By Jenny Patten • October 31, 2019•Ms. JD, Writers in Residence, Careers, Other Career Issues, Issues, Balancing Private and Professional Life
Like most working professionals, I spend a significant part of my morning and late afternoon commuting to and from the office. My 30-45 minutes to and from daycare drop-off and the office often are the only time that I have truly to myself, and for a number of years, I’ve spent that time listening to music, participating in work-related conference calls, or using the time to call a friend or family member to catch up. However, as work and family duties and responsibilities have gradually eroded the time I used to spend for myself, I realized that my commute may be the most consistent time I have for “self-care," and I should find a way to get some value out of my time sitting in traffic. As my options for self-care activities are limited to what I can do physically (and legally) in my car, I decided to start spending at least one leg of my commute each day listening to a podcast that interested me and would provide at least some tangential benefit to my in-house practice. Below is a list of my current favorites:
Ask a Manager (Allison Green): Allison’s podcast tackles listener questions about all things management and gives great tips and suggestions on issues that can overlap into L&E matters, such as dealing with a difficult boss and interpersonal relationships with colleagues. I’ve taken many of her tips and incorporated them into my day-to-day advice to managers on how to handle various management and personnel issues.
Happier with Gretchen Rubin: I’ve been on a quest this year to determine what makes me happy, both in my personal and professional life, and this podcast gives me some great ideas and structure regarding how to conceptualize the role of happiness in my life. The podcast has a number of small segments that give me a few tips or tricks, even if I only have a few minutes to listen.
WorkLife with Adam Grant: Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist, provides a fascinating take on various disfunctions and innovations in the workplace. Every episode I’ve listened to has been thought provoking, and I fully admit that I will sit in my car for a few extra minutes just to continue listening. This is the one podcast where I’ve gotten to my desk in the morning and immediately jotted down ideas about how to deal with a particularly sticky situation, a new idea for how to advance my relationships with various personalities, or a potential innovative solution to propose to my business partners.
Best of Both Worlds (Laura Vanderkam and Sarah Hart-Unger): While a number of women, professionals, and academics are tackling the perpetual “work-life balance” struggle for working mothers, I don’t find a lot of the current literature particularly useful for my particular struggles and circumstances as I navigate this period in my life. However, I stumbled upon Best of Both Worlds, as a recommendation from one of my virtual acquaintances on Twitter. Thanks to this podcast, I think I finally found some constructive conversation that addresses the real issues I want to hear discussed, as well as practical solutions to help me manage my various competing priorities.
What are some of your favorite podcasts? I’d love to hear any of your suggestions!