Alex-Ghenis-podcastsJust a few years ago, I discovered a thing that makes those little trips around town a whole lot better. That thing, my friends, is the wonder of podcasts.

As I’m rolling around town, I always see people with their phones out, looking down as they stroll through the center of the sidewalk.

It’s pretty annoying to see – and often leads to some near-misses for those of us rolling the other direction – but they are also doing it for a reason. That’s because going around town takes a while, especially at walking speed, and a phone gives people something to look at, to read or text friends or follow Pokémon on those long trips. It makes those trips a bit fun or even productive instead of being wasted time, and that little extra fun and productivity is always a good thing.

Unfortunately, as someone in the chair, I don’t have that luxury of playing with my phone. I just can’t scroll through my Android as I’m speeding 7 miles-per-hour down the sidewalk or bike lane. One hand is on my joystick and my fingers don’t work to hold the phone with the other – plus, I’ve got to keep my eyes ahead at that kind of speed. But I also go everywhere in my chair, which could even be a good hour of the day as I roll to and from work, the grocery store, the gym or my girlfriend’s place.

Those trips with nothing to do would sure feel like wasted time. And even though music makes them a little bit fun, it certainly doesn’t make them productive. For someone obsessed with productivity like I am, a wasted trip (or full-on hour) is a pretty horrible thing.

Well just a few years ago, I discovered a thing that makes those little trips around town a whole lot better. That thing, my friends, is the wonder of podcasts. These podcasts are audio packets of info that I can listen to without using my hands or watching my screen, and can fill up just a few minutes or a full hour (or more). With these little beauties, I just put my headphones in as I roll around town, taking in news, stories, rants and plenty of entertainment that make my daily commutes worthwhile instead of wasted time.

Better yet, there are loads of options out there. I personally get my daily news from “Democracy Now” and KCRW’s “To the Point.” Interesting analyses of life and economics come from “This American Life,” “Planet Money,” “Freakonomics,” and the “TED Radio Hour.” I also listen to a bunch of really entertaining roundtables through the Slate Daily Podcast. And “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” is an absolutely hilarious news quiz game show from NPR that makes Sunday mornings amazing. Better yet, I can listen to these podcasts accelerated up at 1.5x or 2x “double-speed,” which takes some getting used to but now lets me absorb much more info in my rolls around town. This whole deal put on my bedroom speakers even makes my morning and night routines a bit more worthwhile: getting into bed takes a good 45 minutes – and morning dressing and transfers are the same – so learning and laughing throughout is definitely the way to go. My attendant likes it as well, so it’s a win-win.

You can try podcasts for yourself, right on your cell phone. IPhones have a podcast app built right in, including those 1.5x and 2x speed settings. There are plenty of podcast apps for android phones as well. I personally use Podcast Addict (where you can go faster than 2x speed … I’ve even learned to keep along at 2.5), but you can search through the Play Store and see what works for you. There are also hundreds of podcasts available online, so you can see what fits your fancy for news, entertainment and more. So go ahead and try out the podcast life — I guarantee it’ll be worth a go.