My home will thank you for your podcast suggestions!
September 28, 2010 4:28 AM   Subscribe

Podcasts to keep me motivated while I do housework?

I discovered early this year that the best way to keep myself from getting bored+irritated+frustrated=raging lunatic by the end of my morning household chore routine (bed, dishes, load of laundry in wash, load of laundry off the line, iron, fold, put away) is to listen to Tim Pychyl's iProcrastinate podcast. I find myself rapidly approaching the time when I will have heard all the old episodes, and therefore will only have one episode a week.

What other podcasts are there that I can listen to for the same purpose?

What I like about iProcrastinate:
1) The episodes are generally between 30-45 minutes, but some are shorter and some are longer. So I can get all my must-do chores done in the duration of the podcast, but some days, when it's longer, I can tackle more of say, the ironing backlog.

2) They keep me mentally engaged during tasks that I find mind-numbingly boring. I don't deal well with mind-numbing boredom. Tried the whole mindfulness thing. Didn't do anything for me vis a vis mounting frustration while doing housework.

3) They aren't so complex that I can't listen to them and do the task proficiently simultaneously.

4) They are actually about staying on task, about building habits that allow you to get out of your own way, etc., without being all I-am-uber-motivation-guy-who-obviously-eats-Friskies-for-all-three-meals-of-the-day.

5) I find psychology and education really interesting, particularly research on psychology and education.

So, what are some weekly or biweekly podcasts that might fit the bill? Feel free to suggest those that are about completely different topics. I am generally pretty intellectually curious, so very few topics are automatically out.
posted by bardophile to Grab Bag (13 answers total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
Radiolab from WNYC seems to be right up your alley. It's a science show that makes you think, but it's very well produced to keep you engaged and explains things pretty well. They also mix it up between hourlong episodes and short 15-20 minute shorts.

They often do episodes about psychology and how the human brain works. One of their semi-regular guests is Dr. Oliver Sacks from "Awakenings" and "The Men Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat" fame.
posted by inturnaround at 4:42 AM on September 28, 2010 [5 favorites]

Since you like psychology you may be interested in Shrink Rap Radio. I've listened to several. The interviewer is good.

There are some AskMetafilter favorites such as David Burns.
posted by Fairchild at 4:53 AM on September 28, 2010

Try Introduction to Psychology by prof. Jeremy Wolfe.
posted by leigh1 at 5:00 AM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

I love Christopher Lydon's Radio Open source. Some are better than others but he's awesome.

You may love the podcasts from the website.
posted by sully75 at 5:12 AM on September 28, 2010

There are only a few here, but these 4 podcasts by Barbara Sher on 'Resistence' (aka the voice of procrastination) are really good:

Flylady, the cleaning website also has some podcasts - the discussion of what and how to clean does kind of help me, even if I'm doing something completely different. Heres one on crisis cleaning:

There's a seperate bunch of podcasts here -
More like a radio show?

I usually prefer just to listen to interesting podcasts, like Savage Love, and other personal interest podcasts. And music with a pretty fast tempo of course!
I'll be interested to hear what other people listen to while cleaning... ;)
posted by Elysum at 5:34 AM on September 28, 2010

This is a bit odd, but actually, one time I recorded *myself* cleaning - with a running commentary of why I felt it was a good thing to do for myself, kind of analyzing tasks as I went.
Not only did I stay on task a lot better, as it was being 'recorded for posterity' and it kind of felt like someone was keeping me company, but I've played it a couple of times, with the same effect. It's like time travel... solidarity!
posted by Elysum at 5:40 AM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

KERA's "think" podcast is what I do my chores to every afternoon. And I know you didn't ask, but I've found that doing three 15 minute blocks is far more enjoyable and sustainable for me than one big 45-60 minute push.

Good for you for creating better habits, you're inspiring!
posted by Nickel Pickle at 6:06 AM on September 28, 2010

Seconding Radio Lab. The episode about the aliens landing on earth radio hoax is AMAZING.
posted by Leezie at 6:59 AM on September 28, 2010

This American Life. In case you're not already listening to it. (I see people are recommending Radio Lab - Radio Lab is the little brother/sister of This American Life, and they team up sometimes.)

From another mefi thread that I really appreciated: 12 Byzantine Rulers. Nothing to do with cleaning or motivation or psychology. It has changed my perception of Roman history completely.

posted by HopStopDon'tShop at 7:13 AM on September 28, 2010

Not really podcasts, but MIT's opencourseware has been good for me while mowing the lawn.
Some kind of robo-mower would stil be better, though...
posted by Thug at 10:23 AM on September 28, 2010

Nthing This American Life and Radio Lab.

I also like certain comedy current affairs podcasts - for example, The Bugle, and BBC4's NewsQuiz and the Now Show
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:27 PM on September 28, 2010

When I clean my house and when I take the bus, I listen to TEDTalks. They are fascinating lectures by experts in a wide variety of fields. They are all either funny, inspiring, persuasive, ingenious, or informative. What's also nice about TEDTalks is that they are relatively short. They're probably around 15 minutes on average, so they really hold your attention. I often learn more in one TEDTalk podcast than I did in an entire semester in undergrad (and probably even grad school). The podcast comes in audio online, video, and HD video. For cleaning or driving, I'd suggesting subscribing to the audio only because the visuals are usually fairly important in the the video TedTalks.
posted by RUPure at 5:49 PM on September 28, 2010

Thank you for the suggestions so far. RadoLab and ShrinkRap Radio both sound interesting, as does howstuffworks.

This American Life is something I've actively avoided subscribing to even though I used to love listening to it on the radio. I'm in the UAE right now, and NPR makes me really homesick for the US.

Is there anything like This American Life that isn't so...American? A European version? An Australian version? An anywhere but North American version? Homesickness for the US is one of my BIG demotivators, which kind of defeats the purpose of listening to the podcasts in the first place.
posted by bardophile at 10:33 PM on September 28, 2010

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