Passive Solutions to Active Problems: Using Podcasts to Increase Learning Retention and Productivity

Addie Johnson
2 min readJul 25, 2019

Screens are exhausting. Podcasts provide a fresh alternative: rather than relying on our already tired eyes, we can use our ears. And because of this, we consume the information as if listening to conversations: we hear the silences, tonal voice-changes, and laughs rather than words and images on a screen.

People are always telling us “time is money, so don’t waste it,” but with the advent of social media (and using social media as a procrastination tool) usage skyrocketing, we often find ourselves doing just that. Here’s where podcasts are amazing: they inspire, inform, educate, and bring awareness to all sorts of causes—and, the best part—you can consume them while doing other things.

Here are some of my tips to get the most out of podcasts and by learning more and being more productive!

1. Listen to Youtube Videos and podcasts with on double speed (with captions on if you’re going to sit down and watch it).

Hearing and seeing the content at a faster rate makes you focus more intently and can help you retain the information better.

2. Listen to podcasts about things you’re trying to learn while doing repetitive motion tasks.

Example: running/meal prepping/washing dishes/walking. Seems obvious, but light exercise and repetitive actions are known to help you remember things and you can knock two errands/tasks out in one stone.

3. Summarize and synthesize what you learned.

After listening to a podcast, instead of moving on to the next one, either write down or record yourself responding to what you were interested in or make a micro summary about what the podcast was talking about. You’ll not only remember and retain the information better, but you can also access it easier than having to remember which podcast and what time-mark you heard the information.

4. Start a weekly podcast club with friends.

Unlike books, you can listen to a 5–10 minute podcast and be able to form an opinion about it. Why not share that and make it a social activity to help everyone around you learn and grow more about topics you’re passionate about?

(part 1 of 2 on my time-saving tips series)



Addie Johnson

writing about the intersection of design, business, and technology //