Top 5 podcasts to increase productivity

by Jessica Bray
01 May 2016
5 min read
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Top 5 podcasts to increase productivity

I feel like we all have that one friend that is constantly starting sentences with the words ‘I listened to a really interesting podcast today…’ Well, in my group of friends, and my team at work, I am definitely THAT person.

It’s hard for me to think of a time when I didn’t spend the majority of my day listening to unbelievable stories of human triumph, hearing about the latest developments in tech or even tackling some self-improvement issues such as trying to increase willpower — very useful since I’m seated closest to the Adrenalin lolly jar.

There are many studies that suggest that listening to music increases productivity. I have found the same to be true of podcasts. As a designer I am able to focus on the job at hand whilst listening to stories and documentaries and I have actually found that my mind is more focused on my work and I am less distracted by what is happening around me.

‘I listened to a really interesting podcast today…’

I thought I’d share a few of my favourite podcast shows that help with my productivity, inspire and amaze me on a daily basis. I find listening to these helps with my focus and makes me think outside of the box when encountering everyday problems. So next time your office playlist has spun Rihanna’s ‘Work’ for the 3rd time that day give these a listen:

  1. This American Life (

There's a theme to each episode ofThis American Life, and a variety of stories on that theme. Most of the stories are journalism, with an occasional comedy routine or essay.

Where to start:

I can highly recommend Listening to ‘577: Something Only I Can See’ and ‘568: Human Spectacle’ both episodes had me on the edge of my seat and then had me googling after if the stories were actually true. They were.

  1. Freakonomics (

This podcasts helps you solve problems to things you didn’t even know were a problem.With the motto “the hidden side of everything” it explores, well everything! From the economy, headline news to pop culture.

Where to start:

‘How to be more Productive’ was particularly interesting outlining the difference between being busy and being productive. As equally interesting in my mind was ‘Who Needs Handwriting?’ discussing whether handwriting will become obsolete in the digital age.

  1. Radiolab (

Radiolab is a show about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience.

Where to start:

Why 2 is warm, 7 is strong and 11 is downright mystical? Find out in the episode ‘For the Love of Numbers’. Other awesome stories of human experience are in ‘On the Edge’ and ‘K-poparazzi’

  1. TED Radio Hour (

A journey through fascinating ideas: astonishing inventions, fresh approaches to old problems, new ways to think and create.

Based on talks given by riveting speakers on the world-renowned TED stage, each show is centered on a common theme – such as the source of happiness, crowd-sourcing innovation, power shifts, or inexplicable connections – and injects soundscapes and conversations that bring these ideas to life.

Where to start:

I love ‘The Power of Design’ episode and particularly Joe Grebbia’s talk on how Airbnb is designed for trust. Also listening to how the World Wide Web started in ‘Open Source World’

  1. Australian Design Radio (

ADR is a podcast to provide Australia and the world with conversations and commentary on Australian Design. Hosted by Tractor Design School’s Flyn Tracey and Matt Leach it’s a casual talk with the biggest and brightest in the Australian Design industry.

Where to start:

‘Chilling with Frost’ featured Vince Frost Creative Director of Frost* collective talking about bringing The Nest into Frost and some projects both past and present. Design Director Rich Davy’s episode called ‘There is no I in UX’ also featured Shopping Malls, Blue Zones and Zombies! How they are relevant to design?… well you are just going to have to listen.

Please feel free to join the conversation and recommend some of your favourite Podcasts to listen to in the comments section below.

Happy listening!


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