3 Benefits from This Strange Habit

Todd Brison

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We Americans really do love to spend time in our cars, don’t we?

Sure, there are more remote workers than ever, but according to the research*, the average American still spends 30 minutes or so getting to work.

(And by “research,” I mean “the stat I googled really quickly”)

So when someone asked on Quora what to do during his 3-hour round-trip commute, it didn’t surprise me there were 6 or 7 answers which were basically variants of “listen to more podcasts and stuff.”

It did surprise me nobody does what I do most days:

Talk to myself.

Yes, like a crazy person.

Podcasts and audiobooks on 2X is all well and good, but if you are not processing what you learn, what’s the point?

I used to drown myself in podcasts until I realized nothing actually stuck. I may as well have had Miley Cyrus blasting out of my iPhone.

Now it’s podcasts in the morning, Todd-casts (haha I just made that up I am so smart) in the afternoon.

Here are three benefits I’ve seen from gabbing into my Voice Memo app.

I’ve become a better public speaker

Surprisingly, the “uhs” and “ums” or whatever your vocal hedges are, don’t just disappear from your vocabulary when you graduate high school.

It doesn’t matter if you give “presentations” or not — eliminating these words from your speech patterns makes you seem more confident, more prepared, and more professional.

Challenge: Talk to yourself about 1 topic for 5 minutes without hitting any vocal hedges. See how many times you slip up AND notice how well you can stay on message. It’s harder than you think.

I’ve stopped bringing my demons home

I’ve been happily married for 3+ years now. One of the reasons we’ve been able to keep a good relationship is that I never bring my work drama in my front door.

Yes, your work may be stressful. Yes, it may have been hard. Yes, it’s important to care about what you do.

But allowing your headaches (and all work problems are just temporary headaches) to spill over into your family, married or not, is an insult to the people that support you.

This isn’t about being fake. This is about resetting your temperament on the way home and leaving work where it belongs.

Challenge: Your voice memo is now your therapist. Open it up at the end of a tough day, talk out everything that went wrong, what you could have done differently. Often you’ll find the answer is “nothing” OR you’ll realize what you did and fix it.

I’ve started retaining more of my podcast information

Human beings forget things UNBELIEVABLY quickly. In fact, if we don’t reinforce what we learn in 48 hours, at least 90% of that info is gone.

So instead of just pounding podcast after podcast, I cut the amount of information I listened to in half and reserved some of that time for digesting the information I was trying to learn in the first place.

The ideal pattern for me now is:

  • Listen to podcast (Day 1 commute in)
  • Debrief podcast (Day 1 commute out)
  • Microjournal about previous day’s info (Day 2 pre-commute)

Challenge: listen to just one or two podcasts in the morning. On the way home, open that voice memo and recap the morning's lesson. Try to come away with 3 major points that were discussed.

For bonus points, once you have those points identified, state EXACTLY how you can apply them to your personal situation.

By the way, if you keep blanking on the lessons at the end of the day, it’s quite possible the podcast is simply not worth listening to.

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