If you’re looking to increase your productivity, I highly recommend podcasts. They’re a fantastic way to turn otherwise dead time like commuting, exercising, or doing mindless tasks into a chance to learn. I live in SF and walk a lot. During my walks I split my time about 50/50 between music and audiobooks/podcasts.
Since coming to Clockwise, I’ve been getting up to speed on the productivity space. That’s involved reading blogs and books, finding people to follow on Twitter, and listening to a bunch of productivity podcasts. These are my favorite five. Listed below in alphabetical order.
Average episode length: From just over an hour to almost two hours
Number of ratings: 968
Average rating: 4.5
Who it’s for: People who tend to like biographies and memoirs
Host Michael Gervais brings on really smart people and LETS THEM TALK. What a concept. He doesn’t interrupt his guests, and even lets them interrupt him when they have something to add. It’s amazing what people will tell you if you listen.
Gervais doesn’t ask a ton of questions. But his questions are good, and poignant. He’s not afraid to dig in. This allows him to get to what’s interesting about the other person right away, without a lot of small-talk. His guests are quite varied, including professional athletes, photographers, and comedy business owners. It’s a treat to hear them talk in-depth about their work.
Gervais and his guests often talk as if they’re friends instead of recording a podcast, which is cool. But it’s also kind of confusing when they make references the audience might not understand because we’re not as familiar with the guest’s resume as Gervais is.
Average episode length: Between just under an hour and an hour and a half
Number of ratings: 59
Average rating: 5.0
Who it’s for: News and controversy lovers who also want a dose of self-improvement
Host Stephan Spencer has on extremely interesting guests and topics. He gets big names like best-selling authors Nir Eyal and David Shenk along with some names that were new to me. One thing I like about this podcast is that Spencer has a higher tolerance for controversy than most productivity podcast hosts. Whereas you might get a lot of the same advice from different podcasts, you probably won’t be able to get through any single episode of Get Yourself Optimized without learning something new.
There’s definitely some woo-woo in here. If phrases like “secret knowledge, biohacking, life hacking, and lifestyle design” are triggers for you, this might not be your cup of tea.
Average episode length: Between a half hour and an hour and a half
Number of ratings: 333
Average rating: 4.5
Who it’s for: Knowledge workers looking for straightforward advice to up their personal productivity at work and in life
The Productivity Show focuses on practical topics, spending very little time on big ideas or theorizing. There’s no woo here, just actionable advice that can be implemented pretty quickly. Listen for help staying focused when you get bored while working toward your goals, or five productivity and travel tips, or strategic planning advice.
There’s wide variation in how expert and helpful the guests are.
Average episode length: Between 8 minutes and an hour and 15 minutes
Number of ratings: 35
Average rating: 4.5
Format: Some interviews but mostly not
Who it’s for: Time-strapped knowledge workers who want new ideas and tech suggestions
If you have just 30 minutes and you want one good takeaway for upping your game, The Paul Minors Podcast is excellent. Paul gets straight to the point, offering practical, useful advice and tips for implementing his ideas today. I hadn’t even thought of using a virtual assistant, but he had me seriously considering it. And I love topics like 3 questions to ask yourself to be happier, which combine big questions with bite-sized, actionable advice. Paul’s a fast talker and concise. But he’s also easy to follow, making the podcast feel like a great use of time.
Like most podcasts that get into specifics, not every topic is going to be interesting to every person at every time.
Average episode length: Varies between a half hour and almost an hour
Number of ratings: 202
Average rating: 4.6
Who it’s for: Small business owners and solopreneurs seeking straightforward, expert business advice.
Co-hosts Abagail and Emylee have on some really great guests. They may not be “big names,” but they’re experts with solid, applicable advice. For example, they had Braden Drake on for episode 373. Drake advises small business owners on taxes and accounting best practices. He answered questions any business owner needs to understand, like what’s an S-Corp and how to save money on self-employment tax.
Abagail and Emylee are also talented interviewers. They ask great questions, in part I’m sure because these are their questions. They’re entrepreneurs themselves, who are trying to build multiple businesses. They don’t pretend they have everything figured out. They’re real and vulnerable and learning along with their listeners.
This podcast is definitely aimed at entrepreneurs. While some aspects will be applicable to employees, like when they spoke with Joelle Elizabeth about how to kill it on Instagram that’s applicable to me as a marketer. But then topics like self-employment taxes aren’t really.
Hopefully one or two of these podcasts can make your commute feel more productive. If I’ve missed any of your faves, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And to up your productivity game even more, Clockwise helps you make time for what matters.
We've also got a list of five awesome Chrome productivity extensions we think will help you get more done in less time.