Everyone wants to do more with less time. Perhaps the best way to sharpen your productivity skills — without taking time out of your day to do it, of course — is by listening to podcasts (episodic audio shows that you can download and listen to on your computer or mobile device) from experts in the field. And what better time to do that than during your daily commute?
With so many available options, sifting through loads of productivity podcasts, trying to find just the right one, can feel like an uphill battle. Fortunately, we’ve done the legwork for you.
Here are the five best productivity podcasts and what makes them great. They’re in order from shortest to longest, so you can choose the one that best suits your unique routine.
For the Short Commute
The Quick and Dirty Tips to Work Less and Do More podcast by Stever Robbins, the famous “Get-It-Done Guy,” is exactly what it sounds like: a fresh stream of quick, dirty, to-the-point episodes delivered straight to your device. Each episode runs between eight and nine minutes, so if you only live a few miles away from your workplace, you can still capitalize on your commute. Topics run the gamut but never fail to deliver snackable tips you can implement today. Expect episodes on topics such as delegation, memorization tips, note-taking and time management.
Another eight-minute podcast is the Optimal Living Daily podcast. Host Justin Malik sorts through productivity “greats” to find the best, most-relevant written material of the day. Then, instead of reporting on it, he actually reads the published content aloud to listeners word for word. The result is a nicely edited, truncated and super concentrated dose of brilliance without extra conversational filler. Perhaps most notable is how Malik takes the smartest approach, demonstrating productivity himself by letting other experts do the heavy lifting.
If you want productivity podcasts that cover mind mapping, automation, priorities, teamwork, mindfulness, rhythms and competition, Beyond the To-Do List is the podcast for you. Host Erik Fisher leans heavily on interviews with productivity experts, walking listeners through material with an adovcate’s tone. Each episode is between 30 and 60 minutes, without the chatty banter that characterizes most podcasts.
The Getting Things Done podcast is hosted by Andrew J. Mason on behalf of David Allen, arguably the most popular productivity author today. In it, you’ll find heady topics such as creativity, self-leadership and the power of daily habits. Episodes vary in length, so occasionally you might be unable to finish an episode on your commute. On the other hand, sometimes you might be able to squeeze two into one day’s commute. Allen’s whole approach mashes philosophy together with practical tips, so you walk away with a perspective change, not just a list of ways to “do things better.”
For Longer Commutes
If you have a longer commute, check out Back to Work, a show that runs over an hour per episode, with witty hosts Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin. Together the guys tackle issues such as workplace communication, tech tools to streamline tasks, organization and multitasking. Between helpful tips, you’ll be entertained by plenty of relaxed conversational detours.
Podcasts are a great way to consume smart, current information, and listening to them on your commute is a fantastic way to make your time in transit valuable. If this article has made you excited about practicing efficient self-improvement, pass it along to a like-minded coworker.