One of the biggest 'productivity hacks' I religiously practiced since March 2020 was to listen to audiobooks/podcasts whenever I could.
- When I'm at the gym
- When I'm working through Past Year Papers
- When I'm going for a walk/drive (connected to the car's speakers through Bluetooth)
🎧 2020:Podcasts In Review may not be a 'Standard' In Review category but podcasts genuinely played such an integral role to my year that I felt inclined to do a special write-up on my favorite podcasts and how they impacted my year.
As usual, here is a Table of Content that will help you navigate through this article and find the sections that interest you the most. If you are looking for a particular podcast review, feel free to skip right ahead!
With that said, let's get into 🎧 2020: Podcasts In Review.
Total Time I Spent Listening to Podcasts In 2020
When I got my first Spotify subscription around March 2020 (I'm a Neanderthal, I know), I listened to loads of podcast.
That was during the lockdown period when I was working through Further Mathematics Problem Sets daily. I found that listening to podcasts helped me focus for longer time periods and made the process much more enjoyable.
Naturally, I clocked in about 4-5 hours of podcasts on most days.
However, I discovered the wonders of audiobooks about a month later and my podcasts consumption dropped drastically. To add to that, University Applications starting rolling in around August and I couldn't possibly focus if I had podcasts playing in the background.
In short, I didn't quite listened to as much podcast as I would've liked but they most definitely played an important role in my year.
My Top 5 Podcasts
1. Not Overthinking (Favorite Podcast of 2020)
No surprise here. Phenomenal Podcast.
I found myself revisiting older episodes (episodes I've heard before) from time to time simply because they are so good.
Every episode (especially the earlier ones) are individual gold mines and a perfect hybrid of banter and insights. Some of the later ones (those with low sound quality when they record virtually/have guests) are much less enjoyable, at least to me.
Here are a few of my favorite episodes. Give them a listen and tell me what you think!
2. The Daily Show with Trevor Noah: Ears Edition
This is my go-to podcast for global news/political situation in the United States.
Yes, the episodes are much less in-depth but Trevor Noah (author of my favorite read of 2020) puts a hilarious spin on developing events and explains them in laymen term. I would gladly trade the slight decrease in depth for a better overall understanding and exposure to current issues (something I'm actively working on).
Check the podcast out by clicking the link below!
3. The Table Talk Podcast
This is a rare find in my Podcast List. A Malaysian podcast.
It's incredibly comforting to listen to and they shed light on various issues ranging from racial discrimination to marriage to toxic masculinity, entirely from Malaysian perspectives.
Ironically, the hosts' Malaysian accent is what makes this podcast a refreshing listen for me. (My library is filled with podcast hosts from foreign countries) Besides, their stories resonated so well with me.
I’d reckon this podcast is one I would definitely visit again and again when I’m away from Malaysia in about a year’s time.
Here's my favorite episode. If there's one episode you listen to in this article, listen to this one.
4. Today, Explained.
To make up for the loss of depth in The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, I've been actively making the effort to consistently listen to this podcast to gain a deeper understanding on specific events.
They often have guests on the show to discuss all the major global events and the repercussions spilled into other industries/countries.
In 2021, I'm looking to listen more 'dense' and 'intellectual' podcasts instead of podcasts that I listen for purely for leisure. There'll be a great deal of friction involved but I'm determined to see it through. Guess we'll find out how it goes next year!
Check out Today,Explained by clicking the embedded episode below.
5. The Ground Up Show
The Ground Up Show hosted by Matt D'Avella and explores the stories behind famous creators who pursued their passion and what inspired them to make meaningful content.
It has not received an episode update since the 28th of June 2019. However, I still found a lot of value from previous episodes, in particular the episode with best-selling author James Clear. Check it out below!
🚨 How Podcast Affects Attention
Although podcasts help make studying much more enjoyable for me and prevents me from getting bored with dull work, they do spring a lot of ideas in my head as I'm listening to them.
Initially, I kept getting distracted and instead of studying, I would develop the latest idea that striked me. This proved to be a real hit to my productivity.
While I would recommend you to try listening to podcasts while you are doing menial tasks as a productivity hack, I cannot with good conscience tell you that it doesn't affect your attention.
The step I took to combat this is to have a stack of Post-It Notes on my table while I'm working. This way, whenever an idea hits me, I can just jot it down instead of being distracted or risking the idea slipping through my brain by the end of the study session (highly possible).
That's a little disclaimer for this article.
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