Sometimes you don’t have the time to spare to listen to an entire hour’s worth of podcasts.
Sometimes life is just a little too busy, and free time soon becomes a luxury.
But in a world dominated by podcasts with episodes that go for well over an hour at a time, how on earth can you possibly entertain yourself with a podcast when you have a spare half-hour?
Luckily, I’ve put together this comprehensive list of the best podcasts that are a perfect solution to this problem.
Do you want a podcast series that is short and easy to consume but still thoroughly enriching, entertaining, or maybe even educational? If so, then this list is the perfect place to start.
I’ve compiled a truly eclectic list of shows that cover a wide range of genres and topics so that there is always something perfect for occupying your mind in those few minutes of spare time.
So, why don’t we delay no further and jump right in with the first entry on our list?
Read on below to find out some of the best podcasts with episodes under 20 minutes long!
Table of Contents
TED, known for hosting the best and most illuminating talks and conferences with some of the most brilliant thinkers of our time, or anyone who has an interesting experience or life, has decided to condense its recognizable format into an awesome podcast.
However, you needn’t worry when listening to the TEDx SHORTS podcast, as every episode is designed to be short, compact, and easy to consume, with no episodes ever exceeding the 20-minute mark.
For example, this makes it perfect for your morning commute to work, as the exciting ideas explored in the show will awaken your mind and prepare you for the day ahead.
Each story is thoroughly illuminating and will fill your mind with inspiration so that you can tackle whatever your day throws at you.
I could rave on and on for hours about this podcast, but you’re here because you don’t have that kind of time! So check the show out now and prepare to be inspired!
Listen on ted.com.
The Daily Punch
Do you have trouble keeping up with the intricate world of politics?
Ever find yourself left in the dust when it comes to figuring out which political party represents which ideas and which politicians are working in your best interests?
Don’t worry. It happens to the best of us, so Punchbowl news decided to put together the excellent Daily Punch podcast.
Every morning, this podcast seeks to explain to you the most recent developments in the political realm so that you can always be up to date on the most critical issues without spending hours reading the news every day.
By throwing on each episode of The Daily Punch, you can quickly get up to speed on the political world to keep up with water-cooler conversation and fight for the things that matter to you politically.
The short format of this show sets it directly apart from many political podcasts that often labor the point and see run times over 1 hour or 2 hours at a time!
I still find myself continually impressed at just how much the hosts of this show manage to stuff into just a few minutes, yet without ever overwhelming the listener with information overload.
It consistently reports on only the most essential facts and never becomes tiring.
Listen on cadence13.
The trouble with finding shorter podcasts is that you may believe that you have to miss out on some of the best fictional podcasts.
Many of the most popular fictional podcasts feature long episodes, which can be frustrating for anyone with very little time. Such series are best experienced by consuming whole episodes at once.
However, you are in luck because you don’t have to miss out on this next show which is one of the best fictional podcasts I have ever listened to!
Motherhacker, written by the immensely talented Amanda Lipitz, follows the story of one woman, down on her luck, who chooses to take to vishing to make a little bit of extra income to help support her family.
‘Vishing’ refers to voice phishing, which is the act of making fraudulent phone calls to reveal the personal information of victims to steal money from them.
Though she feels terrible doing it, protagonist Bridget is left with very little choice if she wishes to keep her family fed.
This creates a palpable sense of desperation within the story that will have you rooting for Bridget, no matter how desperate or dark her situation becomes or the lengths she must go to improve it.
Of course, one of the best things about this series is that it features episodes that are frequently shorter than even the ten-minute mark, making it incredibly easy to listen to in shorter bursts or even to binge through, should you ever want to.
To make the deal even sweeter, however, the show also features an all-star voice cast including Carrie Coon, Alan Cumming, Lucas Hedges, and Pedro Pascal, to name a few.
This makes the show very enjoyable to listen to, as these seasoned actors each bring their performing skills to the role to elevate this perfectly written material even higher.
This series is also a Spotify Original series, which means that it is exclusive to that platform.
This means that you can be sure that it is a high-quality show that is well-deserving of your time and attention.
Listen on gimletmedia.com.
It’s always good to learn a little bit of history.
The only problem is that many of the best resources out there to help you learn history are very expansive, and thus it would take you a very long time to learn about even some of the minor historical events.
If you want to learn a little more about human history but be able to do so in a time-efficient way, you should look no further than HistoryPod.
HistoryPod is a wonderfully produced podcast series that has a simple premise. Each day a different historical event is explored within just a few minutes.
The historical event of each day is chosen based on the day itself.
For example, if you were to tune in to the podcast on April 3rd, 2022, you would be met with an episode based around the murder of Jesse James at the hands of Robert Ford.
Structuring the series in this way helps to make the show very engaging. It also helps to make the show very addictive.
Each morning, you will wake up excited to check out the latest episode and find out what the day’s topic will be.
This is a great podcast if you need a fix for something interesting to enlighten you and help you be a little better informed.
And the best thing of all is that you don’t have to dedicate lots of time to the show.
Each episode is concise and can be the perfect thing to listen to in order to wake your mind up and get yourself going!
Listen on historypod.net.
Science is a fascinating and mind-blowing topic, but the only problem is that many scientific publications that report on the latest developments in the field, or its history, tend to be rather obtuse and very inaccessible, especially to newer readers.
Many require intense knowledge of science or the use of particular terms that often fly over the heads of the average layperson.
Short Wave from NPR is the perfect remedy for this exact problem.
This short-form podcast, dedicated to creating 10-minute episodes, seeks to make scientific knowledge accessible.
Each day the show focuses on a new range of topics to help to expand your mind.
Each episode is packed with historical science and some of the newest scientific developments.
This can be an excellent show for starting your day with a little bit of positivity, as each episode is packed full of incredible advancements in medicine and life-improving technology.
The show is also highly entertaining to listen to and often quite hilarious.
The hosts are dedicated to keeping the show somewhat lighthearted and breezy, so it never feels like a chore to listen to.
The show is energetic and full of life and passion for science.
This show boasts a perfect balance between humor and knowledge to help you not only be entertained but educated at the same time.
It’s the perfect show if you’re looking for something that will keep you interested and engaged throughout the entire episode.
Listen on npr.org.
How To Be A Girl
This series is enlightening and contains some very vital discussions on gender and the changing role that it is playing in society today.
The focus of the series is simple, as it explores the relationship between Marlo Mack and her six-year-old trans daughter.
The show is produced entirely by Marlo herself in collaboration with her daughter as the two discuss some surprisingly heavy topics.
This also gives the show a very charming and rather cute tone, as you can feel the love that the two hosts have for each other.
True to its title, the conversation between Marlo and her daughter very often turns to what it means to be a girl.
What’s involved in being a girl, and what does gender mean on the individual level.
The conversation can also become quite emotional at points, and you’ll be surprised at how astute Marlo’s daughter seems to be and how well she can express her ideas and emotions.
This lovely series takes a straightforward and modern concept and creates something beautiful from it that will easily stand the test of time and act as a perfect time capsule for Marlo and her daughter to look back on and reminisce over.
The episodes are also concise, so you can easily catch up with the show by listening to a few episodes at a time in your spare time!
Listen on howtobeagirlpodcast.com.
Podcasts make for an excellent storytelling platform and show off some of the best in modern fiction.
However, no podcast series better shows the beauty of short stories than the awesome podcast The Truth.
This fantastic series is dedicated entirely to platforming short stories from some of the best writers, often choosing stories from writers that don’t receive nearly enough recognition for their work as they should.
However, this podcast series stands out because each story is recorded as if it were acted out rather than narrated.
This makes it feel like you’re listening to a gripping and exciting blockbuster movie!
It also helps you feel directly involved in the story, making this easily one of the most immersive podcast series I have ever had the joy of listening to.
The show hosts recommend that you listen to the series through headphones to get the best experience, making this show the perfect option for those who might have a long daily commute!
The series also regularly uploads, and though a few of the episodes occasionally push past the 20-minute mark, they never exceed an hour in length, so you can always find some time to enjoy!
Listen on thetruthpodcast.com.
The Savvy Psychologist’s Quick And Dirty Tips For Better Mental Health
You can bet with such a long title; this show knows what it is talking about. Have you ever felt a little bit overwhelmed by the modern world?
Ever find yourself wishing you could slow down and improve your mental health, but you don’t have the time? Don’t worry, because you are not alone.
If you want to improve your mental health, you may find yourself daunted by the many options designed to help you, each of which often requires a significant time investment to work.
That’s where this awesome podcast comes in to save the day.
Each episode of this show is easily less than 10 minutes, so you can tune in quickly and get precisely what you need.
The show is hosted by Dr. Monica Johnson, who has a very sympathetic and soft tone that makes the show comforting to listen to.
But the show is also hilarious, thanks to Monica’s humorous style.
The show will help you better understand and cope with emotions. Each episode’s topic is written in the title, so you can always be sure of the advice you will receive and that it will benefit you in the long run!
Listen on quickanddirtytips.com.