The Best Short Podcasts for Busy Days (& Busy People)

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Short Podcasts From PodcastManiacRegular readers of the blog know that I listen to at least a dozen podcast episodes every weekday. I work from home, so it’s just me and my Pocket Casts app all day long. I listen to podcasts while I write, cook, do laundry, and drive to the grocery store.

For me, an hour-long podcast episode is no biggie. But I’m not most people. Many of you tell me that you can only manage to listen to a couple of podcasts per week. You’re lucky if they aren’t interrupted by your kids, pets, or coworkers. And only some of you can, or do, listen in the car.

So this week, I’m recommending short podcasts. Shows that consistently make episodes that are under 20 minutes. In some cases, way under.

If you have a little more time than most people, you can download two or three short podcasts and create a playlist.

The recommendations below are from different podcast genres, so there’s a little something for everyone. If you love podcasts but you struggle to fit them into your day or week, give one of these a try.

9 Short Podcasts for Busy Listeners

Savvy Psychologist PodcastThe Savvy Psychologist

I wish that this podcast came out daily. It’s the perfect length (usually under 12 minutes per episode) for a morning commute or ride to the grocery store. Alas, new episodes come out only once per week, on Thursdays.

The podcast covers topics like dealing with haters, rebuilding trust, handling news overload, and improving self-control. The host puts problems into perspective, and then provides actionable tips and tricks for resolving them.

Brain TrainingBrain Training Podcast

Brain Training’s short episodes feature quick word and number games to flex your brain muscle. Episodes come out every weekday AND on the weekends, and are always 5 minutes or less.

I usually end up answering out loud, and sometimes making up songs to remember the order of numbers or words. I definitely think these games help keep me sharp and improve my memory!

P.S. I recommended this podcast in my post about 5 fun podcasts that make you smarter.

A Thousand Things To Talk About PodcastA Thousand Things To Talk About

This daily podcast is only 2-3 minutes long, so the host speaks pretty quickly. The format is this: she reads one quick, to-the-point question (sometimes submitted by listeners) and then presents fact-based answers.

Topics run the gamut; here are some recent ones: professional organizations, asking for a raise, clothing budgets, fasting, motivation, and more. It’s like doing a random Google search.

I guarantee that not every episode will seem interesting to you, but you’ll inevitably find something interesting in it. Side note: I love the theme music of this show!

The Secret to VictoryThe Secret to Victory Podcast

This new podcast tells stories about when the best athletes in the world lose. Think: Peyton Manning and Serena Williams. Champions, sure. But they’ve had grand failures.

And that’s literally what the podcast is about. The episodes don’t end on a high note. They just…end, leaving you to remember that even great achievers are also human.

The first few episodes have all been under 20 minutes, a trend I expect to continue.

The Truth PodcastThe Truth

The name of this podcast doesn’t really do it justice (I have no idea what it means). Regardless, it is soooo good. Each episode is a short-fiction piece that is acted out, not narrated. They’re approximately 20 minutes and super entertaining.

The stories range from dramatic to funny and everything in between. Some are even musical. There’s a huge feed of episodes to choose from.

If you’re still on the fence about this one, read my detailed review of The Truth podcast.

Up FirstNPR Up First Podcast

Up First is NPR’s daily (M-F) news update in under 10 minutes. They basically take the two biggest stories of the morning and turn them into a quick, digestible podcast.

You’ll still hear your favorite reporters, and the quality is the same as if you were listening to your local NPR station.


The Allusionist PodcastThe Allusionist

The description for this podcast is “short adventures in language with Helen Zaltzman”. She’s an award-winning podcaster. The stories are so good you don’t even realize they’re all related to language.

I dare you to listen to a full episode of The Allusionist and not subscribe to the podcast. It’s really that good and interesting.

I dare you to listen to a full episode of The Allusionist and not subscribe to the podcast. Click To Tweet

The majority of episodes from The Allusionist are under 20 minutes. Sometimes they go over (like, 22 minutes – don’t send me hate mail).

7-Minute Opinions & 7-Minute Explainers7 Minute Opinions Podcast

Yep – two podcasts for the price of one (free!) These “sister” podcasts are pretty self-explanatory (and entertaining). Each 7-minute episode has a theme and a little backstory.

In 7-Minute Opinions, you also get an opinion, and the arguments for and against it. I like to think of this podcast as an interesting conversation starter. There are several episode topics that would seem to be non-controversial – as it turns out, they totally are.

7 Minute Explainers PodcastIn 7-Minute Explainers, you get an explanation, facts, and sometimes a tutorial (e.g., how to avoid being eaten by a shark). Many episodes are kid-friendly and would be fun for the morning ride to school.




Bonus Recommendation

I cannot get enough of the I Hate My Boss podcast. If you can’t find the time to listen to the full-length episodes, try the shorter ones! The “After Hours” episodes (you can find them by their title) are usually just 10 minutes long and are equally as fun as the longer ones.

Have you already read The Best Short Podcasts for Busy Days (& Busy People)? Then try this post next: 5 LOL NSFW Podcasts You’ve Got To Listen To

Is there a short-format podcast that you recommend? Share it in a comment below!

7 thoughts on “The Best Short Podcasts for Busy Days (& Busy People)

  1. I love the short recommendations….sometimes the hour + podcasts are just TOO much!
    Have you heard of Side Hustle School by Chris Guillebeau? His episodes are generally under 15 minutes.

    • Hey Lisa! I HAVE heard of Side Hustle School – I have listened to one or two episodes, but I don’t think I realized that they are all usually short. I listen to a couple other podcasts that are about side hustles – I think I’ll have to write a post about them!

  2. Thanks for the recommendations. I recently started listening to podcast. I tend to listen to them on my 15-minute commute. lol. So, the shorter the better if I want to complete an episode in the car.

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