Perhaps I’m slow on the uptake, but I just recently learned about podcasts. For those of you that are in my boat, a podcast is a series of audio files that a user (you and me!) can listen to. Most of the time the files are uploaded in “episodes,” sort of like a TV show, but without the visuals.
At first I wasn’t very fond of the idea of podcasts, because I thought it would be (1) boring without the visuals, and (2) hard to get other things done if I was spending time listening to audio. However, I quickly learned that both of my concerns weren’t a problem.
After listening to multiple episodes and deciding what length of time I wanted to spend on each episode (20 minutes per episode is about perfect), I decided that podcasts can be really useful for personal and professional development. Here’s why:
I spend a lot of time on trains because my university and job are in the city. Let me tell you, podcasts are fantastic for transportation! They can be downloaded before you leave the house, so you won’t need to be connected to WiFi or data. I personally use a free app called CastBox, which allows free downloads and has just about anything you’d ever want to listen to. I know many people that use Audible as well, and they say really great things. Podcasts are also great for multitasking. I was able to get quite a bit of work done while listening (mostly repetitive tasks like data entry, but still!), and it made the work deem less mundane.
Inspiration and Motivation.
Although podcasts are edited, they’re more raw than other types of media. With our blog posts, we get the chance to edit as much as we want, and disguise some of our vulnerability if we want to. With podcasts, it’s a little different. They do have the chance to cut things and edit a bit, but it’s their voice that they’re putting into the world, and that takes guts. There isn’t as much room for misinterpretation because you can physically hear the emotion the producer is trying to portray and visualize the scenes they’re describing.
So far, one of the most powerful things I’ve gained from listening to podcasts is that people have different experiences and views that we can learn from and gain hope from. For example, hearing that someone else started out from where you are right now and made something of themselves is inspiring! It helps us recognize that we can forge our own paths. Find someone who’s story speaks to you, and learn from their experiences.
Good for Your Mind and Body.
How much time do you spend sitting in front of a screen? My guess is, like most of us, you spend too much. Podcasts are a welcome break from screens, and open up a new way of gaining valuable information without straining your eyes. Also, podcasts are extremely portable since they’re right on your phone. Go for a walk or run while listening to a couple episodes to rejuvenate.
They also make you think. You’re sitting there listening to someone else’s perspective for at least 20 minutes… You will naturally make judgments and form opinions of your own. Spend time evaluating those opinions and judgments; why do you think that way?
I’ve decided that every week I’m going to listen to a podcast series while on the train to work. I’ll try to post a review every Sunday evening (starting next week). I’m going to start with a podcast called Millennial by Megan Tan, which is a pretty popular one, from what I’ve researched.
Alright, Professional Guys and Gals… I want to hear from you. Do you listen to podcasts? Which podcasts are your favorite? Do you find them beneficial?
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