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By Susanna Kalnes, Senior Associate

Hi, my name is Susanna Kalnes and I’m addicted to podcasts. I listen to them while I’m commuting to work, getting ready in the morning, walking to and from the grocery store, working out, cooking, and doing house chores. I tune in to everything from podcasts relaying the day’s news and events, to those explaining the most niche of topics (how saunas work, for instance).  I’ve even found myself replacing the time I previously spent watching Netflix and surfing social media channels with listening to podcasts about real-life cold case files. Yep, I’m a podcast addict – and a proud one, at that.

I’ve known for a while that I’m a podcast addict, but it wasn’t until just recently that I realized why I am so obsessed with them. For me, it all boils down to one thing: multitasking. Yes, I could just blow dry my hair. But if I popped in my earbuds, I could also learn something useful or retain the day’s news during those otherwise useless 10 minutes. And sure, I could definitely watch TV for an hour on a Sunday night. But I could also pop in my earbuds, throw on a Sci-Fi podcast and fold the week’s laundry so I can kick off Monday with an organized closet. To me, the beauty of podcasts lies in one’s ability to enjoy entertainment while getting stuff done.  

A recent Forbes article references “the five best podcasts to get your day off to a great start.”  And while I can’t say I’ve tuned in to all five from the article just yet, I can honestly say that I’m eager to give the two I haven’t a good listen. And I wholeheartedly agree with the author of this piece who says, “what you consume, from food and beverages to your media diet has a major impact on that routine, and therefore your mindset, your energy and ultimately your productivity at a crucial part of your day.” And with that concept in mind, I have three podcast precautions to share with you today:

  1. Avoid podcasts that aren’t produced by reputable news sources.  This may be a controversial subject at the moment due to the talk of “fake news” and the like, but it’s particularly relevant in the world of podcasts since anyone and everyone can create a podcast and express their subjective opinions. When looking for a news podcast specifically, look for one that’s produced by a news organization that has extremely high standards for objectivity in reporting. I, myself, listen to The Daily, which is produced every day, Monday through Friday, by the New York Times.
  2. Routine is good, but never stop exploring. It’s easy to get hooked on certain podcasts and formats, but this day and age, there are an unlimited amount of podcasts out there to explore. Avoid getting “stuck” on just one, and make it a routine to find a new podcast to listen to every single week. You never know what you’ll learn! A fun place to start if you are new to podcasts is Stuff You Should Know, as you will learn about all sorts of topics in a short amount of time.
  3. Avoid “scary” podcasts both early and late in the day.  Admittedly, I take my podcasts like I take my books – twisted and demented. I am a sucker for a good, real-life murder mystery and have been addicted to brilliantly produced, storytelling podcasts such as Dirty John and Dr. Death, both of which I would highly recommend. But I would not recommend starting or ending your day with this type of content. I tried that once with podcast Happy Face, which chronicles the life of serial killer Keith Jesperson through his daughter’s perspective, and I spent my entire day “freaked out.”  Learn from my mistake and listen to these types of podcasts smack dab in the middle of the day, perhaps on a weekend when you are multitasking your chores.

Podcasts are here to stay, everyone, and if you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, what are you waiting for?  A whole world of multitasking, learning and entertainment is right at your fingertips.