I haven’t written in a while, but I needed to write today.
When I first started this blog, I confessed that I was writing not so that others could read, but so that I could write. For whatever reason, despite all the lesson plans and research papers and emails that I write on a daily and weekly basis, writing still functions as a relaxing, creative outlet for me. Writing energizes and refreshes me.
Today’s post comes from a different attitude. Over the past couple of months, I’ve made a change to my routine that has led to incredible growth and increased productivity. It’s a change that I felt compelled to write about, hoping that it could help somebody else as much as it has helped me. It didn’t cost me any additional time, money, or resources.
Have you ever heard of a “podcast?” It’s that app on your phone in the folder with all of the other apps you have never used (seriously, who uses the compass app?) It’s a useless and unnecessary app, until you realize just how cool it is. Over the past several months, I have come to use the “Podcast” app on my iPhone more than almost any other app I have.
Allow me to share with you five things I love about podcasts. Hopefully one – or more – of these reasons is compelling enough to convince you to give podcasts a try:
1. Podcasts offer specialized content based on your interests – Admittedly, I got into podcasting because I’m a big sports fan and grew tired of Waco sports radio (all they ever talk about is Baylor…no offense to any Baylor fans who may be reading this post). Through podcasts, I could listen to yesterday’s episode of Pardon The Interruption, catch an interview with Jon Daniels (the general manager of the Texas Rangers), and hear some advice for my upcoming Fantasy Football draft. As my interests in podcasts grew, I began to look for podcasts that were more intellectual and constructive. I discovered that many well-known preachers would put out podcasts of their sermons each week. Many authors (whose books I was already reading) would put out podcasts related to ministry and church leadership. As I consider areas of my life that I hope to grow and improve in, I can find podcasts that target these areas and offer insightful, practical advice. To put it simply, there’s a podcast for everyone – there are over 250,000 podcasts in the Apple Podcast app with over a billion subscribers.
2. Podcasts allow you to maximize your “fringe” time – Like many people, I spend lots of time “on the move.” I drive to and from work each day. I work out 5-6 days per week. I mow my lawn. I unload and reload my dishwasher. I pick up the pieces of the toys my dog destroys in the backyard (the companies who make these toys would call her an “aggressive chewer.”) For years, the soundtrack to these tasks were looping Spotify playlists of songs I had heard hundreds of times. I began to grow tired of wasting my time re-listening to songs and started to wonder if there was a better way to spend this time. Podcasts have helped me re-capture this time and find a sense of productivity in menial tasks. I even look forward to mowing my lawn now – it allows me to catch up on content that I may have missed! Out of all five of the reasons for podcasts I’ve written on, this may be my favorite. I would be thrilled if somebody else was able to maximize their fringe time by investing in podcasts.
3. Podcasts can increase your productivity – even when you don’t want to be productive – I enjoy reading, but some days I am forced to spend so much creative energy on other tasks that I lack the desire or focus to sit down with a book. Podcasts have presented a solution to this problem for me, as I find it much easier to listen than read when I am mentally drained. Instead of feeling frustrated because I can’t focus on what I am trying to read, I can end my workday by sitting, listen to a podcast, taking notes, and, by doing so, add an extra 20-30 minutes of productivity to my day. This leads to me leaving work feeling accomplished and filled rather than exhausted and drained.
4. Podcasts don’t cost you any additional money or resources – Did I mention podcasts are free? I can’t believe I have so much unbelievable content at my disposal, and it doesn’t cost me anything extra. Almost everybody has a smartphone nowadays, and for the few who don’t, you can also listen to podcasts on your computer. I am amazed that we have such an incredible tool available to us without any charge or subscription required.
5. Podcasts help you laugh, think, and grow – Need a mental break from a stressful day? Craving some comic relief? There’s a podcast for that. Want to hear some new ideas for your business, organization, or ministry? There’s a podcast for that. Are you curious about what your favorite team’s offseason strategy or trade deadline plan is? There’s a podcast for that. Want to hear a well-known preacher talk about a temptation or struggle that you’re currently experiencing? There’s a podcast for that. Whatever your goals, hobbies, or interests are, you can find a podcast that will speak to that part of your life.
So give podcasting a try. You literally have nothing to lose.
If you’re already podcasting, let me know what you’re listening to and tell me if I should check it out or not.
PS: Everything that I’ve said about Podcasts could be applied to audiobooks. I listen to both and I’m a huge supporter of both. I also love the free YouVersion Bible App and the audio bible – in several different versions – that it contains. This app allows you to spend time in the Word while on your commute or while doing chores – how cool is that?