You know that listening to podcasts is beneficial for so many reasons, including helping improve your writing and inspiring content ideas. But how on earth do you fit them in with all of the other things you have to do?
Making time for podcasts must be intentional, just like making time for anything else you know you want or need to do, like writing.
I work full-time as a content editor, carry a part-time freelance load, teach an adjunct class each semester, am reading 200 books this year, and I still make time to listen to podcasts because I think they’re that valuable to my creative process.
We all have unique challenges when it comes to spending our time, so here’s some advice on making time for podcasts that I think might help.
Why Listen to Podcasts?
First things first, if you don’t know why you should listen to podcasts, you’ll want to read my recent post on the topic. If you already have plenty of reasons to listen to podcasts and just can’t seem to find the time, go ahead and skip to the next section.
People listen to podcasts for all kinds of reasons, but here’s the data on the most common reasons in order from most common to least:
- To have something to listen to while they do something else
- Hear other people’s opinions
- Stay updated on current events
- For encouragement or inspiration
These all ring true to me, although I have some unique reasons for listening, too, that I addressed in the post linked above.
When People Listen to Podcasts
The average podcast listener listens to nine episodes a week. That’s more than a podcast a day, so we know people are finding time to do it. When are they doing all this listening?
People listen to podcasts while they’re:
- Doing chores
- Running errands or shopping
Most podcasts are 20-40 minutes. Hopefully you’re already thinking about when you could fit one or two into your day.
How to Make Time to Listen to Podcasts
Confession: I left a result off of the list above. More than 20% of the people surveyed said they listen to podcasts before going to sleep or while they’re sleeping. That doesn’t seem relaxing or like good sleep hygiene, so I don’t encourage it. I promise that there are many other times that you can listen to podcasts.
Set a Goal
If you want to make time to listen to podcasts, you must be intentional about it. So, decide how much listening you actually want to do. Would you like to listen to at least one podcast a day during the work week? Given the statistics on listening, that seems pretty reasonable. Once you set your consumption goal, you know how much time you need to identify.
Subscribe to Podcasts
The time you set aside for listening to podcasts needs to be productive, which means you’ll want to already have subscribed to and downloaded episodes you’re interested in listening to. Here are the podcasts I recommend, but there are tons out there, so I’m certain there’s something for everyone. When you find what you want, subscribe to them so they automatically download on your phone. Then they’ll be ready to listen when you are.
Block the Time
Time to do anything won’t just appear in your daily schedule. You must be intentional and set aside time for things you want or need to do. Listening to podcasts is no different. If you want to listen to podcasts for 40 minutes a day, you need to block that 40 minutes a day and commit to using it for podcast listening and nothing else.
Plan to Multitask
Here’s the great thing about listening to podcasts. You can block the time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be doing anything else. Most people listen to podcasts while they’re doing something else. Pairing your podcast listening with something else you do every day makes it easy to get it done.
For example, I listen to music when I get ready for the day because it puts me in a good mood. I listen to an audiobook when I commute and when I cook. So, all those times are already reserved for other tasks. But I usually waste time scrolling on my phone while I eat lunch. So, I decided to use my lunchtime each day to listen to at least one podcast. Now I don’t even have to think much about it. Lunch = turn on a podcast
Focus on Progress
Another confession (Wow! Two in one post.). Some days I watch TikToks while I eat lunch instead of listening to a podcast. Sometimes my brain needs a little time off from thinking. TikTok entertains me, so I make that choice.
You know what? That’s just fine. No one dies if I don’t listen to at least five podcasts a week. The world keeps right on turning. By being intentional, I listen to more podcasts than I would without the focus and time set aside. That’s a win.
Don’t Listen to Stuff You Don’t Like
You won’t stick with a habit you don’t enjoy. So, just like life is too short to read bad books, it’s also too brief to listen to podcasts you don’t enjoy. If you’re halfway through an episode and just not digging it, move on. If you read a topic, even if it’s from your favorite podcaster, and it makes you yawn, skip it. Only listen to podcasts from people and on topics that you enjoy. Leave the rest behind. You’re not obligated to listen to anything.
It’s Your Turn
Are you ready to up your podcast listening game? If so, think of a plan now. How many podcasts do you want to listen to each week? When could you do it? Ok, now that the details are out of the way, subscribe to some podcasts you’re interested in and enact your plan. Let me know how it goes!