Michael has long been an audio book fan. He listens on double speed and flies through books on his commute, which I think is a brilliant way to turn something that could be drudgery into one of his favorite parts of the day. I cannot for the life of me seem to find blocks of time during the day (even small ones) to listen to full books and I’ve found that while my mind can adapt to double speed, I’m interrupted too often by little ones that it’s hard to really stay focused on what’s happening in the book.
Podcasts have been easier for me. They’re shorter, so I can listen to them regular speed without losing my place or them taking forever to get through. The lengths vary (some are 20 minutes, some are an hour or longer). I can listen for a few minutes as I get ready in the morning or drive to preschool pick-up or color a bit at the end of the day and can make a surprising amount of progress during the week.
There are all kinds of podcasts–fun and entertaining, clever and pithy, and educational and enlightening. I love a good mix. Here are a few I love lately…
This podcast, put on by author and happiness researcher Gretchin Rubin and co-hosted with her sister tv writer Elizabeth Craft builds on the The Happiness Project and Better Than Before books. There is a lot of overlap between the content of the books and the content in the podcast, so you’d think it could be a little redundant and boring, but I really enjoy it.
Each episode includes a “try this at home” prompt for a small actionable goal you can implement to be happier, whether that’s making your bed in the morning or putting some extra effort into warm hellos to your family and co-workers. There are also plenty of interviews with other authors, researchers, and experts, along with some pop culture discussions and more personal details from both hosts tossed in.
Episode to try: I loved the discussion about Power Hour in episode #6. I do something shorter I call “10-minute tidy” where I accomplish as much of the small projects that add up in 10 minute as I can. I think a power hour would be a really good thing for me. I just don’t know when I could fit in a whole hour! Listen or subscribe here.
This is one of the most popular pocasts out there, and for pretty good reason. Jess Lively is the creative and host behind the show. She’s got an excellent line-up of different subjects and guests.
I’ve really enjoyed hearing more from professionals I admire (like Whitney English of the Day Designer and the Minimalist Baker team) and hearing new perspectives from people I may not have otherwise heard from (an intuitive/psychic, marketing and business experts, etc.). The interviews are fascinating, and I nearly always come away with something to think more about. I always feel inspired to try something new or tweak something I’m doing after listening.
Episode to try: I really enjoyed the Whitney English interview in episode #86. The Day Designer is the best planner I’ve ever owned, and I was totally drawn in by Whitney’s background and her discussion with Jess about the Michelangelo story (which has been one of my favorites since college). The How Sweet Eats episode was another favorite. Listen or subscribe here.
I feel like I’m actually on the edge of something new rather than joining in months late! There have only been a few episodes so far in this podcast, which is hosted by NPR science correspondent Shankar Vedantam. It’s a very science-y podcast that’s presented in a very NON science-y way. (Honestly, it’s funny and clever!)
Each episode reads like a mini documentary, but with breaks for things like a mini interview, occasional song (seriously), or magic trick (seriously!!) and Stopwatch Science exchanges, where Shankar and another correspondent quick-fire summarized research back and forth on a relevant subject they’re discussing in 1-minute intervals. I love it.
Episode to try – I can’t choose. I loved Episode 3’s discussion of unconscious biases and how to play them to advantage. I couldn’t stop thinking about Episode 4’s discussion about student-teacher relationships and their effect on education. Episode 2’s discussion on near misses was so interesting. I can’t stop thinking about this podcast! Listen or subscribe here.
Bonus Points: Extraordinary Moms Podcast
Some of you saw this last week, but my friend Jessica launched this podcast last week. Each episode is with a mom who shares her unique story. The whole podcast is designed to be inspiring and uplifting. I was interviewed for her first episode sharing some of our autism story, but I HIGHLY recommend episodes 2-3 with my friend Jackie, a mother of four boys, one of whom passed away from a terminal illness. She faced his last few months with such incredible strength, joy, and a passion for getting the most out of life. She is one of my great heroes, and I think you’ll love her. She also has a great episode with Alison of The Alison Show. It’s such a great project! I know Jessica would love it if you subscribed, listened, or left a review. Find out more about it here.