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35 Non-Distracting Things to Do While Listening to an Audiobook

Last Updated on August 18, 2023 by Louisa

Listening to audiobooks is a great way to relax and unwind, and with the added benefit of plugging in your headphones, your hands are free to do some other tasks while you listen!

But you might find that some activities are more distracting than others when listening to an audiobook, and you don’t want to miss any of the story, right?

If you want to make the most out of your audiobook listening time but don’t want to miss a beat, then these are some of the best things to do while listening to audiobooks that won’t distract you from the book?

Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through any of these links. 

Things to Do While Listening to an Audiobook

From simple activities like doing laundry or cleaning the house, to enjoying a glass of wine or taking your dog for a walk – these are some simple ways to multi-task whilst also making the most of your audiobook experience!

1. Make a cup of tea or coffee to enjoy while you listen

make a tea while listening to audiobooks

Making a cup of tea or coffee while listening to your favorite audiobook allows you to keep your hands busy, whilst you listen intently to your story.

Whether it be a cozy morning with the smell of freshly brewed Earl Grey, or taking in the aroma of herbal tea during an afternoon break, setting aside this ritualistic time could become an inspiring ritual that adds to any activity.

Let your audiobook refuge blend in with a treasured cup of warm beverage for amazing sensations.

2. Take notes as you listen so you can refer back to them later

Taking solid notes while listening to an audiobook is a great way to listen intently and also make good use of your time.

Whether you want to write down some of your favorite quotes or perhaps you heard an important fact or detail, grab a pen and paper and write it down to refer back to later.

Taking notes may seem like a pointless task, but the practice in itself can really help you stay focused and comprehend more of what’s going on.

And when you want to tell your friends about your audiobook later, you will thank yourself for writing it down. So many of us are guilty of relying on our often unreliable memories!

3. Follow along with the text (if you can)

follow the text while listening to audiobooks

If you have Kindle Unlimited, you are gifted with this unique feature where you can read and listen at the same time.

If your audiobook is non-fiction, or even study-based, then following along with the text is a great way to help the information sink in!

There’s something about actually reading the material that helps to lock it into our memory banks better than just listening or watching alone.

Even if you’re listening to an audiobook for enjoyment, think of it like “studying”.

Highlight keywords or write notes in the margins as you go. It’s definitely an old-fashioned approach but it works! So get those highlighting pens ready and hit play!

Related reading: Is Kindle Unlimited Worth It?

4. Pause frequently to think about what you’ve heard so far

So you might be thinking of keeping your hands busy or doing something productive when listening to an audiobook, but one of the top things you can do while listening to an audiobook is press the pause button.

Taking regular pauses in an audiobook allows you to really think about what’s being and make sure you’re processing the information correctly.

After all, no one wants to misunderstand something. Pausing gives you the chance to ask questions, look up information and deeply understand what you’ve just read.

5. Bake a Victoria Sponge Cake

bake a cake while listening to audiobooks

While baking is an activity that requires some level of focus, baking a Victoria Sponge cake is the easiest and most uncomplicated cake to make, you could do it with your eyes closed…okay, well, maybe you need your eyes open for this one.

If you’re someone who loves baking but doesn’t want it to interrupt their audiobook listening, try baking it using the simple old-wives trick: The 2:2:2:4 rule.

That’s 200g of self-raising flour, 200g caster sugar, 200g softened butter and four beaten eggs.

If you want, you can add 1 tsp baking powder and 2 tbsp milk to make it more moist and fluffy.

And that’s it! Since you are measuring all the same weights, it doesn’t require much focus.

6. Catch up on House Work

If you want to start multitasking with an audiobook, why not schedule some time for some light housework?

Listening and doing something productive is the perfect way to get more out of your time.

Whether it’s cleaning up around the house, tidying your desk, decluttering your bookshelf, polishing your ornaments, or hoovering the floor, completing these tasks allows you to keep your hands busy while your ears focus on your audiobook.

7. Go for a Run

We all know that exercise has endless benefits, but the great thing about running is that you can put in your headphones and zone out to an audiobook.

Not only can you focus on the words, but the narrator’s voice can set the pace for your run. Sometimes when listening to music, you find yourself unknowingly running too fast and getting out of breath.

But with audiobooks, the narrators usually have a steady pace, which allows you to run for longer.

8. Take a road trip

Driving while listening to an audiobook is not for everyone, you really need to be confident with your driving in order to put the stereo on – and you should never take your mind off the road.

But we are all guilty of singing along to tunes whilst driving, especially on a road trip. But music can be too distracting, so try opting for an audiobook instead.

Listening to an audiobook whilst on a road trip helps make the time go faster and also encourages you to take more breaks. Pull over after a chapter or two and stretch your legs.

The average length of a chapter on an audiobook is 45 minutes, and it’s recommended that you take a break every 2 hours, so after 2-3 chapters, it’s time to pull over.

9. Do a Jigsaw Puzzle

If you’re a fan of puzzles, why not try tackling one while listening to an audiobook?

Puzzles are a great way to kill time and also have something therapeutic and calming to do, especially on a rainy day.

Doing a puzzle can help give that extra bit of concentration to the words being said whilst also keeping your hands busy.

Read more: Tips On How to Get Out of a Reading Slump

10. Doodle in a journal

Drawing or doodling in a journal is another great way to keep your hands occupied while you listen to an audiobook.

Doodling helps keep your mind on a task, such as listening to an audiobook, without losing focus.

It also helps reduce stress and allows you to use your creativity. It’s one of the best things to do while listening to an audiobook for creative people.

11. Relax on a beach

Whenever I visit the beach, I like to enjoy sunbathing and catching some rays.

Listening to an audiobook while sunbathing on the beach is not only a great way to keep your mind occupied while you tan.

You can also set a timer on your Audible account, so after 10 minutes your audiobook will shut off and that’s your que to turn over – or to go look for some shade.

Read more: Is Audible Worth It? An Honest Review [2023 Edition]

12. Go for a hike

Hiking is a great way to stay active, enjoy being in nature and take your mind off the stresses of daily life.

If you need to keep your mind focused on something, an audiobook is a great way to keep your mind focused on something while your body enjoys the workout and fresh outdoors.

13. Try your hand at embroidery

Another great multi-tasking activity you can do while listening to an audiobook is embroidery.

Embroidery requires attention to detail and also practices mindfulness. As yu focus your hands on the feel of the thread, concentrating on the pull of fabric and the position of the needle, your mind slips into a kind of trance.

Embroidery is a theraputic activity, and after a while, you can zone out while you work – so why not concentrate your mind on an audiobook while your hands are at work?

14. Get into Quilting

Quilting is another great craft to do while listening to an audiobook. It requires little attention and the repetitive motion makes you feel at ease.

If you do put on an audiobook while you work, try sticking in some headphones so you can hear the story over the sound of the machine.

15. Painting by Numbers

I used to love painting by numbers as a kid – it kept me occupied for hours! As an adult, I also still enjoy this enjoyable craft while listening to an audiobook.

Painting by numbers is a craft that takes patience and time. Choose a number and paint each piece one by one, whilst listening to your favorite stories.

It can easily become your favorite evening hobby.

16. Enjoy an Adult Coloring Book

Another way to practice mindfulness whilst listening to an audiobook is to color in a coloring book.

Researchers have shown that coloring can help reduce stress, calm the mind, and induce an meditative state. And of course, help your motor skills.

If your mind is feeling anxious or stressed, and your finding it hard to concentrate on your favorite audiobook, settle into a coloring book for 5-10 minutes before hitting play and you’ll find it much easier to concentrate.

17. Try knitting or crochet

If you know how to knit or crochet, you’ll probably find that it’s something you can do while binging your favorite TV show or a movie, but you can also try listening to an audiobook at the same time instead.

I wouldn’t recommend listening to an audiobook when you’re just starting out, as you need to concentrate on counting stitches and figuring out what to do – but once you get the hang of it, it’s a great way to keep your hands busy!

18. Do some yoga

Another meditative thing to do while listening to audiobooks is yoga. Yoga helps improve your body strength and also induces a meditative state, where your mind feels more relaxed and calm.

Listening to an audiobook while doing yoga is a great way to take advantage of this calm mental state, and also keeps you active while you listen.

19. Play with a fidget spinner

If you want to listen to an audiobook but need to keep your hands occupied, grab yourself a fidget spinner.

Fidget Spinners are commonly used by people with ADHD, but I think we can all benefit from their uses from time to time.

They are used to increase concentration and focus your attention.

20. Listen on your commute to work

Going to work is boring, but an audiobook can make that commute feel a little different every time you do it.

Sometimes falling into a routine, such as taking the same route to and from work, can have you feeling a little down in the dumps sometimes.

Put on an audiobook and that commute suddenly becomes different each day, even though the route is the same.

21. Go to an Art Museum

go to an art museum while listening to audiobooks

Art Museums are the perfect place to listen to an audiobook, especially if you are going alone.

Admiring artwork is a peaceful activity – it’s just you and the art, admiring its beauty, intricacy and details.

But what’s really annoying about art museums?


There’s always one person who feels the need to talk loudly and their voice is projected throughout the entire gallery.

I get it, museums are not libraries, but we can all agree it’s annoying.

Block that annoying person out and plug in an audiobook.

22. Do some gardening

If it’s a warm sunny day, head out into the garden and do some outdoor chores while listening to an audiobook.

Whether you need to mow the lawn, pull up weeds, plant seeds or trim the hedges. These are all mindless tasks that you can do while listening to an audiobook.

23. Take a bath

One of the most relaxing things to do while listening to audiobooks is take a hot bubble bath.

Get yourself a bath bomb, a glass of wine, some scented candles, and enjoy a long soak while you listen to an audiobook.

Get yourself a portable speaker rather than listen through headphones though. Y’know, for safety.

24. Go shopping

Whenever I’m shopping, I always like to put on an audiobook and block out the yells and noises of other shoppers.

I’ve also noticed when I have headphones in and I’m listening to a story, shop assistants don’t bother me – win!

Yes, I am aware that this is a little antisocial, but sometimes we all need time to ourselves and our book boyfriends.

25. Go to the Gym

Go to the Gym while listening to audiobooks

When working out, put on your favorite audiobook rather than listen to music.

Like I mentioned before about running, audiobooks often have a narrator who speaks at a steady pace, which helps you count during reps.

If your someone like me who needs a little motivation to work out, set your gym time as your audiobook time and you’ll find you want to go more often.

26. Listen while you work

This largely depends on the type of job you have. If you work at Starbucks, this is probably not for you.

But if you have an office job that requires more time behind a desk and on a computer, take 5 minutes break every now and then to enjoy your audiobook.

27. Listen at the Salon

When getting your hair cut, it can often be a little boring or awkward sitting in a chair for an hour and watching someone work their magic.

If you’re someone who doesn’t have a friendship with their stylist, put in some headphones and put on an audiobook.

Make sure you ask your stylist if they mind first, otherwise it can be seen as rude. But honestly, I think even stylists need a break from small talk too.

28. Organize yourself

organize yourself while listening to audiobooks

Bookshelf a mess? Closet overflowing with items you don’t wear any more? Spices in the spice rack that never get used? Or is your fridge full of out-of-date items?

It’s time to get organized.

Put on your favorite audiobook and settle in to an hour or so of decluttering.

29. Put on a face mask

When you put on a face mask, you have 15-20 minutes of doing nothing to kill while you wait for the mask to sink into your pores.

Why not fill that time with an audiobook?

30. Do your nails

Another mindfullness activity is painting your nails. Whether you go to a salon or you do it at home, take some time out to manicure your nails and put on your favorite audiobook.

You could even go one step further and learn how to do your own acrylics or gel nails!

31. Listen while you cook dinner

When preparing dinner, put on an audiobook to help the time go faster.

Listening to an audiobook when you’re cooking helps it feel less like a chore and more like a hobby.

32. Listen before going to sleep

If you struggle to go to sleep, listening to an audiobook is a great way to calm your mind while you slip into a dream-like state.

Just remember to set a timer to turn off on Audible so you don’t lose your place in your book.

Read more: Best Audible Romance Books

33. Create a vision board

It’s time for some self love and affirmations. A vision board is a collage of pictures, quotes and images designed to inspire you to pursue your dreams and desires.

While you’re putting yours together, put on an audiobook!

34. Build something with Lego

You are never too old to play with Lego. Whether you play with a bunch of random bricks, or you’re playing with a lego set, it’s a great task to keep your mind sharp and focused while listening to an audiobook.

35. Lie down on a massage chair

Sometimes you just want to lie down in a chair and listen to an audiobook. And that’s ok!

But if you feel guilty about lying down and doing nothing, get yourself a massage mat to put down underneath you.

Then you can argue you’re just soothing your bad back while you listen.

Final Word on Things to Do While Listening to Audiobooks

So there you have it, those are the best things to do while listening to an audiobook.

As you can see there’s so much to do and they don’t all have to distract you from your story.

I hope this guide gave you some ideas for some guilt-free activities to keep you occupied while you play your favorite book, and offered some suggestions for multi-tasking.

If you have any more ideas, let us know in the comments!

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Headshot of Louisa

About Louisa Smith

Editor/Founder - Epic Book Society

Louisa is the Founder, Editor, and Head Honcho of Epic Book Society. She was born and raised in the United Kingdom and graduated from the University for the Creative Arts with a degree in Journalism. Louisa began her writing career at the age of 7 when her poetry was published in an anthology of poems to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee. Upon graduating university, she spent several years working as a journalist writing about books before transitioning to become a Primary School Teacher. Louisa loves all genres of books, but her favorites are Sci-Fi, Romance, Fantasy, and Young Adult Fiction. Read more Louisa's story here.

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