Brad Nolan

May 29, 2023

Quality non-work

Making a radio show, or a podcast, is a mountain of work. It’s really easy to get caught up in the never ending pressure to produce. 

It’s really less important than you might think. You’re likely doing yourself a disservice. If you never stop, you’re missing out on valuable perspective. 

It goes by many names, I’m sure, but I like to do something I call, “quality non-work.”

What is Non-Work? 

It’s not as simple as doing things other than work. It’s work adjacent. It’s an undying dedication to learning. It’s pressing pause to better yourself in relation to the work.

Here’s a real world example:
I’m in the middle of developing software for syndicated radio shows (it’s called Airspeed Studio). I’ve been working REALLY hard on it and it solves a problem I’ve experienced as the Executive Producer of The Jubal Show. We have been testing various versions of it for about 18 months with stations airing the show.

Yet, I had this feeling it just wasn’t quite right. I did some quality non-work about it. In this case pausing and truly diving into learning more about the technology at hand and how true experts do it. I produced NOTHING in this time (in terms of the software) - yet I’ve propelled us further and faster than we have been in a year. In just the last month, the entire software was re-worked and we will release the latest version to Jubal Show affiliates in just weeks - followed by a release to the entire industry. Awesome.

Non-work is about producing nothing. It’s about refreshing your mind and learning. We wrap our worth too tightly to our output, and forget too often about input.

Focus on your input, and watch your output grow exponentially.

In practice

Here are some ways you can do some non-work with your radio show or podcast:

  • Reach out to someone who knows more than you about what you want to do. If they write, read it. If they are close enough to get on the phone, call them (without wasting their time - and make sure you’re clear about what you’re doing. Maybe they would love to help you be a little selfish).
  • Pick an area of radio or podcasting and Google it for a couple hours. Make nothing. Do nothing but sponge it up. Learn.
  • Question your own assumptions. Put it in your calendar (I’m not kidding) to spend 30 minutes twice a week assuming you’re wrong about something. Find out.

Whatever you do - produce nothing - regularly. It’s the only way you can produce something you give a shit about. 

- Brad

About Brad Nolan

Hello! I'm Brad. I've spent 20+ years helping radio personalities, podcasters, and companies make better content and operate more smoothly. I work every day in the content business, so not a fraud, which is nice.

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