When it comes to being productive in time that I would have previously wasted, nothing comes close to listening to productivity podcasts. When I’m sitting in my car wishing the traffic wasn’t so bad, I could be mindlessly listening to the radio or using that time effectively.
Podcasts are a brilliant way to:
- learn something new
- catch up on news
- get a fresh perspective and broaden your horizons
Given the ubiquity of smartphones, you can listen to a podcast almost any time you want. My high yield time for podcasts is driving to and from work. That is 60-70 minutes of five days per week: between 5 and 6 hours of time each week to improve my mind!
I subscribe to many podcasts in my podcast software (Pocket Casts), but some are there only as reminders that I would like to listen to that content at some point in the future. There are a series of podcasts that I do listen to every week, and my phone downloads them for me as soon as they are released.
Note that this list is of productivity podcasts. There are others I also listen to, but I am focusing on productivity here. My selections are listed in alphabetical order, not ranked.
The productivity podcasts I listen to every week (2018 Edition):
Able Business Radio
I originally began listening to Able Business Radio host Zachary Sexton on The Productivity Show by Asian Efficiency, and was sad to hear he was leaving that company and striking out on his own. Imagine my delight to discover he was starting his own productivity business and that would include a weekly podcast.
Fast forward to today and Zack’s now up to over 50 episodes of Able Business Radio. He continues to attract great guests, and he approaches their conversations with a willingness to learn that I appreciate. ABR is a new entry in the 2018 edition of this post and I try to listen to every episode.
Recent highlight: How to Choose Your Next Big Goal (29th Nov, 2017)
The Productivity Show by Asian Efficiency
After the departure of former host Zachary Sexton (see above), it wasn’t clear what would happen to The Productivity Show by Asian Efficiency. For the new version of their show the AE staff share hosting duties, with Mike Schmitz doing most of the heavy lifting while Thanh Pham and Brooks Duncan also contribute.
The Productivity Show tends to release longer episodes that can be more than an hour in length. Although this requires a time commitment – I often end up listening to an episode in more than one sitting – it allows for in-depth discussions that can be extremely detailed but provide a lot of actionable tips. They also feature interviews with their forum (Dojo) members which is a nice touch.
Recent highlight: 6 Ways a Mastermind Can Accelerate Your Success w/ Nate Lowrie (15th Jan, 2018)
The Productivityist Podcast
One of the leaders in the online productivity space, Mike Vardy’s The Productivityist Podcast is the only podcast that hasn’t changed much since the last edition of this post in 2016. Mike continues to bring in top thinkers in personal productivity and development for his weekly show, as well as a variety of authors, makers and creators.
Mike always has an interesting take on whatever topic is being discussed. His background as a stand-up comedian means there are often laughs. The Productivityist Podcast is a must-listen for anyone new to podcasts and productivity.
Recent highlight: The Year of Less with Cait Flanders (10th Jan, 2018)
Other Productivity Podcasts
Of course there are other podcasts I listen to on a more selective basis as well.
I still greatly enjoy Robert Cooper’s UPWIRE when he releases new episodes. I listen to Erik Fisher’s Beyond the To-Do List when I have time.
A new entry since 2016 is Stephen Warley’s Life Skills That Matter. His podcast is targeted at listeners who are self-employed but he will often feature guests who discuss productivity or time-management strategies that are more generally applicable.
The Accidental Creative podcast often features a discussion of productivity topics, and host Todd Henry is a great speaker and thoughtful host.
Finally, The 5 AM Miracle with Jeff Sanders often covers personal productivity strategies. Jeff also sprinkles in a wide variety of topics including fitness and health coaching.
The five productivity podcasts I listen to every week (2016 Edition):
Beyond the To-Do List
Hosted by Erik Fisher, Beyond the To-Do List is one of the more actionable productivity podcasts around. Fisher gets a great selection of guests for interviews, and is an accomplished host.
The author of several books on productivity as well as being a productivity coach, Fisher comes across as calm and wise. His manner is polite and engaging, and he avoids talking over his guests. I find BTTD a refreshing listen each week.
Recent highlight: Presence: Rob Bell on Being Present with Rhythm, Routines and Rituals (22nd June)
Extreme Productivity with Kevin Kruse
Given his personal success in his career, it will come as no surprise that Kevin Kruse produces a useful podcast as well.
Kruse doesn’t conduct interviews, preferring to keep his episodes short. Most of his shows are less than ten minutes, which makes this an easy podcast to add to a playlist and fit in around longer form content.
Kruse also focuses on answering listener questions which makes him seem approachable.
Recent highlight: 5 Meeting Mistakes and How To Fix Them (20th July)
The Productivity Show by Asian Efficiency
Asian Efficiency has a long history of providing actionable strategies for improving personal productivity. It makes sense that they should produce a podcast that offers the same.
Zachary Sexton is an engaging host who prepares well for his interviews. He asks good questions and mostly stays out of the way of the answers.
The Productivity Show by Asian Efficiency is probably my first listen each week. Sexton has great guests, keeps the conversation flowing and ensures his shows are punchy.
Recent highlights: Essentialism with Greg McKeown (1st August) & Influence Yourself with Ramit Sethi (29th August)
The Productivityist Podcast
The Productivityist Podcast with Mike Vardy is one of the first podcasts I started listening to and remains one of my go-to listens for tips and advice.
Vardy is an interesting host with a wide range of experiences before starting this podcast. He has a great variety of guests and conducts his shows in an interview format.
I have learnt a lot of useful tips from this podcast, and Vardy is determined to make his content actionable. I find that highly important in terms of getting ‘bang for buck’.
The only criticism I make is that Vardy sometimes asks questions that get lost in his train of ideas and he himself has noted he is trying to let his guests speak more. When you are as passionate as Vardy it makes sense that you might find it hard to reign yourself in!
Recent highlight: Getting Optimized with Stephan Spencer (19th July)
UPWIRE: Hacking Human Nature to Unlock Your True Potential
Hosted by Robert Cooper, who holds a PhD in psychology and is currently studying for another PhD, Upwire is a podcast that keeps things short and sweet. With episodes usually less than ten minutes in length, Cooper focuses on delivering evidence based advice for changing habits, improving focus and working to a vision.
This is the least personal of the five listed here, with Cooper’s work often coming across as a short lecture. Although the didactic nature of this show won’t appeal to everyone, Cooper tries to convey serious material in a digestible format.
Recent highlight: What you Clarify Compels (12th August)
I am always on the lookout for new productivity advice, so this list will almost certainly change over time. I look forward to discovering new sources of inspiration in the future.
Do you listen to productivity podcasts? Can you suggest any others that might enhance my life? I’d love to take suggestions…