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Things to Do While Listening to an Audiobook

Sarah S. Davis

Staff Writer

Sarah S. Davis holds a BA in English from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master's of Library Science from Clarion University, and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Sarah has also written for Electric Literature, Kirkus Reviews, Audible, Psych Central, and more. Sarah is the founder of Broke By Books blog and runs a tarot reading business, Divination Vibration. Twitter: @missbookgoddess Instagram: @Sarahbookgoddess

I’ve recently become obsessed with listening to an audiobook and doing other things at the same time. While I definitely believe an audiobook performance should be savored, sometimes staring into space makes me zone out and lose focus on what I’m reading/a.k.a. listening. So lately I’ve solved the problem by coloring in a coloring book and playing jigsaw puzzle games on my iPod.

A page from my "Doctor Who" coloring book, which I've been using to multitask while listening to audiobooks.

A page from my “Doctor Who” coloring book, which I’ve been using to multitask while listening to audiobooks.


Many rioters are audiobook junkies, so I figured I’d ask them what they do while listening to audiobooks. Here’s a rundown on what activities you can do while listening to audiobooks.


I use audiobooks as a way to get through otherwise mundane tasks. Cleaning my kitchen, doing the dishes, cleaning out my car…and especially emptying the kitty litter.  I actually find myself looking forward to having these menial tasks to complete, because it means I’ll get more books into my skullpiece!

Elizabeth Allen


I had a few too many kitchen mishaps while cooking dinner and reading a book so praise hands emoji for audiobooks. Although now, hypothetically, if I were to forget to add the water to the rice cooker I would have nothing to blame the super crunchy black rice cake on.

Jamie Canaves

Any solo activities

I listen to audiobooks on my iPhone whenever I pursue activities that don’t require words. When I drive, walk, or bike. When I eat alone, I listen while I cook, eat, and clean up. I also listen while  doing mindless household chores. And when I wake up in the middle of night and can’t sleep, I ask Alexa to put on my audiobook. Then there are times when I really love a story, I’ll play my audiobook through AirPlay to my surround sound system, sit in my easy chair and stare at a blank TV screen, listening like it’s an old-time radio program. I’ll play it loud. Then the characters feel like they are standing in the room.

— James Wallace Harris

Walking the dog

I would never clean my house if I didn’t have audiobooks to keep me company. They are the only thing that can take my mind off scrubbing the bathtub or whatever joyous household work I’m doing. Also, my dog is the slowest walker in the entire world, so I listen to audiobooks while she smells every leaf and blade of grass on our outings. (Sometimes I try to read and walk her at the same time but that’s ended poorly on several occasions.)

Katie MacBride

Home Repairs

Recently, I’ve been helping my parents prep their house to sell, which has required a lot of manual labor: installing stair rails on the back deck, painting, fixing cracks in walls, nailing up missing fence posts. I’ve happily undertaken all of this work that I would normally grumble about doing because I’ve got a great audiobook in my ears. While I love listening to my audiobook while driving or cooking or doing other mundane household tasks, there’s nothing that makes digging post holes easier than a great mystery on audio.

— Rachel Manwill


I started listening to audiobooks because I had a 45 minute one-way commute and couldn’t stand radio DJs and commercials. Now, most of my “reading” is audiobooks because I have a full-time job and write books under two names. I listen while driving to work and errands, of course, but also while cooking, doing laundry, walking my dog (while also playing Pokemon Go—triple-tasking!), and the rare days I use the elliptical at the gym (only on the weeks I can’t get in a couple of volleyball games). If I’m really loving it, I end up listening in my car in parking lots until the Florida summer heat makes sitting there any longer unbearable.

— Sarah Nicolas

Driving and Walking

I listen to audiobooks while driving or taking a walk. I end up driving long-ish distances (in Miami, that’s anything 20 minutes or more) for nearly everything because of my relative location to family, pals, work, and preferred markets. I’m trying to make it a habit to listen at home too, though. Maybe I’ll follow Sarah’s lead and listen to books while coloring or cleaning/organizing.

— Kristina Pino

While Falling Asleep

I listen to audiobooks in the car, while out walking, and if it’s an awesome book, in the shower. But my favorite thing to do while listening is fall asleep. Yep, every night after my eyes are too tired to read paper, I turn off my light, stick my earbuds in, snuggle in, set the Audible app’s sleep timer for 8 or 15 or 30 minutes, and drift off.

— Jessica Tripler

Working (in the gym and office)

Anytime is the best time to listen to audiobooks! I listen while I’m working out at the gym. I listen in the car, on public transportation, at work drowning out crazy coworkers and office gossip! As much as I love listening right before I go to bed, I often have to wake up and rewind to the last part I remember…I know it’s bad, but audiobooks are so good. It’s so worth it.

— Christina Vortia

What do you like to do while listening to an audiobook? Leave a comment below!