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5 excellent productivity podcasts

Cathy Reisenwitz

by Cathy Reisenwitz on November 12, 2019

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.

Finding Mastery

Cadence: Weekly

Average episode length: From just over an hour to almost two hours

Number of ratings: 968

Average rating: 4.5

The highlights

  • Expert interviewer
  • Meaty discussions
  • Wide range of guests

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.

Keep in mind

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.

Top episodes:

Dr. David Sinclair on slowing down the aging process

Cal Fussman: Questions, storytelling, adventure (part 2)

Get Yourself Optimized

Cadence: Weekly

Average episode length: Between just under an hour and an hour and a half

Number of ratings: 59

Average rating: 5.0

Format: Interview

The highlights

  • Fascinating guests and topics
  • Wide-ranging discussions
  • Not afraid to get spicy

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.

Keep in mind

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.

Top episodes:

Negotiate Like a Boss with Chris Voss

Creating A Lasting Legacy with Dr. Sean Stephenson

The Productivity Show

Cadence: Weekly

Average episode length: Between a half hour and an hour and a half

Number of ratings: 333

Average rating: 4.5

Format: Interview

The highlights

  • Extremely relatable hosts
  • Actionable advice
  • No theory or woo

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.

Keep in mind

There’s wide variation in how expert and helpful the guests are.

Top episodes:

Calendar Apps, Tips and Tricks You Need to Know

Productive Weeks w/ Laura Vanderkam

The Paul Minors Podcast

Cadence: Weekly

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

The highlights

  • Concise
  • Actionable advice
  • Wide-ranging topics

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.

Keep in mind

Like most podcasts that get into specifics, not every topic is going to be interesting to every person at every time.

Top episodes:

Overcoming shiny object syndrome with Matt and Joe from Evergreen Profits

Which productivity "model" should you use?

The Strategy Hour Podcast

Cadence: Twice-weekly

Average episode length: Varies between a half hour and almost an hour

Number of ratings: 202

Average rating: 4.6

Format: Interview

The highlights:

  • Great guests
  • Practical advice
  • Great interviewers

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.

Keep in mind

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.

Top episodes:

Finding Strength in Adversity: Revisiting Our Past in a Past Episode

Our Most Popular Interview of 2017: Getting Your Customers to Say "Yes" - Neuroscience and Business with Natalie Franke of Rising Tide Society

Going forward

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 cathy@getclockwise.com. And to up your productivity game even more, Clockwise helps you make time for what matters.

Cathy Reisenwitz

Cathy Reisenwitz

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