finding time to podcast

9 steps to help you make time for running a successful podcast.

(Requested by Alaina Frederick.)

1. Recognize the time requirements

Podcasting takes time and doing it well takes more time. For quality audio content, assume at least a 4:1 ratio—4 hours of preparation and editing for every one hour of content. Video is closer to an 8:1 ratio.

So if you want to release an hour-long, weekly audio podcast, then you'll need to set aside five hours every week.

Remember that the less time you spend in preparation for your podcast, the lower the quality will be.

2. Separate your tasks …

Podcasting essentially has four tasks, each starting with the letter P:

  1. Preparation—collect your ideas, develop your outline, gather links and resources to use, maybe even write your shownotes
  2. Presentation—record your episode
  3. Post-production—edit your recording, complete your shownotes, publish your episode
  4. Promotion—tell others about your latest episode by tweeting, sharing on Facebook, posting in other social networks, or notifying your email list

You may find it easier to make time for each task, one at a time. For example, Spend an hour of preparation an Monday and another on Tuesday, record on Wednesday, edit on Thursday, then publish and promote on Friday.

Subdivide these tasks to make them even easier to do throughout the week. Pick your topic as early as possible, then always carry something that allows you to take notes as you have random inspiration. There are hundreds of mobile apps, websites, and physical tools for doing this. I recommend whatever is most convenient, simple, and accessible.

3. … or batch your tasks

You may also find great success in batching your work. John Lee Dumas from Entrepreneur on Fire records all of his daily episodes on a single day and Cliff Ravenscraft from records most of his weekly podcast episodes on a single day as well.

4. Schedule your time

I've heard many successful people say something like, “If it's not on the calendar, it won't happen.” That works for us mere mortals, too!

Be intentional about your time and commit to it by scheduling it. Every Monday, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. is blocked out in my schedule for The Audacity to Podcast. I can work on other things before that. But I know that when 11:00 a.m. hits, I have an appointment I must keep with my podcast.

As an aside, this is also why I like to live-stream my podcasts—it reminds me that others are relying on me to present my content at a specific time each week (currently Mondays at 2pm ET).

5. Use a timer for focus

We all have the same 168 hours in a week. If you try searching for time, you will never find it. You have to intentionally make the time for the things you want to do.

I've found that a simple timer can do wonders for my productivity. Use a kitchen timer, your mobile device, or to set a timer for 25 minutes (or your choice) and work on only your podcast during that time. No Twitter, Facebook, email, YouTube, phone calls, text messages, playing with things, or anything but your task.

When your time is up, you can take a break to address those distractions. Or if you found yourself in “the zone” of focus, simply reset your time for another 25 minutes.

Hear me talk about this tip in my guest appearance on Erik Fisher's Beyond the To-Do List podcast.

6. Simplify and don't attempt too much

I've found that the podcasters who struggle the most with their time make one (or both) of two mistakes: they don't intentionally set aside the time, or they don't understand how much time it will take to do what they want.

The higher you raise the bar of “perfection,” the longer it will take you to publish anything.

If you try to remove every “um” or “uh” from your audio episodes, you'll add hours to your workflow.

If you try to make your video podcasts fancy with transitions, animations, effects, lower thirds, and more, you'll find a five-minute video taking days to publish.

Simplify your standards and workflow. If it takes you a couple hours to find just the right stock photo, maybe you should grab your own camera and take your own photo (or vice versa). I've done this many times with my Canon T4i digital SLR ( | B&H). My episode about podcast backups has a beautiful photo of some DVDs. I searched for 30 minutes to find a great but inexpensive image before I decided to take 5 minutes to shoot my own.

You don't have to be perfect! Even professional radio hosts have things go wrong or stumble over words. Just because you have the power to edit doesn't mean you should. Allow yourself to be natural. If something needs to be fixed, fix just the major areas, or learn how to prevent them in the first place.

7. Remove something else from your schedule

The easiest way to make time for one thing is to not do another. If your podcast is a priority, then you'll need to decide what lower priorities can be sacrificed for your podcast.

Relationships aren't on this list! Always keep your relationships as the highest priority, but also agree one a specific schedule you can have to pursue your podcasting goals.

8. Get reminders or accountability

Setup regular notifications to remind you of what you need to do or the schedule you're trying to keep. You could take this a step further by asking others to hold you accountable with your time.

In some way, your audience is already depending on you and may even schedule their time around your episodes. Perhaps you look forward to listening to The Audacity to Podcast every Tuesday morning during your commute—I try to always honor that by having my episode online, if possible, before you even leave work on Monday.

9. Get help

If the workload is still too much, or you have too many other responsibilities and you can't drop the podcast, then it may be time to get someone else to help.

You can look for a volunteer for your passionate community, hire a virtual assistant, bring on an intern form a local school, contract a consultant, or even pay a family member.

Here are some example tasks that you could easily designate to someone else.

  • Writing shownotes
  • Finding photos
  • Editing audio or video
  • Shooting extra footage
  • Curating content
  • Filtering email
  • Moderating public messages
  • Scheduling guests or your guest appearances
  • Promoting in social networks

We have several volunteers performing each of these tasks for our Once Upon a Time podcast, and it has been a huge stress-relief!

How are you “redeeming the time”?

I like what the Bible says in the book of Ephesians, chapter 4, verses 15–18.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time [another translation says, “redeeming the time”], because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit … [Ephesians 4:15–18, ESV; emphasis mine]

Even if you don't try to live by the Bible, as I do, this passage can remind you that our days are busy, so we have to make the best use of our time. And wasting time is downright foolish.

So how do you make time for your podcast? What has helped you focus and stay consistent?

Need personalized podcasting help?

I no longer offer one-on-one consulting outside of Podcasters' Society, but request a consultant here and I'll connect you with someone I trust to help you launch or improve your podcast.

Ask your questions or share your feedback

  • Comment on the shownotes
  • Leave a voicemail at (903) 231-2221
  • Email (audio files welcome)

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This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship and may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.

About the Author
As an award-winning podcaster, Daniel J. Lewis gives you the guts and teaches you the tools to launch and improve your own podcasts for sharing your passions and finding success. Daniel creates resources for podcasters, such as the SEO for Podcasters and Zoom H6 for Podcasters courses, the Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin for WordPress, the My Podcast Reviews global-review aggregator, and the Podcasters' Society membership for podcasters. As a recognized authority and influencer in the podcasting industry, Daniel speaks on podcasting and hosts his own podcast about how to podcast. Daniel's other podcasts, a clean-comedy podcast, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC's hit drama Once Upon a Time, have also been nominated for multiple awards. Daniel and his son live near Cincinnati.
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Ben Krueger
10 years ago

Great article Daniel! This is an issue that plagues most podcasters, and stops the majority of would-be podcasters before they ever get started. Fantastic stuff and I’ll be sure to share this with clients when they’re having a tough time keeping to schedule!

Cheers man!

Ben Krueger
10 years ago

You bet!

Operation Cobra Cast
Operation Cobra Cast
10 years ago

Your points #2 and #4 are essential for my workflow.

Because my podcast is about a weekly TV series, I will watch the show initially on Sunday, rewatch and prep notes on Monday, record on Tuesday, edit on Wednesday (or Thursday, if needed), and publish on Thursday. That’s my goal and so far, I’ve done a fairly good job of keeping to that. Point #4 really helps with that. If I know I need to do those things every week on those days, it helps keep me focused.

Sometimes, we have to be flexible in recording time (sometimes it goes from a Tuesday to a Wednesday), but that doesn’t change those steps for me. The consistency leads to feelings of accomplish which in turn, keep me accountable which then brings me back around to consistency.

Thanks for the suggestions and advice! I might make use of in the future 🙂

Operation Cobra Cast
Operation Cobra Cast
10 years ago

Ha! No shame in it 🙂

I find that after the episode airs, I have a general sense of what I want to discuss so that when I got back for my Monday rewatch, my notes on scenes and dialogue are me zoning in on those things.

Greg Hauenstein
10 years ago

But what if getting drunk with wine is essential to your podcast?

In all seriousness, thank you for this post, Daniel. Time management is something I have struggled with since high school and it’s the number one reason my show ended. I’ll do my best to follow these suggestions and maybe, just maybe, I can get back on the mic in the near future.

Greg Hauenstein
10 years ago

How to run for office without losing your soul. The ins/outs and how-tos of political campaigns and ways to do it better.

10 years ago

The “timer method” you describe is very similar (actually almost identical) to something called “The Pomodoro method.” It was devised by a guy trying to find time to write his graduate thesis. It’s called “pomodoro” because he’s Italian and the timer he used was made to look like a tomato. There are a lot of people who now swear by the method and there’s even a little adobe flash based application that you can run on your computer called “focus booster” that sets a 25 min timer and gives you a 5 minute rest between sessions. I’ve found that this method makes me extremely focused and thought maybe your listeners might like it.


[…] quote comes from Daniel J. Lewis who recently devoted an episode of The Audacity to Podcast to one of my favorite topics: time […]

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