If you’re anything like me and the millions of other working class humans, you sit at a desk 40 hours a week plugging away at your daily tasks, wishing the clock was moving faster, and probably drinking too much coffee. Once upon a time my saving grace to make time go faster was listening to movies. That’s right, listening, not watching, movies. It probably started in college where I would be pulling all nighters for design school and would plug in one my recently received via US mail, Netflix DVDs. Old school am I right? I would have a stack of Netflix DVDs ready to put it and start chugging away. I’ve seen a LOT of movies but I’ve probably only watched about half of them. Usually I would watch them at least one full time if I could before mailing them back but a vast majority of the time I was listening. So when I went into the workforce as a professional adult, I carried this workflow method with me. Now you might think, how could I ever get work done this way but I was strategic about it. I only listened to things I was very familiar with therefore wasn’t thoroughly distracted. This also became a comfort mechanism for stress and overwhelm. If I was having a bad day I turned on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and got back to work.
Another question you might be asking is why I didn’t just listen to the tried and true music option? Boredom that’s why. I love music just as much as the next average human but I don’t find it to be satisfying 40 hours a week. I easily am sick of songs and spend more time skimming through playlists than actually working. In contrast to listening to a movie play in the background I am actually LESS productive if my only option is music.
Obviously this workflow method wasn’t well understood by those who assume if you’re listening to anything you can’t possibly be working. How could one be productive if they aren’t listening to dead air and the sound of a copy machine. Couple that with the mindless chatter of the ladies in accounting and you’ve got yourself the soundtrack of misery. So I had to divert my workflow methods into something a little more accepted. Podcasts. I had tried to get into podcasts a few times in the past but just couldn’t seem to really sink my teeth into anything. Sure I listened to Serial about 6 months after it was cool and tried to dig in to some “Entrepreneur” based audio files but found myself at a loss.
It wasn’t until a very good friend of mine suggested a podcast that she was in love with that I finally found my door into what would later become a bit of an obsession. She told me it was called “My Favorite Murder.” Now unless you’ve been living under a rock there is a high chance by now you’ve heard of MFM. As I’m writing this the podcast has been going for over three years and has toured the country as well as internationally. MFM has a bit of a cult following/community to which people all over the country can come together for a shared interest. And that interest, is murder. Started by Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff, this true crime comedy podcast has taken the podcast world by storm. You heard that right, true crime comedy podcast. These women tell stories of true crime, an obsession they share and have had since a very early age, while also interweaving comedy and relatable dialogue of anxiety, struggles and overall life.
Therefore my number one favorite podcast of all time is:
1) MY FAVORITE MURDER
I’ve listened to every single episode and I feel like these women are my friends. I have literally laughed out loud at my desk a time or two… or more. I haven’t been someone who I would call is “obsessed” with true crime but I do find the stories as well as their delivery to be compelling, thought-provoking as well as just straight up funny. Karen and Georgia have what can only be called a contagious relatability and talent for telling the world “hey it’s ok to not be ok, there is a lot of shit in the world.” From relating to listeners by telling stories of therapy, stabilizing medications and anecdotes of falling out of chairs, Karen and Georgia bring a level of normalcy that many listeners are craving. Not to mention, they are hilarious. Give it a listen, then listen some more. It’ll only be a matter of time before you notice there are MANY MFM listeners around you. SSDGM.
2) MURDER SQUAD
Obviously this comes from the same genre of podcasting as My Favorite Murder and if you love MFM you’re sure to love Murder Squad. Murder Squad is on the Exactly Right network which is the podcast network started by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. This podcast stars Paul Holes, the silver fox detective who caught the Golden State Killer and Billy Jensen, a crime reporter who is most known for his research on the Allenstown 4. These two fine gentlemen are taking to the podcast universe to crowdsource information on cold cases. Not only are they reporting on some of the most gruesome true crime events, they are trying to SOLVE cold cases! Definitely a podcast worth listening to as it gets me excited every Monday for a new episode.
3) ARMCHAIR EXPERT WITH DAX SHEPARD
This little number is on the more lighthearted side. At least it’s not about murder. Dax Shepard, the lovely husband of Kristen Bell, is the star of Armchair Expert along with his friend Monica Padman. This podcast gold is set up almost like a talk show. Dax invites friends to his show and basically interviews them about their lives and how they go where they are along with issues and topics that can, at times, prove to be controversial. If you have interest in social issues but don’t want to hear people just scream at each other this is definitely a great option! That is probably the my personal favorite thing about this podcast is the way Dax can discuss issues that are uncomfortable with the sole purpose of wanting to learn what the other side thinks. There is a level of genuineness to Dax and his approach to these guests. Another great tidbit is the way he tells stories about these people you start to see stars as humans too. It’s so enjoyable to hear about how they play game nights and see each other around town and are just genuine friends. There is also plenty of humor to go around.
4) THE TEACHER’S PET
This podcast came highly recommended by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark on their own podcast so naturally I gave it a listen. The Teacher’s Pet is an investigative story into the disappearance of Lynn Dawson in the early 80s. Brought to you by The Australian, this cold case true crime store is captivating as well as a good ole’ Who Dunnit? It is a limited series so if you want something to listen to without committing to hundreds of episodes this is a good option for you. Not to mention they are Australian so that accent never gets old!
5) MISSING RICHARD SIMMONS
Now this isn’t exactly a NEW podcast and the chances you’ve listened through it already may be high but it is still in my top five! Missing Richard Simmons is another limited series investigating where exactly Richard Simmons went after his famous in-home jazzercise workout empire. The podcast explores the life and not-so well known struggles of Richard Simmons and how he went from being that spunky man in short shorts to basically a recluse. Though this podcast doesn’t leave you with many answers as to why Richard Simmons shuts himself in his house, it is an interesting exploration into a fitness legend. My husband and I binged the entire thing on a long car trip.
Well there you have it. A list of my top five podcasts that’ll get you through your workday. Hopefully you experience podcasts and all they have to offer the same way I did. You start with one and that one recommends another and the list goes on. Enjoy!