As far as I see it, there are two types of people: those who think they can multitask and those who know better. With minor exceptions, multitasking breaks focus and slows productivity. This is one of those exceptions.
You can call it a habit, a goal, a standard or crazy, but I try to walk at least 10,000 steps–about five miles–every day. In the past month I have done this 28 of 31 days. As I walk I listen to podcasts. I subscribe to several and they fall into three categories.
About half the walk is an audio version of the PBS News Hour. Once a week, I satisfy my inner science geek with This Week in Science. These and a couple others remind me that there is an outside world.
I pick up an assortment of personal growth podcasts doing interviews or offering ideas. Some of these lead to books to read, either in full or through a Blinkist summary. If I’m not hooked in the first couple minutes, I’m on to the next topic.
This category covers hobbies and entertainment.
By playing these podcasts while I walk, I can get a briefing on current events, pick up some useful ideas and catch a few messages about my hobbies while allocating the time to health and exercise. I generally play the podcasts at 1.5 speed, as fast as possible without distorting voices.
Truthfully, this time is for the exercise. The podcasts are scanned for potential interests but not rigorously studied. Over the past few years that I’ve done this, the News Hour has dutifully reported the Dow Jones Industrial Average over 1000 times and I couldn’t guess it within 10% or even define it accurately. I guess I was right–I can’t multitask, but it does make walking those miles more pleasant.
What podcasts do you follow and why? Are you giving them your full attention?