still be just as enjoyable.
Not only does listening to audiobooks check off one of my goals, it also serves as a springboard for productivity. As an example, nothing short of the all-hands-on-deck panic of my mother-in-law coming to visit motivates me to clean the house. But by allowing myself to spend time listening to great books, cleaning the house has actually become a study break that I actively look forward to (and I even take the time to dust!). They are also great motivators to exercise. There is a trail by my house that I walk on often, and the big thing that finally pushes me out the door is the idea that I will at least get to listen to more of my audiobook. When you decide to read a physical book, you are really tied to sitting down with absolute focus for a long period of time, but with an audiobook, the perfect occasion to read is just about infinite. Driving, folding laundry, cleaning, mowing, gardening, shopping, exercising, the list goes on and on. So if you want to read more in medical school—this is the best way I have found.