How often have you felt overwhelmed by all the mediums vying for your attention? I can remember a time before podcasts and social media. Books, radio and TV have always been there for me. But the internet, social media and podcasts are trends new to our generation.
A brief history of podcasts.
Before being granted its own noun, podcasting was originally known as “audio blogging” which dates all the way back to the 1980s but really got a foothold in 2004.
Listeners have access to over 100,000 podcasts across the internet at little or no cost.
68 million Americans listen to podcasts on a weekly basis.
Convenient and easy to incorporate.
Podcasts offer many conveniences that radio doesn’t offer:
- Pick which shows and when to listen by average episode length. You can listen to an episode in snippets or in one sitting.
- New episodes appear in your feed when available. Listen on demand.
- The option to listen at different speeds, to skip back or ahead with a tap allows you to manage the amount of time it takes to get through an episode.
- Depending on the topic, you can decide to listen while multi-tasking or to save the episode for an occasion when you can take notes and devote your full attention to the content.
An indicator of what you value.
Podcasts we listen to can generally be grouped into two categories: education or entertainment.
It’s important to consider why you’re consuming certain podcasts so you can select the ones that are most fulfilling. The simplicity of Marie Kondo‘s message about spaces and things sparked a decision about relevance. She wanted you to determine if something had a purpose in your life.
And while listening to a podcast episode might not be as significant in the moment as which throw pillows you find a new home for, the meaning behind it has the capacity to alter the way you think. The old adage, “you are what you eat” has the power to change the way we think, alter our perspectives and ultimately our decisions.
What you listen to matters.
We can learn anything. Study and work to become anyone we want to be. However, such freedom ratchets up the demands on our time. We have a heightened responsibility to guard our schedules and steward our energy in ways that work well.
We can curate our listening experiences through trial and avoid errors by pivoting, before moving too far down the path of overwhelm.
Thinking about what you enjoy listening to allows you to further develop vocabulary for your interests and ambitions. But how do you choose podcasts worth listening to?
How to choose podcasts worth listening to. Should you subscribe?
When I first began filling my feed with podcast suggestions from friends and other connections, they were all I listened to. But I got overwhelmed quickly. So I enlisted a three episode rule. If listening didn’t motivate me to take action or enliven my day by the third try, it got eliminated.
But even with that rule in place, I soon realized that it had begun to feel like another to do just getting through all the podcasts in my feed. There was added mental clutter.
I got exhausted with so much knowledge to apply from a myriad of sources. And, realized that I missed music and belting out lyrics with abandon, or simply taking in the sounds of life and my own thoughts.
It’s gotten easier since acknowledging that I can enjoy podcast episodes without feeling guilty for not staying caught up. Or for deleting episodes that aren’t interesting or relevant.
What makes a podcast worthwhile?
There are too many options to choose from and only limited human bandwidth to listen. What leads you to add a podcast episode to your feed? Or to jump to the next level of commitment and subscribe?
Did someone recommend an episode because it made them think of a hard season or relates well to circumstances you’re walking through? Perhaps that episode led you to listen to a few more and then you opted to subscribe.
Do you wait with great anticipation for each episode to post in your feed and then listen to it immediately? Or do you let the episodes build to binge listen?
What else are you giving up in order to listen to a podcast?
How to choose podcasts worth listening to.
It may be helpful to define your interest level and reason for giving it bandwidth:
- Does it make you feel good? Allow you to escape? To laugh or smile at the beauty and simple pleasures of life?
- Perhaps it’s mind-numbing and offers a great escape.
- Does it inspire you to remember and apply the absolute truths that guide your life?
- Is it informative, allowing you to learn a new skill or topic you haven’t been exposed to before?
- Does it keep you in the know about current events?
Listener beware of decision fatigue. Podcasts are another medium to keep up with. We have limited bandwidth for taking in information. So let’s use it intentionally.
If you want help curating meaningful variety among the podcasts in your feed, check out this list from Time Magazine: https://time.com/5524332/best-podcasts-to-listen-to/
For more inspiration on finding value and taking steps to simplify life check out: https://thewespot.com/how-to-start-de-cluttering-in-a-practical-way-an-alternative-to-konmari/