5 Tips for Making the Most of Podcasts

I love podcasts. They allow me to consume a huge amount of educational and entertaining content during times my brain would otherwise be underutilized, such as while driving or cleaning out the garage. Podcasting is a form of audio broadcasting on the Internet. Think of it as on-demand and free radio programs. Podcasts also come in video format, but this post is focused on audio-only podcasts.


I first started listening to podcasts in 2005, soon after they became available in the iTunes store. I discovered the Dave Ramsey Show and diligently synced my iPod with my laptop every day via cable to get the newest episode for my commute.

Podcasting has exploded in popularity since then, and new technology has made listening to podcasts a much easier and more enjoyable experience. Instead of syncing with my laptop daily, I use the Downcast app, which automatically downloads new episodes of the 25-30 podcasts I listen to regularly.

Here are 5 tips for making the most of podcasts:

1. Turn up the speed

Most podcast players allow you to change the playback speed. Downcast has 0.5, 1, 1.25, 1.5, 2, and 3x speeds. I listen to most podcasts at 2x, which allows me to consume twice as much content as regular speaking speed.

If you haven’t listened to sped-up content, it may sound too fast at first, but it doesn’t take long to get used to. Our brains can listen a lot faster than we can speak. I’d like to listen at 3x speed, but I find that content often gets skipped.

2. Use playlists to keep track

I listen to so many different podcasts that I need a way to track and prioritize, which is where playlists come in.

I make sure I listen to every episode of a few of my favorite podcasts, such as Michael Hyatt, Andy Andrews, and Entreleadership. I have a Favorites playlists that all new episodes automatically appear in, and an episode disappears once I listen to it.

I enjoy some podcasts that are too long and frequent to listen to all episodes. For example, the Dave Ramsey Show and Entrepreneur on Fire have daily 30-45 minute episodes. I have separate playlists for these podcasts, and I listen to them when I’m done with my Favorites playlist.

Playlists can also have customized settings. I want some podcast episodes to disappear after I listen to them, and others I listen to more than once. I listen to most at 2x, but I prefer some at 1.5x. For example, I listen to LDS General Conference talks/episodes more than once during the 6 months in between sessions, and I prefer to listen at 1.5x.

3. Listen whenever possible

It’s important to give our minds down time. We need time to think, sometimes about nothing. But we also have a lot of time we can educate ourselves while doing other things. I use my Bose bluetooth to listen to podcasts and audiobooks whenever my brain doesn’t have to be fully utilized.

For example, I listen while getting ready in the morning, driving (unless I’m with someone and want to be good company), running, biking, and cleaning the house, garage, or yard.

4. Look for recommendations

Thousands of podcasts are available, so it’s tough to narrow it down to the best ones for you. Many websites and blogs in your areas of interest will provide recommendations for the best podcasts.

Click here to see all of the podcasts I regularly listen to.

5. Periodically review the top podcasts lists

iTunes has top 100 podcast lists in several different categories. I often review the business, health, and technology categories to see what’s new and popular.

As you can tell, I’m a huge fan of podcasts. They are a great way consume educational or entertaining content while doing other things that don’t fully occupy your brain.

Question: What are your favorite podcasts and podcast players?