Why I Love My iPod (Yes, This Is Work-Related)

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, [email protected], 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?