How to Listen to Podcasts Effectively

Listening to podcasts is something I do on a regular basis.

I enjoy podcasts because they allow me to increase my knowledge and they are something that is both passive and active.

I can listen while I do other things.

The podcasts app included with the iPhone does an okay job, but I’ve been using an app called Overcast by Marco Arment recently and have become almost fanatical in my support of it.

I’m not sure what is on Android that is similar at the moment as I don’t have an Android device I use on a regular enough basis, but I have used the web player version of Overcast on my lone Android device with success.


I have a very large list of podcasts (I’ll be sharing in a future post) and Overcast not only lets me organize which ones I have played but also allows me to listen seamlessly to podcasts across several devices.

Overcast allows me to find and subscribe to podcasts in the Overcast application and allows me to select if I want to stream them or download them to my device. I set my Overcast to download podcasts only when I am on WiFi to save data.

When I start listening to a podcast, I can pick it up in the exact same place on another device. That works out well for me because I listen using two different iPhones. When the battery on one iPhone is low, you’ll often find me switching my headphones to the other iPhone so I can keep listening.

The Site
The Site

I’ll also listen to my podcasts on my MacBook Pro. You can visit the website and resume podcasts from the same spot as well.

The ability to share a podcast with a friend with a short link that goes straight to the part of interest is also incredibly valuable. I’ve found myself sharing some great podcasts and segments with others in my social circle this way.


Overcast on iPhone

Have I mentioned yet that Overcast is entirely free?

Overcast is going to change totally the way you consume podcasts with features such as Smart Speed (removes silence) and the ability to speed up podcast playback rates.

I find that I best consume podcasts at a slightly faster rate. This allows me to absorb the information faster which means I can listen to more podcasts in a single day. Speeding it up slightly also makes me pay more attention to the podcast.

I often check the show notes for a podcast and if I learned something extra valuable from a podcast I’ll copy the relevant show notes to my second brain in Evernote.

Overcast keeps track of my podcasts so I don’t listen to the same episode more than once (unless I want) and Evernote helps me better organize thoughts and important parts.

Since Overcast allows me to share a link to the exact spot in a podcast I will sometimes copy that link with the relevant notes into my Evernote page as well.

By using Overcast and Evernote, I can listen to podcasts more effectively. What works best for you?