We’ve rounded up 11 podcasts if you’re looking to upgrade your workday playlist. If you like working to music, there are continuous mixes of new music and soundscapes, transporting listeners to destinations like a 1920s Italian cafe, to check out. For a calming listen, there’s an ASMR series featuring favorite sounds like crinkling and the host whispers meditations and affirmations in episodes.
On our list, we’ve included a storytelling podcast and a current event series with episodes under 15 minutes long. There are informative podcasts, such as a show hosted by a retired NAVY Seal and a communication podcast from Stanford Graduate School of Business. Hear inspirational insight from professionals and leaders in different industries – their hardships, failures, comebacks, and triumphs.
Here’s our list of recommendations:
Tiny Desk Concerts
If you like a variety of music during your workday, NPR’s “Tiny Desk Concerts” is the audio-only version of Bob Boilen’s video series where artists play stripped-down sets at his desk in the NPR office. During the pandemic, artists performed “Tiny Desk (Home) Concerts,” and we heard from the likes of Lenny Kravitz, Declan McKenna, BTS, Brothers Osborne, and D Smoke, just to name a few. With over 250 episodes to choose from, you might your favorite artist on the episode list to stream. All episodes are under 25 minutes long.
Jocko DEFCOR Network presents “Jocko Podcast,” hosted by a retired Navy SEAL and a director. They’ll chat about discipline, leadership, teamwork, and more in weekly episodes if you’re looking for motivation throughout your workday. The average episode is almost 3 hours long with shorter “Jocko Underground” conversations in under 20 minutes.
Any ASMR fans? This series is presented by blue skies and uploads episodes with an assortment of sounds. For example, listen to hours of metallic noises, lids, tapping, brushing, plucking, and crinkling. Hear whispered role-playing conversations, meditations, and affirmations. Since 2018, blue skies has released over 180 videos, so if you’re looking for specific ASMR sounds, check it out.
Wisdom from the Top with Guy Raz
Guy Raz hosts “Wisdom from the Top,” a series talking with visionaries and leaders from established brands. Individuals like NASA’s Ellen Ochoa, Best Buy’s Hubert Joly, and Peloton’s Dara Treseder share stories of hardship, failure, recovery, and triumph. Earlier this year, Lego’s Jørgen Vig Knudstorp explained how the company was losing money for years, and he proposed a plan to get the company back on track for profits. The average episode is an hour long.
“The Moth” shares real stories from real people told at live and virtual StorySLAM events. In-person attendees can throw their name in a hat for the chance to tell their story. “The Moth” podcast has been uploading its favorite stories since 2008 and features several stories per episode, with each episode averaging an hour long. Recognizable creatives like Lin Manuel Miranda sometimes share stories, too.
NPR’s Consider This
NPR’s “Consider This” shares current events in daily 15-minute episodes. Recent episodes investigated why rapid COVID tests are hard to find this holiday season. Last week, we heard about Elizabeth Holmes and the Theranos trial. This series is hosted by a rotating roster of journalists from different states and has released over 500 episodes so far.
This podcast releases themed soundscapes with music. Hear continuous, 3+ hour mixes like “1920s Italian Cafe,” oldies on a train, holiday music alongside a crackling fireplace, Bossa Nova beach ambiance, rainy coffee shop ambience with jazz, and Christmas on the Polar Express.
The Unstuck Network presents “ChooseFI,” a series about financial independence. Hosts Jonathan Mendonsa and Brad Barrett will discuss financial planning, taxes, passive income, and more. Check out weekly episodes for advice, and the hosts love to share their personal experiences.
School of Greatness
Lewis Howes is an athlete, best-selling author, entrepreneur, and keynote speaker sharing inspirational interviews in his series, “School of Greatness.” Tune in for conversations with folks like snowboarder Shaun White on achieving goals, building confidence with Harvard psychologist and author Amy Cuddy, and more. New episodes are updated weekly, and the average run time is an hour and 50 minutes long.
The New LoFi Mixtape
“The New LoFi Mixtape” shares an excellent blend of music each month. After a short briefing on what you’re about to hear, host James lets the mixtape roll, averaging 2 hours long. This month’s mixtape included tracks from Sufjan Stevens, Afrojack, Khruangbin, The Landing, Islandman, and more.
Think Fast, Talk Smart: Communication Techniques
“Think Fast, Talk Smart: Communication Techniques” is presented by the Stanford Graduate School of Business, sharing advice on professional interactions. In episodes, host Matt Abrahams speaks with experts to address real world questions, such as “How do I write emails to get my point across?” “How can I easily convey complex information?” and “How do I manage my reputation?” Recent episodes covered how to stay creative and practical, leadership tips, and navigating challenging conversations.