Listen while you work

I don’t know about you guys, but whenever I need to get shit done at work, I listen to podcasts. I never understood the whole rage with podcasts; I used to think they were like audible books which I’ve tried once and just couldn’t concentrate so decided not to do it again. Plus, nothing beats the satisfaction of reading the words and holding an actual book… or e-book.

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My last manager listened to podcasts whenever she worked and I thought it was very fascinating. One day I decided to give it a go and surprisingly, I found it quite enjoyable. I know what you’re thinking; how the hell do you concentrate on your work if you’re listening to someone talk in your ear? To be honest, I have no idea! But it works! It’s less distracting than listening to music as well because with music, I always find myself tapping my feet and humming along and creating music video scenarios in my head (I know you do it too!). And if I don’t listen to anything I get sucked into the hustle and bustle of everyday conversations going on around me and I’d rather not listen in on other people’s convos. It makes me really uncomfortable. I’ve never been good at multitasking but surprisingly, I’m really good at listening to the podcast AND doing work.

I thought I’d share with you my top five favourite podcasts. So if you’re a podcast-listener-worker like me and are looking for some new recommendations, or if you’re a podcast virgin looking to pop that cherry, you’ve come to the right place.

On your marks, set, GO…

Casefile 

This is my absolute favourite podcast. I listen to it while cooking, cleaning, commuting and well, working. Each week, the podcast covers well-known murders and what I like the most about it is the fact that they go into great detail; from the background of the murderers, to their crimes right through to their death or sentencing. I’m a fan of murder mysteries and crime and like watching documentaries and tv shows on murders (my Netflix recommendations list is looking pretty damn gory) so that’s why I enjoy this podcast. It may not be the podcast for everyone, just because it can be quite grisly, but if you enjoy a good history lesson on well-known murders, I highly recommend it.

Success Insider 

This was one of the first podcasts I listened to and I actually quite enjoy it. It’s part of SUCCESS magazine and is hosted by Shelby Skrhak and Josh Ellis. Each week, they discuss the latest trends in personal empowerment and career development and give you lots of tips and tricks on how to be more productive and move up that career ladder. I think what I like most about this podcast is the conversations the two hosts have. Usually I find podcasts like these to be kind of stale with lots of really pretentious music but for a ‘self-help’ podcast, I’ve really enjoyed this one. Plus, each episode is nice and short too.

The Inquiry

If you’ve got an interest in current affairs without wanting to spend too much time on it, I highly recommend this podcast by the BBC World Service. They cover topical issues and ask the hard-hitting questions, and best of all, they do it in half an hour or less. When it comes to world issues or politics, I’m not going to lie I like getting the facts and I don’t like listening to long, overly drawn commentary and opinion. I just want an intro to the issue and if I’m really interested, I would go and do some research. This one is great for getting the who, what, when, where and how.

TEDTalks

I have a funny feeling that everyone who listens to podcasts will have TEDTalks on their subscribed list. TEDTalks have made such a name of themselves and what I love about listening to it is it’s inspiring (and short!) and covers a range of topics from business, technology, world issues to emotions, relationships, mental health and creativity. So if you feel like listening to something motivating, check it out because I guarantee you’ll find a topic of interest and learn and thing or two.

BTW, the hyperlink will take you to their website where you can also access videos. I listen to podcasts on the Apple Podcast app.  

Myths and Legends

I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to fairy tales, legends, folklores and myths. There’s so many out there and I can’t keep up with them. What I love about this podcast is that I get to be transported to a different era with host Jason Weiser covering what the legend/myth/folklore is about and its origins. It’s so fascinating and is a great one to listen to when you’re stuck in the office doing mundane things and just want to be transported to a different world.

Yes I’m a fantasist and can easily transport myself to a different world but sometimes, you need a little help and that’s where this podcast comes in. Also, if you’re a history buff like me, you get a bit of a history lesson too which makes it extra awesome!

So here’s my top five list. Some other recommendations I’d love to share are:

Have you got a favourite podcast that you think I should check out? Please comment below and share because I’m always on the hunt for new podcasts to listen to!

Full-time study and work: just stick to it

If you’ve been reading my blog posts for the last month, I’m sure you’ve picked up that I’m working full-time as well as studying full-time. I’ve been doing this for over a month now and I thought I’d share my experience and some tips that might come in handy if you’re thinking of embarking on formal study without having to quit your job.

Just a bit of background on what I do and why I chose to study and not quit my job: I’m a Communications and Engagement Advisor for a government department. My highest qualification to date is a National Diploma in Journalism. I never finished my degree and thought I’d take three papers this semester to fill in some ‘free-time’ gaps since it’s not like I’m doing anything productive. I’m completing a Bachelor of Professional Communications and I know it seems strange that I’m studying towards a job that I’m already in but I thought it’d be a good way to help me understand my role better from an academic perspective.

So getting into it…

Firstly, there’s no sugar coating it: balancing work and study is challenging. On top of that, there’s life and its many attractions and disruptions. The key to success is planning and discipline. You’d be surprised at how much you can achieve if you take time to set out a schedule and (here’s the real challenging part!) STICK TO IT.

I’m not going to lie: I still find it super challenging but I’ve never been good at balancing, multitasking or general discipline. For those of you who are good at all of that, then it’s a piece of cake and you’re probably reading this and having a bit of a chuckle. For those of you who are like me, fret not because I’m telling you it’s doable.

I set my study schedule in my bullet journal – I plan out what I’m going to study and which activities I’m going to complete and when, what assignments are due and when I should start them. I also set a time to start studying, allocate the hours of study and try my complete best to STICK TO IT. I know it seems like a lot of effort goes into planning this out in writing, but it’s what works for me so find what works for you. It could be as simple as putting your assignment and reading schedule into your phone’s calendar.

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If you know that a social gathering is coming up, plan around that. Perhaps allocate two hours of study that day and then treat the social gathering as a ‘reward’. If you find you really can’t bring yourself to stick to your planned study hours, that’s okay – shift it and study in an hour or two after you’ve relaxed and done what you need to. If you’re like me and have set TV shows you just simply can’t miss, plan around it so you don’t feel guilty about not studying when you’re supposed to.

Just because planning is one of the keys to success, doesn’t mean you can’t be flexible. It’s going to be a hard time so it’s important to be kind to yourself. There are times when I want to gauge my eyeballs out and cry from the stress but I have to remind myself that I’m only human and sometimes life gets challenging and despite it all, I can do it.

So again I reiterate – planning and discipline is going to be your best friend during this challenging time. When the going gets tough, please don’t give up. STICK TO IT. After all, when you get your assignments in, get that exam done and get that passing grade, you realise it was all worth it. Well I do anyways.

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Hopefully you found this post somewhat helpful. If you’re in the same boat as me, please share your secret to fulltime study/fulltime work success!