This summer, I was interviewing at several companies. Among other things, it involved a lot of travel, and there was little I could do while traveling. If I was driving, I’d mostly listen to my usual Spotify playlists, although they got boring pretty soon. Taking the train allowed me to read in addition, but I’d usually get distracted or fall asleep since the interviews were exhausting. Soon enough, all this travel time started feeling wasteful, but I wanted to reclaim it, so I constantly tried to find ways to engage in something productive, or learn something new. Then one day I was reading an article in which CEOs of some companies described how they made their commutes productive. One of the ideas was to listen to audiobooks. I didn’t have any books in mind, but I immediately remembered how I’d once wanted to try podcasts, and never did. I downloaded an Android app and loaded some interesting podcasts. I quickly realized that this was what I was looking for!
I don't know why I only recently discovered how nice it is to listen to podcasts while driving. It's educative + makes me feel less lonely.— Nishant Totla (@nishanttotla) August 20, 2015
I started with listening to some podcasts about people sharing their experiences, and soon moved on to human behavior and social skills. I also tried some economics, culture, and science. I found podcasts refreshing for several reasons. First of all, I was listening to very stimulating and engaging content, which excited me and kept me alert. This was especially welcome during long lonely drives, often in rush hour traffic. Second, podcasts often featured people having a conversation, where I would laugh and grimace and feel actively involved. Most importantly though, I learned a great deal about diverse topics, and this is something I love to do!
I’m just going to emphasize that podcasts are brilliant and unrivaled when you want to productively use time when only your auditory senses are free. This is their biggest advantage compared to all other information media, especially seeing how everyone is constantly “engaged” these days. Podcasts are a regular fixture for drives now, and I’m gradually trying to add them to other tasks like cooking, cleaning, and in general anything that doesn’t require immense concentration. Of course, there are still times when I just want silence, or music, but in general, I’m a big fan of trying to find opportunities to learn small bits that could eventually add up to major life changes.- nRT