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Summary:

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I never listen to music on my iPod. And yet, I listen to my iPod for a minimum of 30 minutes every day and often for several hours. Instead of music, I fill my iPod with audio podcasts. I don’t watch the news on TV or listen to the radio, so I rely on podcasts as my primary way to consume some types of news. Maybe I’m not as “hip” as the cool people in the iPod commercials, but I am a more productive web worker as a result.

Photo by Josh Bancroft

Photo by Josh Bancroft

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I never listen to music on my iPod. Seriously. I keep a playlist of 25 songs on it just in case I get the urge to listen to music, but I never do.  And yet, I listen to my iPod for a minimum of 30 minutes every day and often for several hours.

Instead of music, I fill my iPod with audio podcasts. I don’t watch the news on TV or listen to the radio, so I rely on podcasts as my primary way to consume some types of news (blogs and feeds are also a big part of how I consume information). I use iTunes subscriptions, which allow my podcasts to automagically appear on my computer every day, and I sync my iPod first thing in the morning so that it is ready at all times.

Most of my regular subscriptions fall into a couple of categories.

General News. NPR 7am News Summary and New York Times Front Page.

Tech News. TWiT, net@night, FLOSS Weekly, Buzz Out Loud, WSJ Tech News Briefing, IFW Daily, CNET News Daily, Strange Love Live, BBC Digital Planet, PRI The World

Special Topics. NPR Science Friday and TEDTalks.

Like most of you, I am incredibly busy, so how can I possibly consume so much content? The secret lies in multi-tasking. Here is my quick criteria for whether I am doing an activity that is iPod friendly. I can listen to podcasts if I am doing a task that

  1. doesn’t require deep thinking and analysis
  2. forces me to be away from my computer and
  3. has a minimized danger of tangled headphones (yoga is not an iPod approved activity).

For me, this means: getting ready in the morning, riding the bus, shopping, putting away groceries, running errands, working out (see above caveat about tangling), walking between meetings, doing dishes, laundry, cooking, cleaning, organizing and more.

Maybe I’m not as “hip” as the cool people in the iPod commercials, but I am a more productive web worker as a result.

What’s on your mp3 player? How do you use it to increase your productivity?

  1. I use my iPod primarily too listen to music and keep me away from the distractions around me. I used my iPod for listen to fun and some news podcasts.

    I also keep my contacts in it and with some help of “Actiontastic” my free GTD application I keep my tasks in it. And some important annotation like which Wolverine is missing in my collection. ;]

    I love to keep some photos of my beloved ones so I can relax in those terrible moments.

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  2. I do the same and listen during my 1 hour commute. A couple of other podcasts you might like are BBC “In Our Time”, a really great general knowledge show. “The Onion Radio News”, 5 minutes of total wackiness. And “Security Now” which is Leo Laporte and Steve Gibson on Internet security.

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  3. I use my iPod almost the entire workday, usually to help filter out distractions around me. This helps greatly, and helps me concentrate.

    One problem I have noticed though is choosing the right music for what im doing (Work, gym, etc). If I dont have something upbeat at the gym, I start lagging. If I dont have the right music at work, I find myself skipping to many songs, and really wasting time. Therefore, when I have some moments to really ‘think’ at work, I usually choose Jazz or something quieter/softer than Indie rock while coding away.

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  4. I actually do listen to music on my iPod, but it’s work-related because, among other things, I do concert photography and web design for musicians. Lately I’ve been listening obsessively to a guy that I want to shoot (photographically) with the blazing passion of a thousand suns. *g* (Going to, too. I got his musical partner last month. I’m working my way up to him, step by step.)

    I also carry a selection of my photographs on my iPod, and yes, also podcasts, which are a fabulous to while away long hours on the road. (I’m not an on-the-road musician, but I live like one an awful lot.) How did I ever get by without this fabulous little tool?

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  5. I do the same thing! I use my regular iPod to listen to podcasts. I mostly listen to MacBreak Weekly (w Leo and friends). I use my Shuffle for workout music. My wife’s Nano is used for music (we plug it into a Bose SoundDock. As you can tell we love our iPods too.

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  6. Three days a week I drive into work which means I am on the road 6 hours out of the week. I use my ipod to keep up with the latest information that pertains to my job. I would have to say it is a great use of time and keeps me well informed. When I first started this traveling pattern I used the ipod to listen to audio books about business. I consider it my mini MBA.

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  7. I’ve never listened to music on my iPod touch.

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  8. I use my iPod for listening to podcasts on longish trips. I used to listen to podcasts on it all the time. Less so now.

    Now I primarily subscribe to podcasts in Netvibes. I work at a computer all day, and it’s simple to pick and choose them to listen to that way, plus if I’m at a different computer, I can easily log in and listen as well. And if there’s one I want to load on the iPod, I simply click the download button in Netvibes and load it into iTunes.

    I’m a big fan of the iPod Shuffle for listening to music. Just picked up an iPod Touch recently, and it’s great for surfing the Web via WiFi and grabbing articles/RSS feeds to read on the run when not connected to WiFi. The iPod Touch is an amazing little device.

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  9. Add me to the list of iPod Nano enthusiasts with nothing but podcasts (audio and video) on my favorite little gadget. As an ex-pat, I rely on news podcasts to keep me up-to-date on what’s happening at home, and my 30-minute train ride to work is the perfect time to listen.

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  10. I used to use my ipod nano, but I’ve now switched to an app called doggcatcher on the G1. I like the fact I’m not sitting waiting at my comp waiting for my morning podcasts to be downloaded/synced. It is all over the air now.

    In terms of podcasts – On the tech side I like hanselminutes and stackoverflow. On the business side I like bbc radio’s wake up to money and the bottom line with evan davis.

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