Around this time two years ago, I decided that there was a whole medium I need to get more out of, Podcasts. I spent a lot of my time listening to them whilst driving, walking the dog and many other things. Listening to some fascinating shows, but I never took much away from them apart from surface level enjoyment. So, I decided I needed to hack them like I did with reading and start to make notes against all the points I found interesting. I was wrong.
First things first, there is something to be said for taking notes from a podcast. Perhaps not every podcast (maybe ignore most of the points made on Joe Rogan, for example) but many that I listen to are information dense, and I sometimes think that I’d like to learn more about this. With that said, with the ability to note everything down, and have it synced over into an app ruined a lot of the experience.
Not only was I triple clicking my AirPods like crazy (that’s the shortcut to save a clip in the podcast app Airr) I was missing the whole point of listening frequently. Due to the volume of notes I was making, the actual process of saving and going over them later was untenable. When you note everything, it misses the point of note-taking completely. If everything becomes a note, then nothing does.
Not to mention that podcasts became something to concentrate on and worry whether I should have noted that last statement or not. Constantly reminding and listening again to see if I got the point, rather than consuming something in the background whilst doing a more important task. It didn’t take me very long to burn out and not want to listen to anything any more.
Much like reading, for me, some activities don’t need to be hacked to get the most out of them. They are downtime or a background content to passively consume. When I need to take notes I will every now and again, using Siri or Apple notes and that suits me fine. I’ve only just returned to listening to them again because I tried too hard to make the most out of podcasts, and it made them suck. Don’t make the same mistake.