Productive Procrastination: Podcasts
In the sea of work that hits you like an old-school anvil (seriously, has anyone ever seen an anvil?) from a tall building mid-quarter, we often need a little bit of relief. However, at the same time, our fast-paced lives demand productivity, and if you're like me, you will needlessly beat yourself up for a Netflix binge, however much deserved it is.
The need for some kind of relaxation that somehow feels productive is paramount. My friends, this is where podcasts come in – think of them as little snippets of useful facts or stories about whatever you're interested in and a way to turn any commute into a slight jolt of productivity and creativity. I am a subscribed to roughly 40 different podcasts and shamelessly listen to roughly three hours of them a day (I have a lot of downtime, I know) and have compiled a few of my favorites to hopefully kindle a similar love in all of you.
For the Politically Inclined
Lovett or Leave It: This podcast is a great source of current news with a comical edge. Former Obama speech writer, Jon Lovett, is joined each week by comedians, actors, journalists, and many others to play games and discuss the weekly news.
The Daily / Up First: These are both another great source of current news, in a shorter time length and available every weekday. Listening to these on your morning walk or while getting ready is such an easy way to stay up to date and informed with what's happening in the world.
Pod Save the World (also America and People): As other podcasts in the Crooked Media family, these three delve deeper into specific issues each weekend and open the discussion into current events.
With Friends Like These: Another part of the Crooked Media family (these people are great!), Ann Marie Cox spearheads controversial topics in an open discussion about what currently divides us. The show focuses on listening instead of arguing, which we very much need in our diverse political scheme.
For the Design Heads
99% Invisible: Roman Mars delves into the design all around us in this podcast, focusing on the design and architecture that typically goes unnoticed in our busy lives.
The Modern Maker Podcast: Hosts, Ben Uyeda, Chris Salomone, and Mike Montgomery chat weekly about all things made by hand, from wood, to concrete, to leather.
How I Built This: This podcast delves into the processes and methods of the founders of some of today's top brands and companies. Listening will fill you with some motivation and appreciation from the small beginnings that have a big impact.
For the Story Longers
S-Town: A collaboration between Serial and This American Life, Brian Reed tells the story of John who despises his Alabama town and decides to do something about it. The true story follows a potential murder, feud, and a hunt for hidden treasure.
Tanis: Tanis is an exploration of the nature of truth, conspiracy, and information. The serial biweekly podcast follows the journey into discovering the mystery of the legend of Tanis.
Limetown: The fictional podcast, Limetown, follows journalist Lia Haddock as she investigates the infamous disappearance of a doomed research facility.
For the Mindful Folks
10% Happier with Dan Harris: ABC Newsman, Dan Harris, speaks with influential people from all walks of life each week about what it means to find happiness and enlightenment in our busy world. He seeks out to ask: "can you be an ambitious person and still strive for enlightenment (whatever that means)?"
The Hilarious World of Depression: John Moe tries to understand the mysterious connection between comedy and despair, by sharing the struggles and triumphs of the people who make us laugh.
Terrible, Thanks for Asking: "Hosted by author and notable widow (her words) Nora McInerny, this is a funny/sad/uncomfortable podcast about talking honestly about our pain, our awkwardness, and our humanness."
Hidden Brain: "Hidden Brain helps curious people understand the world – and themselves. Using science and storytelling, Hidden Brain's host Shankar Vedantam reveals the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, the biases that shape our choices, and the triggers that direct the course of our relationships."
Invisibilia: "Co-hosted by Lulu Miller, Hanna Rosin and Alix Spiegel, Invisibilia interweaves narrative storytelling with scientific research that will ultimately make you see your own life differently."
For the Generally Curious (a.k.a. odds and ends)
the mustards: Bloggers and couple, Jenny and David Mustard host the mustards and talk about whatever they find interesting. It is a lovely weekly glimpse into their cultured lives, with topics ranging from minimalism, to travel, love, food, health, interior design, movies, politics, and fashion.
Stuff You Missed in History Class: Hosts, Holly and Tracy, bring interesting tales that dive deep into typically overlooked topics from our history.
Stuff You Should Know: "Josh and Chuck explore the Stuff You Should Know about everything from genes to the Galapagos in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com."
Tell Me Something I Don't Know: Throughout this "game show" podcast, Stephen Dubner invites audience members on stage to tell us something we don’t know. Stephen and his co-hosts grill them and by the end we’ve all gotten a bit smarter.
Radiolab: "Radiolab is a show about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience."
Freakonomics Radio: "Have fun discovering the hidden side of everything with host Stephen J. Dubner, co-author of the best-selling "Freakonomics” books. Each week, hear surprising conversations that explore the riddles of everyday life and the weird wrinkles of human nature—from cheating and crime to parenting and sports."
Ted Radio Hour: "The TED Radio Hour is a journey through fascinating ideas: astonishing inventions, fresh approaches to old problems, new ways to think and create. Based on Talks given by riveting speakers on the world-renowned TED stage, each show is centered on a common theme – such as the source of happiness, crowd-sourcing innovation, power shifts, or inexplicable connections."
This American Life: Each episode of This American Life has a theme and a variety of stories on that theme. Most of the stories are journalism, with an occasional comedy routine or essay.
Criminal: "Criminal is a podcast about crime. Stories of people who've done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle."
All images and quotes from respective Podcasts' iTunes Page or Website.
Featured Image via here.