Podcasts & Learning

I've been listening to podcasts like crazy lately. Podcasts on my way to work. Podcasts at my desk. Podcasts during lunch. (I usually talk to my mom on my way home from work, so no podcasts then.)

I've been catching up on my favorite shows and have discovered a few new ones, too.

Invisible Office Hours with Jason Zook & Paul Jarvis
Action Army with Jason Zook (and often Caroline Kelso Zook)
Being Boss with Kathleen Shannon & Emily Thompson

I've been focusing on mostly business-related topics. I figured that if I have all this dead space where I'm not listening to music or talking to anyone else, I should be learning instead.

My brain is a sponge.

The thing is, it's kind of fun. I don't want to listen to my coworkers quietly cursing their computers around me. I'd much rather listen to a show with some great personalities who can teach me amazing things.

I started to doubt the effectiveness, though, a few weeks back when my mom asked me a question. "Are you actually paying attention?" she asked. "Yes, of course," was my immediate answer, but it really got me thinking.

Maybe I wasn't listening as well as I could be. Sometimes I'd get interrupted by someone else. Sometimes I'd be concentrating so hard on something that I'd tune it out. Sometimes I couldn't help but listen to other things around me. Sometimes I would start and stop an episode a dozen times because the interruptions just kept coming.

But if I'm not listening, why am I even bothering?

When I really thought about it, I decided that it's totally worth it.

I may not be listening to every single word, but I AM catching the main points. I'm hearing snippets of the conversation. I'm still learning SOMETHING.

Plus, it's pretty easy to hit the rewind button if I miss something or pause if someone needs to talk to me.

And chances are, if I stop and read an article instead, I'd be skimming it instead of reading every single word.

So even if I don't have the ability to dedicate 100% of my attention to something, the 64% concentration that I AM dedicating is 64% more than if I wasn't trying at all.

And can't the same be applied to learning anything?

Doing SOME work is better than none at all.

If I only have one hour to practice basketball, that's better than not practicing at all.

I don't have time to complete this entire course, but if I read this one programming tutorial instead, that's better than not trying at all.

I don't have time to complete an entire illustration right now, but if I start my outline now, that's better than not starting at all.

I don't think I follow this rule in my life nearly enough. I'm notorious for thinking, "Well, I don't have time to take this entire course right now, so I'll play video games instead." Instead of doing something small and learning SOMETHING, I'm doing nothing and learning NOTHING.

So I'm going to work on applying this throughout my life. 10 minutes of learning is better than 5, which is better than none at all. In the end, it'll be worth it.