I didn’t really get the value of podcasts until I started exercising more and changing my associations with tedious work (one of those Tony Robbins techniques that make a lot of sense). Working out can be pretty boring. It feels good to know your body is getting stronger and so is your brain. I changed my association with dishes and cleaning up the kitchen from drudgery and pain to “learning and getting smarter.”
Listen to podcasts on an iPod Touch or iPhone–something with the ability to play at double speed and something that syncs and automatically deletes podcasts through iTunes. It takes a little getting used to and some people talk way too fast to listen to at double speed, but in general I find it easy to follow and you get through more content in the same amount of time. You don’t have to have the latest iPod either–for a while I used an 8G iPod touch that was four or five years old and it worked fine for podcast listening.
Vote with your fingers
If after 10 minutes you are not engaged in the episode or bored, switch to something else or scroll to the end so it gets marked as “listened to” and deleted at the next sync. The important topics come up over and over again. There’s no point in trying to slog through a discussion or interview about how to secure $10 million in your first round of funding if you have no interest in or need for venture capital. If a particular section is boring, skip ahead 5 minutes and see if it gets better. When in doubt, punt and look for something more interesting.
I’m not an Apple purest, but I do appreciate the tight integration between the software and the hardware and that most of the time their stuff “just works”–except when it doesn’t.
iTunes library management is key. For a while I managed a lot of these by hand and tried to use different tools on Linux. It just never worked very well. I just want to have the latest content automatically download and sync’d to my device without having to resort to command line hackery.
Find Stuff You Like
iTunes has podcasts on every conceivable subject though sometimes the search is not as sharp as I’d think it could be. If you hear an interview with someone that is interesting search for them on iTunes. This has led me to other great podcasts where the same person is being interviewed.
Don’t Overwhelm Yourself
It’s really easy to subscribe to a bunch of podcasts and then overwhelm yourself with all the choices of what to listen to or feel like you aren’t making any progress through all the stuff you’ve downloaded. Sometimes I limit podcast selections that get loaded to my iPod to ten of the latest episodes from four or five podcasts I’m most interested in currently.
When to Listen
I like to listen while I exercise, drive in the car and clean the kitchen. Sometimes for as short as five or ten minutes, every little bit counts. For around the house, I recommend a cheap docking station like one of the iHome models from Costco. The sound is pretty good and it charges while you listen without having to wear earphones.
There are also those times when I’ve been jamming through a number of podcasts in a row where I just enjoy a break with silence.
What are your podcast listening tips?