When you commute every day, the usual distractions get old. Your go-to playlists start to sound more like elevator music, and the thought of reading another vampire novel makes you feel like you are the undead.
That's where these podcasts come in. Whether it's professional inspiration you're seeking or a good laugh, we've rounded up nine of our favorites to put a little extra morning (or evening) pep in your step.
For When You're Stuck in Traffic and Need Some Feel Goods
1. “Not Too Deep With Grace”
If you want to laugh on your way to and from work (and who doesn’t?), tune in to “Not Too Deep.” Grace Helbig, comedian and YouTube queen, chats with all kinds of people about all kinds of absurd topics—all with her signature style of humor. Check it out, as long as you don’t mind being the weirdo chuckling to yourself on the train.
Recommended Episode: Dating Advice with Mamrie Hart
2. “Love and Radio”
Add some romance to your morning. This ingenious podcast interviews eclectic subjects who share their stories of love, lust, loss, and everything in between. I find myself getting completely sucked into these true-life love stories of strangers and eagerly awaiting each monthly episode.
Recommended Episode: I, Sitting Beside Me
3. “Dear Sugar Radio”
As an avid fan of author Cheryl Strayed (drop everything and read her books!), I was thrilled to discover this advice podcast. For anyone who grew up reading the “Dear Abby” column in the newspaper, this is for you. But Cheryl Strayed and co-host Steve Almond offer more than perfunctory counsel—they radically empathize with the advice-seeker, and often share intriguing stories from their personal lives.
Recommended Episode: How Do I Survive the Critics?
For When You Haven't Picked Up a Newspaper or Book in Days
This cleverly-edited show explores a variety of topics, many of which are difficult to address. When I listen to this show, I always feel like I broaden my worldview. I recommend this show if you’re innately curious and love learning.
Recommended Episode: Oops
5. “This American Life”
No podcast list is complete without mentioning this incredibly popular classic hosted by Ira Glass. Each weekly episode includes stories tying into a theme, usually from regular people with exceptional stories. It’s hard to categorize this podcast, but I highly recommend giving it a listen! Around a million people download it each week—you won’t be disappointed.
Recommended Episode: How to Create a Job
6. “On Being”
If you’d prefer something more serious, listen to host Krista Tippett on this award-winning podcast where she explores deep questions about being human with a variety of interesting guests—including social psychologists, philosophers, and biologists. The thought-provoking episodes are full of profound insights on existing that I find myself contemplating long after the show has ended.
Recommended Episode: Mary Catherine Bateson on Composing a Life
For When You Need Some Creative Inspiration Before the 9 AM Editorial Meeting
7. “The Good Life Project”
The focus of this podcast seems simple: How do you lead a good life? Obviously, the seemingly elusive answer is not-so-easy, yet fun to explore. Host Jonathan Fields converses with interesting guests in his full-length episodes where these makers and world-shakers share inspiring insights. I also enjoy his “Good Life Project” riffs which provide a quick jolt of inspiration usually in five minutes or less.
Recommended Episode: Elizabeth Gilbert: The Creative Life
8. “TED Radio Hour”
If you like TED talks, you’ll love this podcast from NPR. Host Guy Raz takes a fascinating subject—creativity, learning, happiness, work—and explores it in depth by compiling multiple TED talks, and further interviewing the presenters. This is my go-to podcast for great conversation starters, because the topics are so intriguing!
Recommended Episode: Simply Happy
9. “Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing”
This is the perfect podcast for a quick commute, as the short episodes are chock-full of knowledge for improving your writing and speaking. Host Mignon Fogarty addresses grammar questions, provides fun language tidbits, and offers writing advice in each well-researched episode. I love this podcast because it makes me feel smarter!
Recommended Episode: Comma Law
This article was originally published on Career Contessa. It has been republished here with permission.