Did you know there are more than 750,000 podcasts and 30 million episodes available for you to listen to? Yes, you heard that right.

A quick download to your favorite device is all it takes to score a front row seat to hear some of the world’s top minds on any subject – including health care IT. And, more often than not, for free.

If you’re new to podcasts or haven’t had luck with them in the past, it’s easy to see how those stats might feel overwhelming. But before you reach for that familiar AM/FM dial or resort to your favorite music streaming service, I encourage you to try to tune in.

As a self-proclaimed “podcast guy,” I’ve made listening part of my daily routine. Along the way, I’ve identified some tips that may help you get started, and on the path to finding your favorite shows.

Find your why.

Simon Sinek made the question popular in his TED talk and it even applies to podcasts. Start with why you want to listen. Is it for entertainment? News and events? To learn a skill? Solve a problem? Deepen your understanding? Or to simply be inspired by big-thinkers?

Whatever your reason for listening, your why will give you a head start on the next tip.

Find your topic.

With tens of millions of titles at your fingertips, there’s no reason to slog through an uninteresting topic. Trust me when I say: Podcasts feel really long really fast when you don’t like the subject.

Podcasts help me establish my mindset for the day. You might say the shows I listen to get me thinking about my thinking. I listen to podcasts on leadership, habits of top performers, as well as innovation. These episodes fill my head with ideas that make me better.

When you know why you’re listening, it just takes a quick Google search to find shows that will truly speak to you. 

Find your time.

Equally important to why and what you listen to, is how long and when.

Some of the best podcasts are under five minutes and designed to give you a snippet. Other episodes span hours and get into the weeds.

The right episode length for me is 20 minutes. It’s enough to expose me to new ideas, stretch me and provide insights that I can apply to my work and family life. In fact, how I feel after those 20 minutes is how I judge a good show.

If an episode ends and I feel motivated, excited and like I’ve grown, then I’ll subscribe and keep listening.

If you’re someone who wants to understand a topic from all angles, though, longer shows are a better choice. Just like topics, podcasts lengths come in all varieties. Find the duration that works for you – and your attention span.

The other time element to consider is “when?” As in, when do you want to listen?

I tune in during my morning drive to the office. My favorite shows help me set the tone for how I approach the day. They get me thinking about new ideas and fresh ways we can solve our clients’ problems.

During a workout, over your lunch break or on your commute, the right time to listen to a podcast is always: on your time.

Find your takeaway

When a host or guest says something that stays with me, I snap a screen shot of the podcast timestamp. Then it’s easy to revisit the idea once I’m out of the car. At the office, I write the concept on my whiteboard. Some takeaways stay there for just a day and others are on my board for months. All of them, though, give me something to think about.

Podcasts have the ability to teach, entertain and challenge us no matter where we are. With these tips, you can connect to some of the world’s top thinkers on topics important to you.

Want a few recommendations? Cerner and MEDITECH have podcasts that address broad health care IT topics such as electronic medical forms, barcoding in hospitals and workflow automation.

You can also listen to some of my favorite shows such as Chasing Excellence, Team Success and Genius Network. I promise: If you make podcasts like these part of your daily routine you’ll find yourself inspired, in a positive mindset and ready to win your day.

Tim Elliott

Written by Tim Elliott

Listening to customers’ needs and finding solutions to help them has always been Tim’s focus and the reason he founded Access. Under his guidance and direction as CEO, Access has become one of the fastest growing companies in its field, offering customers and partners an unmatched level of innovation and support. Tim’s emphasis on integrity and quality is woven into every interaction, project and activity the company is involved with.