Jan 04

How Podcasts and Audiobooks Helped Me Make More of My Spare Time

We all have different interests and hobbies that we want to pursue and enjoy, but sometimes it can be hard to find the time and energy to get out and do it! We all tend to be remarkably busy these days, whether we are working, retired, or somewhere in between, and we often must juggle multiple responsibilities and tasks. How can we balance our personal, family, and professional lives, without compromising our passions and goals?

One solution that I’ve found effective is podcasts and audiobooks. As you may well already be aware, podcasts and audiobooks are audio-based media that you can listen to on your smartphone, tablet, computer, or any other device that supports them. They come in a variety of genres, formats, and lengths, so you can always find something that suits your taste and mood. Whether you want to listen to a comedy show, a thriller novel, a history lesson, or a personal development guide, there is a podcast or an audiobook for you.

The best thing about podcasts and audiobooks is that you can listen to them while doing other things, such as:

  • Exercising – Whether you are running, cycling, walking, or doing any other physical activity, you can enjoy a podcast or an audiobook that motivates you, inspires you, or teaches you something new. For example, I listen to podcasts and audiobooks during my weekly 90 minute run each week, while my daughter Isabel is at cheerleading practice. This way, I can keep fit and healthy, while also learning new things and having fun.
  • Driving – If you spend a lot of time on the road, you can make the most of it by listening to podcasts and audiobooks that interest you, entertain you, or inform you. For example, I listen to audiobooks while I take my son James to and from his trampolining class every Friday evening. This way, I can avoid boredom and frustration, while also expanding my horizons and discovering new perspectives. Even James enjoys our journeys!
  • Household Chores – There are chores that we all must do, but they don’t have to be boring or tedious. You can spice up your routine by listening to podcasts and audiobooks that make you laugh, make you think, or make you feel. For example, I like to listen to podcasts whilst cooking on a weekend. This way, I can make these tasks more enjoyable and rewarding, while also enriching my mind and soul.
  • Walking the dog – If you have a furry friend, you know how important it is to take them for regular walks. But you don’t have to limit yourself to just watching them sniff around and chase squirrels. You can also listen to podcasts and audiobooks that appeal to you, challenge you, or relax you. For example, I listen to audiobooks while I walk Stanley, my labradoodle, up to three times a day. This way, I can make sure Stanley gets plenty of exercise and I get some fresh air, whilst also stimulating my brain and imagination.

I used to struggle to fit all my interests and hobbies into my busy schedule, until I started making more of this spare time. In the last 12 months, I have started to learn Spanish and reignited my interest in physics and cosmology, all while out driving, running, or walking Stan. I have also learned about subjects ranging from history and politics to psychology and happiness. When I started, I didn’t think it would make a significant impact, but it really has. I feel more informed, entertained, and inspired than ever before.

Podcasts and audiobooks have helped me balance my interests and hobbies, and I think they could do the same for you. If you are looking for some recommendations, here are a couple of my favourites:

  • Learn Spanish with Paul Noble – A comprehensive and easy-to-follow course that teaches you how to speak Spanish confidently and fluently. Paul Noble is a renowned language expert who uses a unique method that eliminates the need for rote memorisation and grammar rules. It’s a great way to learn a new language, or refresh your existing skills, at your own pace and convenience.
  • The Infinite Monkey Cage – A BBC radio show that explores the wonders of science and the big questions of the universe. Hosted by physicist Brian Cox and comedian Robin Ince, the show features guest experts and celebrities who discuss topics such as black holes, time travel, aliens, and more. It’s a fun and informative way to satisfy your curiosity and spark your imagination.

On the subject of money, financial planning at living a happy life, I recommend these:

  • The Psychology of Money – A bestselling book by Morgan Housel that explores the hidden factors that influence our financial decisions and behaviours. Housel draws from a wide range of disciplines, such as psychology, sociology, history, and biology, to reveal the surprising and often counterintuitive truths about money and wealth. It’s a fascinating and insightful way to improve your financial literacy and mindset.
  • The Happiness Lab – A podcast that reveals the latest scientific research on happiness and well-being. Hosted by Yale professor Laurie Santos, the show challenges some of the common myths and misconceptions about happiness and offers practical tips and strategies to improve your happiness and mental health. It’s a podcast that can make you happier and healthier.
  • The Financial Wellbeing Podcast – This podcast aims to provide listeners with practical tips, insights, and advice on how to create financial peace of mind and happiness. The podcast covers topics such as finding your purpose, making better decisions, saving and investing, and exploring the link between money and happiness.

These are just some of the podcasts and audiobooks that I have enjoyed and learned from, but there are many more out there for you to discover and explore. Whatever your interests, there will be something for you. So why not give podcasts and audiobooks a try, and see how they can help you make more of your time too?

Written by Richard Fyfe, Director & Chartered Financial Planner at Fyfe Financial

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