The coffee is brewing; you’ve managed to take a quick shower and get the kids settled into their Zoom school classrooms; and you finally take a breath and sit at the kitchen table with your laptop to begin your day at the computer reading emails. But something doesn’t quite feel right. The focus isn’t there. It is tough to get your new “work from home” routine going as planned. Meditation. Deep breathing. Move the computer to a different table. Still can’t slip into your routine? Try the library for audiobooks as part of your telecommute.
When I began to have a regular thirty minute drive to work; I finally figured out how to connect my Bluetooth function on my phone with my car stereo, and began the less stressful rides by listening to audiobooks via the library's Overdrive and hoopla digital service. Now, as I have struggled, like many, to establish a regular routine in the new age of Stay at Home—I have found an amazing hack to my “telecommuting” lifestyle. Every morning, instead of sleeping that extra thirty minutes I would have spent on the road, I get up at my normal time, but I make sure before I plunge into my business to sit for a half hour and listen to an audiobook.
This carry-over aspect of my commuter life into my home office, relaxes and prepares me mentally for my daily challenges. More importantly, it re-establishes a routine, giving me a sense of normalcy. It is also a helpful noise reduction during the times when my upstairs apartment neighbor decides to practice on his electronic drum kit. At the end of my day, thirty minutes with an audio title is a great decompression tool.
Personally, I listen to nonfiction titles: historical, educational, and my favorites: memoirs—especially when they are read by the author. Last year I decided to make sure I would be the most informed voter by attempting to listen to every memoir/campaign launch title by the more than twenty democratic contenders in the race: Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s Shortest Way Home was amazing; as was Kamala Harris’ The Truths We Hold, in providing background information not provided by media.
Lately, I’ve been bingeing through musical and comedy autobiographies. Carole King’s soothing voice telling her story was bliss in her A Natural Woman; while listening to Debbie Harry struggle through incoherent thoughts in Face It was painful. Elton John’s Me, read by actor Taron Egerton—who played John in Rocket Man, I highly recommend. Egon’s hilarious impersonations of Rod Stewart and Freddie Mercury had me laughing out loud.
For Foodies, there is restaurant critic and icon Ruth Reichl's Save Me the Plums, which deliciously chronicles her years at the now sorely missed Gourmet Magazine. Desire some comedy with your politics? Senator Al Franken’s Giant of the Senate, illuminates a great deal of the processes to get legislation through Congress along with his history at Saturday Night Live. CNN’s Kamau Bell’s The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell gives an eye-opening point of view of being young and Black in today’s society with the wry sense of wit of his generation. And listening to Michelle Obama’s Becoming is like having her tell her story as if she is sitting next you, and you’ll understand why this title won her a Grammy award for it.
Between Overdrive, which can be also accessed with the Libby app, and hoopla, there are thousands of audio titles available for three week loan periods. Depending on your device, most audio titles can be streamed or downloaded in an MP3 format. I have found in the past few weeks, maybe due to the fact that people have more time to listen to audiobook recordings, the wait times for new titles is shorter. If you are running out of entertainment options and you’ve never tried listening to an audiobook before—this might be the perfect remedy to the endless gloomy news cycle.