BeforeYourNext Birthday-DeniseFisher’s Blog

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5 Ways “This American Life” Can Work For You – Act 1 – Getting Projects Started

Posted by denisefisher on January 30, 2009

Listening to a show on the radio (and by radio, I mean Public Radio – the kind without commercial interruptions) has countless advantages over other types of entertainment. For one thing, it allows you to do other things while listening, so you can still be physically active and productive without diminishing the experience.

One of my favorite programs to listen to (and also one of the top [free] downloaded podcasts on iTunes each week) is This American Life, with host, Ira Glass. If you haven’t heard this program before, it might help to have a brief overview of its style and format.

On This American Life, each week they choose a theme and tell several stories on that theme over the span of an hour. The stories are often told in a mixed blend of interviews, recordings, and narrations by the authors. A really cool feature that defines the storytelling style of This American Life is the way that stories are interspersed with musical interludes.

For this series of posts, I’m enumerating five ways in which you can enjoy the program, This American Life, with additional benefits you may have never considered. Each of these listed benefits will include a suggested program that you can listen to by purchasing the podcast or listening to the streaming version of the show on the program’s website.

Getting Projects Started

When you’re facing a daunting project like sorting through an accumulation of mail and other papers, getting started on a painting project, reorganizing a storage space, or any other task that’s hard to get started, you can always count on This American Life to overcome your procrastination and make the chore more pleasant.

Before you set up your audio entertainment, gather everything you’ll need for the task. You don’t want to have to leave the earshot range of your speakers to fetch something in another room and risk missing a critical part of the story.

Make sure you have an uninterrupted hour in which to do your task, so that you will be able to listen to the entire program. Try to arrange it so that others will not disrupt you during your task, and consider turning off your phone (or at least allowing voice mail to take all but the most urgent of calls you can identify). If, perchance, you have longer than an hour to work on a project, you can always listen to an additional program of This American Life. The pause between the shows will give you a chance to make a pit stop or handle minor issues that require you to leave the area or divert your listening.

If you have not tried this technique before, you may be surprised at how easily you can get into a task that you might otherwise find grueling. Time will pass quickly, and you will be amazed at what you can accomplish while being entertained by Ira Glass and associates.

My program recommendations for this tip #1 would be either one (or both) of these two popular shows, both of which are based on real-life experiences:

#109 Notes on Camp

#352 The Ghost of Bobby Dunbar

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