Why it's so hard for me to decide when to listen to a podcast

March 7, 2019

Podcasts are a compelling medium.

I've been listening to podcasts for years now, from extremely popular podcasts such as Hardcore History and The History of Rome to niche podcasts such as Birds with Friends and Eagle Eye in the Sky (about the Philadelphia Eagles) to business podcasts like The Fizzle Show.

Recently, I've been a guest on some podcasts too. I spoke with Josh Schachnow from Solopreneur Grind and with Jack Monson from Social Geek Radio. Next week, another podcast recording I did is coming out. (I'll be sharing that with you when it's available.)

And those are just to talk about the Creator Challenge. I've also recorded a podcast episode and a video interview for a virtual summit for my yoga consulting business (No More Newsletters).

Beyond that, I've been toying with the idea of starting my own podcast.

So I'm a huge fan of podcasts. Like I said, it's a compelling medium.

But I struggle with deciding when to listen to a podcast. The key problem is that, ever since I started meditating a few years ago, I have discovered that I feel better when I am present in the here and now. This is mindfulness. And I have discovered that I am more stressed the more stimuli are around me.

Let's say I'm biking through the city. That's usually not stressful, but under the right circumstances, it can stress me out a lot: for example, when it's dark, windy, and rainy out, and there are cars all around me, particularly noisy ones. In a moment like that, if I add listening to a podcast as a stimulus, I will likely become uncomfortably stressed.

That's an extreme example. For me, anyway. For you, biking through the city might be a relaxing activity.

What about when I'm cooking, or when I'm doing my daily stretches? Usually I have to think when cooking, because I'm not an experienced cook. So I can't focus on the podcast. Even when I'm stretching, which I do every day, I still focus on the stretching to a point that I notice myself missing large chunks of the podcast.

Okay, so how about I simply sit still and look out the window while I listen to a podcast? For some reason, that bores me. Monkey mind...

In the end, I usually listen to podcasts on the go. For me, it's ideal to listen while I'm on public transit. I'm not doing nothing—I'm moving towards my destination—so it's not as "boring" as listening to a podcast at home while staring out the window. But I also don't have to pay much attention when I'm on the bus, metro, tram, or train. And I do listen to podcasts while biking often as well. After all, I'm Dutch, so I like to go most places by bike.

But I continue to struggle to decide when to listen to a podcast. I want to do the podcast justice by giving it my full attention, yet I don't allow myself to simply listen to a podcast and do nothing else. Whereas if I try to listen to a podcast while doing something else that's meaningful, I learn (again!) that I cannot multitask and it's pointless to try.

When do you listen to podcasts? Do you have these same struggles?


— Peter

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