Internet Self Improvement

Let’s Talk Productivity: 7 Podcasts You Should Listen To For Working Awesomely

Saikat Basu 18-03-2014

Can seven strangers improve the way you work?


They can change your life. If you give them your ear.

Podcasts are the Web’s gift to people who like to go by the ear. Podcasts won’t cure the vexing problem of rush hour traffic and losing that parking space. But they could help lower your blood pressure if you listen to the right kind. So, instead of overusing the sphygmometer let us talk about productivity — or let these seven life hackers talk about the little things we can do to work awesomely.

Plug in…sit back…and listen. If you are driving, pay attention to the road.

5By5 – Back To Work

Podcast on Work Productivity

Merlin Mann  and 43 Folders. Ring a bell? Back To Work is his creation along with Dan Benjamin who set up 5By5 as a podcast platform. They talk about productivity, communication, work, barriers, constraints, tools, and more. They get to that much later in their talks, which clock one-hour plus in length. Give the first few 15 -20 minutes to their easy chatter about family, molars, toys, Marvel movies, trombone and footballs. You could easily dismiss it as afternoon chatter between friends on a park bench. You could easily get bored. They do test your patience before they get down to the grist.


Back To Work does not sound forced as both podcasters build a lot of the talks around their lives. Start from the first episodes. Let their banter grow in you.

Listening to: Five-Dollar Murray (on perfectionism and procrastination).

You can also enjoy these productivity podcasts among the 36 on the site.

  • Systematic
  • Mikes on Mics

Beyond The To-Do List

Personal productivity


I first caught Erik Fisher on Stitcher. Beyond The To-Do List is about his “perspectives” on personal productivity that he reveals with the help of his guests. Guests talk about their own productivity mantras and living the good life while getting work done.  You will agree with him when he explains that the show is more about getting the right things done, rather than just getting them done. Real productivity lies beyond to-do lists and calendars.

You should like the podcasts as the guests reveal their own real struggles and setbacks, while succeeding in their dreams.

Listening to: Donald Miller on Focus, Finish and living a meaningful story

Getting Things Done

Getting Things Done


Missing out on your big picture goals? Simplify your daily tasks first. David Allen is the first name that comes to mind when we talk about Getting Things Done. He created the system, so it makes sense to learn about work-life management systems from the guru himself. You may not be a card-carrying member of the GTD community, but there is no denying that GTD is the base for personal time management. Moving your planned tasks out of your head into a list and turning them into actionable items is always the first step. The 35 podcasts are not updated frequently, but do give them a listen when you start with GTD.

Listening to: At Least You Have a Wagon (On getting back up after falling off the GTD wagon).

This Is Your Life

Intentional leadership

Michael Hyatt posts a new episode every Wednesday. The weekly podcast’s theme is intentional leadership. The goal of each sound byte is to make you live with passion and work with greater focus. Most of the episodes talk about entrepreneurial scenarios, but think about them – they are all applicable to your daily life.


Michael Hyatt has a book publishing background. He was the former Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers. Now, as an established speaker, blogger, and author he espouses the rules for personal success. The podcasts are also a platform for plugging his other productivity products, but you can hop over that to listen to the meat of the talk.

Listening to: What to Do When You Feel Overwhelmed (Seven steps to start doing the things that matter most).

Home Work

Podcasts for telecommuters and freelancers

If you work from home, then you will find yourself going back to the podcasts here. Aaron Mahnke and Dave Caolo talk about the common issues faced by telecommuters and freelancers. The podcasts also feature tools you can hack to make your work simpler. Home Work is one of the shows on 70Decibels, a network of podcasts for geeks. The last podcast came out in September last year. Here’s hoping that it’s not the last. Before the next one comes along, dive into the 76 that have come before. Download the podcasts or subscribe to them on iTunes.

Listening to: Passion Isn’t Enough (Why “follow your passion” is bad career advice).

Manager Tools

Manager Tools

Mike Auzenne and Mark Horstman talk about work behavior and career. The management consultants talk about methods to make you a better manager with the right set of tools. Manager Tools is a huge collection of 400+ podcasts with two podcasts every week. While Manager Tools is focused on leadership, Career Tools gives practical, actionable advice on how to speed up your career. If it is your first time here, start with the Manager Tools “Basics” — a special collection of podcasts on the essentials of effective managerial behavior.

You can also download the iOS apps for listening to Manager Tools and Career Tools while on the move.

Listening to: Horstman’s Noon Rule of Scheduling (How to not let the day get away from you).

Habit Chef – Kendra Kinnison

Personal productivity

Habits and productivity are tied at the hip. Kendra Kinnison talks about both. If you are exhausted to fit your goals and dreams with all the chaos around, this could be the podcast for you. Her own story is inspiring which started when she was 11 and her mother fell seriously ill. She married at 16, became a mother at 18, and graduated college at 19.  This is where I learnt about the concept of the “20 Mile March”, and I am sure you will like it enough to move ahead with it.

Listening to: Setting your pace (how to manage slacking off and burnout).

Podcasts fit snugly in the little minutes you have. Those minutes add to your productivity 15 Productive Things To Do Online When You Have 15 Minutes To Kill Can we put some value in the minutes we waste? Let's get thinking about the productive things we can do online when we have a few minutes in our hands. Read More . So, try them out for leisurely listening — find and discover good podcasts What Is The Best Way To Find New Podcasts? Finding good podcasts takes some digging. Word of mouth remains the best way to discover the next great podcast. If the grapevines are silent, here are a few more ways to find new podcasts. Read More . You can collect recommendations or head to podcast directories 5 Podcast Directories You Can Visit to Subscribe and Download Free Podcasts Read More . Rest assured, productivity and a smarter life remain popular categories.

Are you a life hacker? Do you look out for ways to accelerate your life with some audio help? I must have missed a few gems? Which are the best ones you have listened to recently?

Image Credit: tpsdave (Pixabay)

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  1. Anonymous
    June 20, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    I will start an own productivity podcast, focused on effectiveness and the list is still very useful! Thank you a lot :)

  2. Mike Vardy
    April 2, 2014 at 7:06 am

    Thanks for the Mikes on Mics mention, Saikat!

    • Saikat B
      April 2, 2014 at 7:33 am

      Listened to "Are You Afraid?" a day back. Fear has been such a crippling part of my life! Thanks for dropping in, Mike.

  3. Erik Fisher
    March 22, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    Wow, thanks for adding me to the list!

    • Saikat B
      March 23, 2014 at 10:48 am

      Thanks for dropping by Erik :)

  4. Andrew
    March 19, 2014 at 7:19 am

    I would add the Mikes on Mics podcast. A sibling of Home Work. It has Mike Vardy and Michael Schechter hosting it.

    • Saikat B
      March 19, 2014 at 7:22 am

      Andrew, I have mentioned it. Yes, it is worth a listen :)

  5. Justin P
    March 18, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    I've also learned a lot about productivity from CGP Grey's "Hello Internet", and I highly recommend it. Thanks for the roundup, Saikat!

    • Saikat B
      March 19, 2014 at 4:01 am

      Really good one. It's a new one with just seven episodes so far on iTunes. I hope it continues.

      For readers, this is the link:

    • Justin P
      March 19, 2014 at 2:02 pm

      It was supposed to only be ten episodes, but I suspect it will keep going...

    • Saikat B
      March 19, 2014 at 2:19 pm

      They call it a "podcast experiment" :)

      Nice discussion around it on Reddit.