I am a big proponent of life long learning and personal growth. I believe that if you are not learning, you are falling behind. This is because the world is changing so rapidly you cannot expect your current set of skills and knowledge to keep up. Plus, learning is a very fulfilling process. Many free learning resources are available on podcasts.
This is going to be a bit of a podcast how-to because there is so much free information available through podcasts. Though, when I try to tell some people about podcasts they look at me like I am speaking a different language.
A podcast is essentially a radio show on the internet. Thousands of people are sharing different types of information through podcasts. This info can range from simple stories to learning a different language. There is a podcast for almost any subject you can think of; and many of them are free (these are the ones I like). The subjects I am interested in are entrepreneurship, leadership, time management, productivity, the stock market, and encouragement.
To listen to podcasts you need to have a podcatcher. A podcatcher is a program that allows you to search through the many podcasts out there and download them to your computer. The most popular podcatcher is Itunes (it is free and it is the one I like to use). I know there are other podcatchers out there but I have not used them. From this point I am going to be describing Itunes because it is the one I am familiar with. The reason I chose Itunes is because I own an Ipod and Itunes helps to easily sync (download all of my new podcasts) my Ipod with my computer. Also, when Itunes is running it will automatically download the new versions of my favorite podcasts once they have been released.
First download Itunes here. Now install it to your computer. Open Itunes once the install is complete. From the Left side of the screen click on Itunes Store; this will take you to the Itunes download site. Now type any subject you are interested in the search box at the top left. A screen should come up that breaks down the different media categories. Click on the category heading labeled Podcasts (if you cannot see it you may have to scroll down). A new screen will open listing all of the podcasts that fit your search criteria. Now click on one of the podcast squares and it will take you into the main page for that podcast. If you are interested in subscribing to the podcast click on the subscribe button. Also at the bottom of the page you can download past shows by scrolling the show list to the right and clicking on the download button. Now the shows will be downloaded to your computer automatically.
Once all of the shows are downloaded, plug your Ipod (or other MP3 player) in to your computer. Itunes will ask you a few questions about your Ipod (I am not sure how it functions with other players) to set it up, and once it is set up the podcasts will automatically download to your computer as long as Itunes is running.
As a note: if you do not own an MP3 player then you can still listen to the podcasts on your computer. Also, some of them can be converted to WAV format and burned to a disk to listen in your car.
Finally here is a list of podcasts I listen to that you may be interested in and have been very helpful to me.
The American Entrepreneur (a Pittsburgh radio show where a successful entrepreneur shares wisdom of starting businesses)
The Dave Ramsey Show (talks about getting your financial life in order)
The Tim Knox Show (Another Entrepreneur sharing his wisdom)
48 Days To The Work You Love (Talks about finding the work you love)
Inspiring Words of Encouragement (Zig Ziglar sharing his sales, relationship, personal growth knowledge)
The Street.com Real Story (talks about what is moving the stock markets every day)
Weight Loss and The Mind (talks about the mind aspect of losing weight and getting in shape)