Well-Being//

How I Finally Found Time For Podcasts

For too long, I said "I don't have time." Then, I discovered the "15-minute rule."

Sorrorwoot Chaiyawong / EyeEm/ Getty Images
Sorrorwoot Chaiyawong / EyeEm/ Getty Images

I was a bit late to the podcasting party. I did binge-listen to Season One of Serial when it came out. And as a former Chicago Public Radio employee, I’ve been a faithful fan of  This American Life since the show was launched in the mid 1990’s.

But for someone with a background in radio, it was strange that I didn’t listen to more podcasts once they became all the rage.

The main thing stopping me (or so I thought)?

Time.

When I got laid off a year and a half ago, I’d already committed to reading more. I made the conscious decision that I would continue to read fiction at night, but would begin reading more widely in the non-fiction arena every morning, even if that just meant reading for 15-20 minutes. I really wanted to stay up to speed on developments in the longevity space, and this was the only way I could figure out how to do it. It worked.

I made a similar decision about podcasts a few months back. I kept hearing about all these fantastic shows from people whose tastes I really admired, but somehow I wasn’t finding time in my day to listen.

So I took the advice I give other people (not terribly original, but useful nonetheless), who often ask me how one makes time in a busy day to contemplate career change…or start writing a book…or take up the violin. I told them about the “15 minute rule”: find 15 minutes in your day to experiment with this new thing. Not everyone can find an extra hour in their day; but everyone can find 15 minutes.

That might mean waking up 15 minutes earlier to tackle said activity. It might mean re-allocating 15 minutes you currently apply to something else to this new thing. Or it could mean multi-tasking, if the two activities, like exercise, can be done simultaneously.

In the case of podcasts, I took advantage of two windows in my day: first, the time I set aside for my old-lady stretches. That’s at least 15 minutes every morning and every evening a piece that could be prime listening time. Second, because I don’t have a car, I do a lot of walking around London, especially to and from the local tube station (in addition to the local swimming pool.) Boom. That was another 20 – sometimes 40 – minutes of daily listening.

Before I knew it, I had a whole bunch of new podcasts in my roster and people are now asking *me* for advice on which ones to listen to! (Quick plug for my monthly newsletter: I recommend one podcast a month).

I’m always reassured when solving a problem turns out to be so much easier than I imagined it would be, simply by applying some ingenuity.

How about you? Have you ever sworn that you didn’t have time to do something new and then learned how to sneak it into your day without it overwhelming you?

Share your lessons in the comments section.

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