This summer, I'm working for an architecture firm's construction department. It's a pretty mindless job, but hey, it's $15 an hour. The group's official title is "cleanup crew," which basically means we do all the grunt work that skilled laborers don't bother with. Half the time I'm standing around, pushing dirt with a broom. Other times I'm cleaning the dirt and gunk off windows. Sometimes I carry awkwardly heavy objects for long, uncomfortable periods of time.
All this to say, I get pretty bored with it. For the first few weeks, I didn't bring headphones. The work was dull, the hours were long and there was nothing to distract my attention. I eventually brought my headphones and tried music, which can certainly help, but I listen to music all the time.
I decided I wanted to shake it up.
I'd been listening to a few podcasts in my spare time when I went to the gym and decided this could be the perfect thing to keep my mind off of picking up never-ending piles of trash or shop-vacuuming a dust-coated room. Once I discovered some new podcasts, the hours flew by infinitely quicker. I had something to distract me from a tedious task.
Podcasts can really help you escape into another world. If you're doing a task that doesn't require much attention, you can focus on the two things at once. The MMQB offers a podcast that releases a new episode every Monday called "10 Things Podcast." It's hosted by Gary Gramling and Andy Benoit, two football writers who break down the X's and O's of the game. That may sound boring to many, but delving into this complex topic and listening to a detailed conversation covering the minutiae of the game I love is a fantastic way for me to blow through time.
Another benefit of podcasts is there are just about a million different ones to choose from. If sports aren't your thing, you can look elsewhere. There are podcasts about entertainment, business, true crime, history, technology, art, music, religion and just about anything else you can think of.
Each podcast can offer many virtues, not only based on its subject matter but by the personalities of the hosts, the format of the show, how often they are produced, etc. When a podcast has a host or two that you enjoy and frequently listen to, you almost feel like you're forming a relationship with them. Hearing their voice becomes a welcome sign that you are about to be entertained for the duration of that podcast.
They can even help you learn!
The Joe Rogan Experience was the first podcast I got into and it's no wonder that he has the number three most listened to podcasts on the iTunes store. Rogan regularly has guests that are experts in a field and they have two to three-hour discussions that range from their area of expertise to their opinions surrounding their everyday life. Not only are you learning about a person you never knew anything about prior, but you now have digested information on a topic that you may have otherwise not paid any attention to. JRE is just one example of many where a podcast can help bring you some cool new information in a way that makes learning more fun.
I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a person that can't find a podcast that interests them. With so many topics to choose from, it's certainly an option worth exploring. Next time you're mowing the lawn, taking a drive or working out, tune into a podcast and see if it helps you pass the time. You just may have found a cool new way to make the hours fly by.