What a bullet journalling experiment taught me

A few months ago I decided to make a list of all the podcasts I listened to during that week.

I didn’t choose a particular week; it was simply a random week without any forethought.

At the end of the week, I totalled up the time spent listening and I had a big shock:

11 hrs 45 minutes

A few thoughts flashed through my mind:

  • I could have listened to 1 long fiction book or 1.5 non-fiction books.
  • I worked from home 3 days that week and about 3 hours a day is not unreasonable. I also listen to podcasts while tidying and organizing on the weekend.
  • Hmmm. What would happen if I tried some new things?

This is fascinating because I’m both the subject of the study and the scientist.

I also have a phone storage problem because I only have a 16 GB iPhone which means I have to delete photos off my phone twice a month. I actually don’t mind this because it keeps me in a good photo routine.

I also have to be diligent to only download one audio book at a time and only my subscribed podcasts.

Do you know what I decided as a result of all this thinking?

I unsubscribed from all but two podcasts.

No prizes if you guessed one of those podcasts is Happier with Gretchen Rubin. The other is the 5-word prayers daily with Lisa Whittle.

The other podcasts are still there but they’re below the subscription fold so I see them update but I only consciously download an episode when I’m ready to listen.

This decision…

1) freed me up because I don’t feel any podcast guilt (similar to Feedly guilt when you see 172 unread blog posts ;)) and in true upholder fashion,

2) I decide how much I want to listen to and when, and

3) if I don’t feel excitement about the episode, I don’t even download it. Before, the episodes would drop automatically and I’d feel almost compelled to listen immediately because of the aforementioned storage issue.

4) I’ve also listened to lot more audio books!

Yes, this post is about me listening to podcasts but it’s really about tracking behavior and making changes to align to your goals.

I have a few questions for you:

Have you ever tracked your time for a day or week? You’ll be surprised how much time you spend doing mindless tasks.

What have you learned as a result?

Is there something niggling at you? perhaps you spend too much time on Facebook or Instagram?

(our pastor said something this weekend that has stuck with me – people spend approximately 4 hours a day on social media, and other people are making money from those same people scrolling their feeds. Wow!)

For your listening pleasure…

I’m a big fan of podcasts as you well know. Then when I was leaving comments on an Instagram feed the other day, I realised I actually have a podcast for everything. Ha!

Podcasts for cooking

Roisin meets – this is a lifestyle podcast by the Irish Times. She interviews (mostly) Irish celebrities of all kinds – authors, musicians, politicians, all sorts of interesting people. Easy listening in the kitchen and I don’t mind pausing to listen to a child asking a question here and there.

Desert Island discs – this is a podcast by the BBC. I’ve only listened to Michael Buble’s one so far because I’m saving them for actual cooking πŸ™‚ The celebrity shares 8 songs they’d take with them on a desert island, and she plays portions too. It’s so fun – and perfectly light for kitchen time.

Podcasts for showering

You need good sound to hear above the water splashing but the podcast also needs to be easy listening because it’s relaxing time.

  • God Centered Mom – also great sound and I listen to every single one of these episodes but… when it’s my GCM Podcast Club episode, then I listen while in the study so I can take notes.
  • The Simple Show has great sound but I only listen to the episodes where she interviews people, and not the chit-chat about books or travel. I listen to some of the home episodes though.

Podcasts for editing photos/ tidying/ cleaning the house

(in other words, mindless activities)

For this category, I suggest long podcasts or those that need you to concentrate on the content… and have a notebook handy.

Off Camera with Sam Jones – I listen to the interviews with only the celebrities I know and since I’m not a big TV/ movie person…. that’s about 5 so far πŸ™‚

What should I read next? – 3 books you love, 1 book you hate, and what are you currently reading… then she recommends 3 books for that reader. I used to not listen to this podcast at all because I don’t read the books these people do (they’re usually literary fiction, and I mostly like a lighter type of novel) but I do listen to most of them now because of the chat before that part of the show. They talk about their reading life and all of that is very interesting to me.

Podcasts for driving

This one is similar to the shower category (for me) because I go on the highway and I listen through my actual phone because my (very old) car doesn’t have all these fancy gadgetry where you can listen through your car’s speakers.

But…. the podcast needs to be upbeat because I’m on my way to work. Bonus if I can get a 40-minute episode since that’s my commute time most days.

Mom Struggling Well with Emily Thomas

The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey

Quiet with Susan Cain – only 9 episodes but like I said on Instagram, 20-something minutes of awesomeness per episode

A podcast for Fridays

Happier. This one publishes every Wednesday morning and I save it in anticipation for my Friday drive to work. I look forward to listening every week – it’s wonderful. Incidentally, this is Gretchen Rubin’s stategy of pairing – to link something pleasurable to something else.

Which are some of your favourite podcasts, and when do you recommend I listen to them?

My 5 current favourite podcasts


I have written aboutΒ my favourite podcasts on here before… but since that was over a year ago, I thought I’d tell you my current favourites:

(also, only two are still on my favourites list, another I listen to but no longer my favourite and two have completely fallen off)

But first, I’m going to tell you how to listen to a podcast.

I have an iphone but if you have an android, listen through stitcher or soundcloud:

  • Look for the purple podcasts app icon
  • Click on search
  • Add the name of the podcast you’re interested in
  • The podcast will pop up
  • Tap, and tap subscribe

That’s it – easy! IMG_4650

  1. Here’s the thing with Alec Baldwin

Here’s where I wrote about why I like this show.

Favourite episodes – Billy Joel (of course), Molly Ringwald and Julianne Moore.

2. Personality hacker

So I’m a big MBTI fan and this married couple know their stuff. I’ve read up on my profile on various sites over the years but it was still nothing compared to hearing them talk for an entire episode just on your type πŸ™‚

Interesting fact – I was a bit miffed at first when I saw the ESTJ one was only 40 minutes and then they start and say something like, “we know you ESTJs want to get to the point so we’re not putting in any fluff today” πŸ™‚ I love it!

Favourite episodes – my one on ESTJ and the one that talks about energy drains (I had a HUGE aha during this episode)

My suggestion – take the quiz on their website, and then go to that podcast episode first.

3. Roisin Meets…

If you like the Irish accent, you’ll love Roisin. She talks to Irish celebs – authors, musicians, radio personalities. Aside from all the wonderful accents and Irish turns of phrase, it’s the perfect Friday podcast to listen as you drive to and from work.

My favourite episodes were the ones with Marian Keyes, Cecilia Ahern and Cathy Kelly (all authors I read) and recently, the one with a new-to-me author, Jennifer Johnston (she’s 86 and still writing books – such an inspiration), but my very favourite is with a mathematician πŸ™‚

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4. Happier by Gretchen Rubin

This one has not disappeared off my list in forever…. they recently won top podcast in the health and fitness category (emotional health?)

Start anywhere and work back.

Releases a new episode every Wednesday and a mini two-minute one on Monday mornings.

Favourite episodes – all of them but I did love the one about Sunday dread

5. The Lively Show

At the moment she’s going through a couple of big changes – just divorced, sold house, travelling without a permanent base so she’s “live podcasting” on feelings and such.

It’s a bit too much woo-woo/ intuition-type stuff for me right now, but go listen to the proper interviews she’s done because those are excellent.

Favourites – the one with Young House Love and the one with Liz Gilbert, Courtney Carver

That’s it for now.

Have you listened to any of these podcasts? Do you listen to podcasts? When do you prefer to listen?

What’s making me happier this week? 4

As you know, I am packing up my house.

When I get back from work, after supper and sorting out the kids, I’m packing. Up to last Thursday I also practised my flamenco in between the packing.

It can get very boring but what’s making me happier this week is listening to podcasts while I pack.

(I have a post on my list of blog to-dos to update you on my current favourite podcasts but for now, I’ll share one I love, love, love.

Alec Baldwin’s podcast, Here’s the thing, is fantastic.


Dion and I were analysing it this morning on the way to work and we decided that aside from his fabulous voice (me!), and his great interviewing skills, he is also an actor and people therefore share more with him.

Anyway, it’s just magic!

I’ve listened to about 6 episodes and I recommend the ones with Jerry Seinfeld, Billy Joel and Molly Ringwald. Mickey Rourke’s one is also good if you don’t mind the salty language!

What’s making you happier this week?

5 favourite podcast episodes I’ve listened to recently

I usually do a “some reading for the weekend” post but today I decided to do a “some listening for the weekend” because there were a couple of podcasts I listened to recently that I thought, “OH, I want people to listen so we can discuss”.

Hope you enjoy listening – let’s chat on Facebook or Instagram!

Jess Lively talks to John and Sherry of Young House Love about their lives after they stopped blogging.

The Lively Show

Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft talk about imperfection – I love the examples they give about hospitality and about fitness

Happier with Gretchen Rubin

Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons – with Brene Brown (this one has some “salty” language but it’s worth it)

Magic Lessons

Tsh Oxenreider talked to Emily Freeman about her new book, Simply Tuesday. I just LOVE Emily’s voice so for nothing else, listen to the podcast for that.

The Simple Show: Conversations on Passions, Projects, and Living Simply

Speaking of voices, many of the long-time readers know of my deep love of all things Irish. Well. I’ve discovered an amazing Irish podcast, Roisin meets… (Fun fact – Roisin Meaney is one of my favourite authors and I’ve been pronouncing her name incorrectly in my head for a few years :)) and you should listen to this one about Irish author, Cecilia Ahern, of PS I love you fame.

RΓ³isΓ­n Meets...

Have you listened to these?

Do you want to recommend a particular episode to me from one of your favourite podcasts?

My 5 favourite podcasts

On Wednesday I wrote about how I’m using more audio in my life.

One of those things is listening to podcasts so it’s only right that I share 5 of my favourites with you today:

1. Elise gets crafty

I love this podcast and have listened to it most consistently. She is a goals girl like I am and I love listening to her talk on creativity, business, goals, etc.


2. Hopeologie

The Nester, her sister and her dad. LOVE this one. I am really tempted to subscribe to get their paid podcast too. If this 20-something minute one is so fun, imagine a full-length one πŸ™‚


3. HappierGretchen Rubin and her sister

Happier with Gretchen Rubin

I listen to this one with Dion in the car because it’s short – between 20 and 25 minutes – and super fun. Give it a try.

Best? Gretchen has amazing instructions so hers was the easiest podcast for someone like me to subscribe to πŸ™‚ That’s how I learnt about the podcast app.

I mentioned on Wednesday that I’ve just bought her latest book. Here’s the 4 tendencies post too πŸ™‚

4. The Lively Show

A new-to-me blogger, I don’t know why, but she is amazing. Like my younger, more successful sister πŸ™‚ because she talks about living with intention too.

She really has a great interviewing style and I so enjoy listening to these podcasts.
The Lively Show

5. The Big Boo Cast

This one is pure fun. I love Southernisms so I really just listen for the accents while tidying my study and so on πŸ™‚ But I have read each of their first books

The Big Boo Cast

I don’t subscribe to all of them in itunes because when a new one is released it gets downloaded (and chews up your storage) immediately.

Tell me about your favourite podcasts.

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