Managing my Podcast Lists

For the last year and a half I’ve found it very difficult to keep up with my podcast listening; for quite a while now I’ve been “behind” my list for many shows – in most cases, by several months’ worth of content.

What I find difficult is that the shows that are current – which means, based on either sports or current events or current TV shows – tend to get priority when I choose to listen to something. This pushes ‘evergreen’ content – that is, it’s relevant no matter when I listen – further down the list.

This is completely a “me” problem and at first, it did bother me; but I’ve come up with a new approach to listening that really takes care of the perceived problem.

Culling Shows

The first thing I’ve taken to doing is to simply stop listening to shows that don’t hold my attention anymore. If I haven’t listened to it in 3 months, is it likely that I’m going to listen to it anytime soon? Still, there are shows I consider to be “high value” that I’m staying subscribed to. I know that I’ll get to those episodes one day soon.

But I have become a little more ruthless in the process. I’ve cut shows that I used to listen to regularly. I used to feel a little guilty when unsubscribing, but that’s not the case anymore. If I want to make the time to listen to podcasts, sometimes that means cutting out the stuff that is either A) too long or B) uninteresting. Or a combination of both.

Dropping Individual Episodes

The other thing I’ve started doing is dropping individual episodes if they don’t look appealing based on the description. Since I don’t have the same amount of listening time as I used to, I don’t need to worry about “running out” of episodes to listen to (this used to be an issue for me).

This is actually a pretty major change for me. I used to be pretty compulsive about listening to every single episode of a show, but as I’ve learned recently, it’s not always important to catch each one. It’s sort of like the old days of TV – sometimes you missed recording on your VCR, so you didn’t catch that week’s show. In episodic times, not the end of the world.

It’s not perfect – I still have ~100 episodes to listen to – but it helps my peace of mind.

Notebook Habit

I’ve got what I consider to be a “weird” hobby (or habit?) – writing in notebooks.  I consider it weird, because I have no practical use for notebooks – other than my “bullet journal” set up, I don’t really write down anything of substance day-to-day.  And yet, it’s an extremely enjoyable thing to see my personal font jump out just right from the page.

Excerpt from a notebook
Excerpt from a notebook

OK, the picture I just included is a little on the messy side.  But what I hope it illustrates is just the right balance of colour and shape of the letters that seems to look…”right” on the page.  This is the part where I consider my hobby / habit weird.  I don’t spend as much time writing things out as I used to, but finding the perfect paper and perfect pen (or sometimes pencil) for that paper is fantastic.

Every now and then (and now is one of those times) I go on a little quest to figure out, “what can I use my varied selection of notebooks for?”  The question is often unanswered, because either I give up or the feeling just fades away before I get a chance.  Predominantly I use it for planning my day or writing things down I don’t want to forget.  But that is purely functional – I actually want to write something out rather than use a planner.

So my search has started.  At the absolute least I will probably start writing out my blog posts by hand before typing them out here.  Ultimately, I would very much like to use up the notebooks that I’ve spent good money on 😉

Google can read my mind.

Google really blows me away sometimes, and I honestly feel like it (the search engine) can read my mind.  Logically I know that it learns based on my search history and browsing habits, but I’m still blown away by the results I get from daily use.

As an example, for some reason I was trying to think about a cartoon I watched when I was in high school or university.  I knew the title of it was in the back of my head somewhere – it had something to do with a “six”, and the lead character was a genetically engineered heroine (or a robot, I can’t recall exactly).  When I couldn’t think of the show name, I turned to Google.

teletoon cartoon about genetically modified heroine
teletoon cartoon about genetically modified heroine

So I typed “teletoon cartoon about genetically modified heroine” – because that’s the best way I could think of to describe the show.  I expected I might get some results at the top close to what I was looking for, but what absolutely surprised me was that the first result was exactly what I was looking for.

The Wikipedia entry for "Cybersix" was the first result!
The Wikipedia entry for “Cybersix” was the first result!

I’m not going to be talking about the show today, but I highly encourage you to read about it.  The point is, I was looking for the Wikipedia entry for this show, but I couldn’t remember the name for the life of me.  Based on that vague search term I was able to find exactly what I was looking for.

I’ve done this with other search terms too.  I can’t remember them all right now, but the result is the same: I type in some broad search terms, indicating about as much as I can remember, and Google is able to serve up what I’m looking for.  Sometimes it’s not perfect, but more often than not it works.

The point I’m trying to make is that I’ve discovered today (and during the process of setting up this blog) that keywords are really important online if you want to get your stuff found.  It’s basic knowledge, but it still surprises me every day.  I can’t wait until Google’s Assistant is fully baked into my phone, instead of just on Allo.