6 Low-Intensity Moments for Audio Learning

Audio learning is a good way to increase our quality of time. Rather than just doing one thing, why don’t we couple it with audio learning so that we can get more value out of the time? Of course, not every moment can be coupled with audio learning. If the task we do demands focus and undivided attention, coupling it with audio learning will only distract us and reduce the quality we produce.

Audio learning But there are tasks that do not require full focus. The moments when we do such tasks are low-intensity moments, and they are ideal for audio learning.

After not doing it for some time, recently I tried to get back to audio learning, and the first step I did is recognizing the low-intensity moments that could be used. Whenever such moments come, I would then remind myself to upgrade it with audio learning.

Here are some low-intensity moments you could use for audio learning:

1. Commuting

Whether you drive or take public transport, commuting usually doesn’t require much attention. You can always use audio learning to upgrade such otherwise low-quality moments. Besides podcasts, audio books are good alternative. In fact, some people “read” more books through audio books than printed books.

2. Computer time

When you are on your computer but are not doing serious work, you can couple it with audio learning. The software I (and many people) use is iTunes that conveniently downloads my podcasts. My favorite feature in iTunes is its ability to remember the last spot I listened to in case I needed to leave the podcast in the middle.

3. Queuing

Queuing time is obviously low-quality time in which we do practically nothing. Reading and audio learning are both attractive ways to better use the time.

4. Doing chore

Since cleaning your house or doing other chores may take considerable amount of time, you can learn a lot over time if you use the time for audio learning.

5. Exercising

This is my favorite moment for audio learning. Though I don’t spend much time exercising, it’s enough to listen to short podcasts.

6. Eating

This doesn’t apply when you eat with someone. But, when you eat alone, audio learning is a good way to increase the quality of time. 


The nice thing about using these low-quality moments is you don’t have to spend any extra time. You simply upgrade the quality of the existing time. Furthermore, though listening to a podcast episode at a time may seem small, over time they will add up to something significant. Let’s say I exercise 3 times a week and listen to one podcast episode each time. In one month I will have listened to 12 episodes and in one year I will have listened to 144 episodes. Not bad considering that I don’t spend any extra time for it. 

So which one is your favorite moment for audio learning and why? Or perhaps you have other favorite moments I didn’t mention?

Photo by Richard Moross


  1. While I certainly agree with the idea of using low-intensity situations to partake in audio learning, I think there is something to be said about silence and introspection. Some of my most beneficial thinking and problem-solving happens while working out, for example. Being unplugged lets my mind wander and work out any problems that may be plaguing me.

    The benefits of audio learning are very real, but don’t discount the value of a little bit of silence.

  2. I agree with Sam somewhat. I have definitely used commuting and driving time as a great time to listen to audio books (sometimes novels I admit). Some of the other situations listed also seemed like good ideas.

    However I disagree with the exercising and with eating.I used to eat alone a lot, but personally I would rather listen to some enjoyable music, usually some sort of relaxing acoustic or classical music. Sometimes I read a book also (novels + nonfiction). For exercising, I find that listening to music is much more effective. Having the right mix of songs to listen to can be a) motivating and b) help you keep a rhythm if you are running or something else like that. I also find that I get more out of exercise if I am conscious of the exercising that I’m doing. With an audio book I lose that consciousness, but with music or silence I regain it.

  3. Sam and Ann,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    You are right about the value of silence. Not every low-intensity moments should be used for audio learning. Thinking and introspection are also good ways to use such moments.

    Not all moments work for everyone. I think the key is to find the moments that best suit our condition and preferences. I’m glad you’ve found yours.
    By the way, your point “I get more out of exercise if I am conscious of the exercising” is interesting. Looks like I should learn more about it.

  4. @Donald: I recently commented that “I get more out of exercise if I am conscious of the exercising that I’m doing.” I should state that I don’t have any scientific data to back that up, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s out there.

  5. Ann,
    Thanks for the reply. It will be interesting if we have the data for that.

  6. I just did some research and it seems that there is most likely a correlation between “mindfulness” or “awareness” during exercise and several positive things.

    improved mood
    improved learning and performance for vocalists (when using a method for singing and practice)
    lengthening of hamstring muscles

    and “task-specific self-talk appears to have a beneficial effect on physical performance.”

    If anyone wants the titles and authors of the studies I gathered this information from please let me know.

  7. I am training myself to use my daughter’s MP3 player. We always listen to storybook CDs in the car going to and from school. And it is not easy to switch CD around so I am learning to use the MP3 player. I listen to it (in one ear only) while driving to pick up the kids from school and while waiting to from them to come out of class. I have been known to listen to podcasts while grocery shopping.

    In most cases it is just a matter of thinking outside the square.


  8. Leona,

    In most cases it is just a matter of thinking outside the square.

    I agree. There are many creative ways to do audio learning if we think outside the square.

  9. This post caught my attention with your phrase “low intensity moments.” A few weeks ago in my blog I coined the phrase “high density audios” to describe certain kinds of audio content that is worth playing over and over again. Dense philosophical works, Bible chapters, poetry, and so on are examples of such “high density” content.

    My theory is that at any given moment my subconscious mind is preoccupied with issues that it is trying to resolve (family, job, success, happiness, spouse, etc.). And these issues whirl around and pop-up in response to outside stimuli, such as a great new idea that seems to match up as a potential solution.

    So, practically speaking, I use my favorite “low intensity moments” (my exercising) to listen to “high density” content (currently, it’s James Allens “As a Man Thinketh” or Brian Johnson’s “50 Things I’m Going to Do Today” from LearnOutLoud). The very cool things I’m finding are: 1) I seem to find at least one new and different idea that “pops out” as a solution to an unresolved issue each time I listen to one of these high density items (so it’s always time well spent), 2) I have completely let go of the idea of trying to comprehend one of these high density items fully at one, or even several, listening sessions — instead, I just let them wash over me and get what I can, and 3) My “low intensity” moments have been transformed from tedious chores into gratifying personal growth experiences.

    Now that I’ve read your post, I think I’ll try your other suggested “low intensity” moments (doing chores, standing in line at the post office, etc.). Thanks for the new ideas!

  10. Michael,
    Yours is a creative way to do audio learning. In fact, it sounds more like “audio thinking” to me because it helps us solve the issues we currently face. Thanks for sharing this insight!

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