Üllar Seerme

On thinking more (and deeper)

September 10, 2019

I’ve been an avid podcast listener for about 2-3 years now and if you had asked me a year ago whether I think it makes sense to fill moments of downtime with a bout of listening, then the answer would have been a resounding yes! But nowadays I’m starting to really reconsider the investments I’m making in terms of time towards podcasts.

To put some additional context into just how much listening I have done exactly I have some stats at hand thanks to Podcast Addict’s global listening time statistics feature:

The proof is in the proverbial pudding that I do indeed spend a fair bit of time listening. Now to be fair, arguments could be made if that time would have otherwise been wasted being absolutely idle then there was a net gain in terms of additional knowledge (good luck quantifying that…), but the 40% increase (as of initially posting this) represents a worrying indication that more and more time is being invested into listening, and because of that less time is being spent on thinking about actual things that at the end of the day might matter a heck of a lot more.

This has re-ignited an idea after finishing Cal Newport’s Deep Work: my practically incessant listening of podcasts is overshadowing my inner thoughts and decreasing my ability to withstand even the smallest period of boredom.

Instead of filling every available time slot I have with something to listen to (a large majority of which are podcasts), I should instead make an effort to seriously contemplate on the thoughts that usually start creeping up on me when I switch off the listening, in hopes of finding resolution or at least not to succumb to temptations of distraction.


My game plan is to create a habit of productive meditation during times where I am not focused on deep work by actively avoiding easy traps such as checking the news, refreshing my podcast feed, having a peek at my portfolio, or reading something in my Pocket. None of these provide meaningful value in the moments that I pull data from them and are a great entrypoint into weaning myself off of content ready at a moment’s notice.

I’ve begun a purge of the subscriptions I have on YouTube, the number of podcasts I think I just have to listen to daily; I am taking far greater caution in adding yet another article to my Pocket, and am striving to have moments of productive meditation during my commutes. I will try this out for several months and will hopefully get to report back with positive results!

Intermediary status report! It’s too soon to draw any meaningful conclusions, but I am noticing that I am a bit annoyed actually now when I’m listening to podcasts; a part of me really wants me to get back to my own thoughts. I have also seen a far greater emphasis on trying my hardest to be super focused at work, which at the end of the day feels great because I know I have really given it all that I have.

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