How do you manage your podcast backlog?

I have 147 or so podcast episodes in my backlog. I tend to binge several episodes of the same podcast at once, even MPU. Should I record the episodes I want to listen to in Omnifocus or Drafts to then redownload? I struggle too with some podcasts that can be over 2 hours long which is tougher to carve out time for.

I keep all my podcasts in Pocket Casts, which sync to my Pocketcasts web account streamer. PC has Mac/iOS/Web/Android/Windows apps, and recently got bought out by a consortium including NPR. So it’s not going anywhere, and it is regularly updated. And unlike some players it plays video podcasts.

Never thought I’d need to move my podcasts anywhere.

I listen to what interests me, and if something’s been in the queue for too long I make the decision that it’s loo uninteresting or too long for my time, and I delete.


I try not to have a podcast backlog. :joy:

  1. About 10 days after a podcast episode has been released, I will force myself to make a decision: I will either listen to the episode or I will delete the episode.

  2. When I catch myself being subscribed to a podcast without having listened to an episode for more than 3 to 4 weeks, I will unsubscribe.

  3. I use smart playlists to have my absolute favorites conveniently available preventing me from “drowning” in all those recently released episodes.

Doing it that way I end up having about 7 to 12 episodes to listen to.


I have smart playlists set-up in Overcast so that my Podcasts are grouped and then placed in order of listening preference…for example, if I’m in the mood for a Sport Podcast then I go to that playlist and my sports podcasts are lined up in order of preference (also in preferred order…some podcasts I always want to consider listening to the ‘latest’ episode first, but then maybe I’ll pass at that moment in time and dip into an older one with more interesting subject matter. OR if they are episodic then I always want the oldest episode to be queued up first.)

I also have a ‘Priority’ playlist which I always go to first, this is for Podcasts that pop up in my feed that I want to listen to at the very next opportunity I listen to a Podcast. I always enjoy MPU+ episodes, so I’ll place that in my priority playlist immediately, whereas some of the workflow episodes I need to be in the mood for.

Finally, if a set amount of months pass without you listening to a particular Podcast episode (or a Podcast at all!) then I would recommend removing them from your Podcast provider…if I find a Podcast is bottom of my listening list for say, 6 months, I’m unlikely to ever get to it!

I also number each of my smart playlists in order of preference so my most commonly listened to subjects are near the top of my playlists…1) Priority, 2) Sport 3) Apple etc

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I have a playlist set up in Overcast that I manage manually. I add new episodes to the list and order it based on my sense of priority/what I want to listen to right now (MPU always goes to the top!)

Unlike @Christian I actively try to maintain a backlog so when I have a long trip I’ll have something to listen to. I’ll be driving 1800 miles in the next week and a half, so I’m really glad to have a bunch of episodes (including all of this year’s Relay Members Only episodes) to enjoy.


I tend to get stressed if my backlog of podcasts is more than about 15 (that’s just me; I keep my inbox under 5 emails too).
If it gets long, I delete podcasts I’m less interested in (I can always go back if I want to, but I never will because the backlog is so big).
I also delete things that I might not want to listen to as soon as they appear in my feed, such as an NPR Ted talk that sounds less interesting. Another one I listen to is fun, but if my backlog is over 10 I tend to delete as it’s not that good.
If it keeps getting too long, I tend to stop something downloading automatically.

When a holiday comes along, I look at my list of subscribed podcasts that don’t download automatically and download a few to boost my lists.

I have Overcast set to keep the latest five episodes. I also tend to binge listen, but five is usually enough. If I listened to all five I‘ll look if there’s more. But usually those podcasts that are really important to me don’t add up to more than five. With the others I don’t mind missing some episodes and if I‘m really in the mood to binge away more than those five I‘ll just add „some more“ of it.

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Went through and deleted some so down from 147 to 76 which is better. More doable!

Same here (and I also use Pocket Casts). I don’t feel guilty deleting some podcasts whose subject matter may be quickly out-of-date or don’t interest me (sorry MPU). As for video podcasts, Consumer Reports video podcasts are nice to view with the Apple TV.

And they make them available as audio podcasts as well, which I find especially convenient. If there’s something on their car podcast I want to watch I think I usually find the video version on Youtube, by the way.

I have 178 unlistened-to podcast episodes in Overcast currently. Here’s how I manage them:

  • Occasionally I’ll get an episode that I want to listen to sooner rather than later, because it’s timely or the subject is interesting to me. I bump those to the top of the queue manually.

  • I have several podcast series where I’m catching up on all back episodes. I exclude the podcast series from my main podcast queue (which is called, imaginatively enough, “main.”) I add one episode at a time when I’m ready to listen to a new one.

  • Sometimes I delete episodes where they just don’t look interesting.

Other than that, I listen to episodes when they come in. Today and tomorrow I’ll be listening to podcasts that came in Sunday and Monday (I already listened to Sunday’s MPU). After that I’ll return to the main queue; I’m almost a month behind on those. And I’m not worried about it. I’ll get to episodes when I get to them; if I miss something I don’t really care all that much.

I currently have a backlog of 338, my solution was to teach myself to listen to most shows at 3x speed with silence reduction, and I rip through them covering 20 ~ ish hours every day with my commute.

I bounce around and listen to timely stuff first and more evergreen shows later, e.g I will listen to something like upgrade the day it comes out and hardcore history when I get to it.

I tried Castro for a while and for some time really liked their triage approach. But after about three month my queue got so long that the whole system didn’t make sense anymore.

I was in the backlog boat until January of this year. I took part in Cal Newport’s Digital Declutter experiment ( I gave up all podcasts for January (in addition to a lot of other social media), and then in February only added back those that I most missed. Probably cut the # of podcasts in half. Now I have few enough that I can listen to them at a faster rate than they come out (and have audiobooks to make up any difference). While it probably isn’t worth dropping them all for a month, pruning the list certainly helped me decide what was important.

I’m starting to get this. I only really listen to 3 podcasts, Free Agents, MPU and one on phto organizing. I generally prefer written rather than spoken stuff and so even listening to podcasts is a hard thing for me. I don’t have music playing when I’m inside and I don’t ever listen to audio books either. What I’ve done is put a recurring project in OF to listen to the podcasts I want to follow but if I get 2 episodes behind I just forget the oldest ones. I figure for the free agents and mpu one I’ll get most of the useful stuff ehre and for the photo organizing one I can always go back if a particular podcast is suddenly relevant for a paticular procedure I am working on.

What is the photo organising one?

Be selective about Podcasts you want to hear. Let’s take MPU as an example: #445: HomeKit Intensive - I don’t use HomeKit, so no reason to hear it. #448: iOS 12 and the September 12th Event - well, the event is over, I’ve read all the news already so it would be a waste of time. Or ATP - not all shows will have interesting themes for you. Since the themes are described, it is pretty easy to skip them. Castro has a good GTD-like approach on podcasts: there is an Inbox, where all shows land, and you have to inspect them and decide which will land on you actual playlist.

Some podcasts are basically timeless - I will be very sad when my backlog on In Our Time podcast is done. No reason to be unhappy about it.

FWIW, MPU’s HomeKit Intensive podcast is next in my queue. I plan to listen to the first few minutes for the Katie & David conversational bits and announcements, and then delete it when they get to the HomeKit parts.

I don’t get home automation. If I want to turn on a light, I get up and turn on the lights. If it’s too much work getting up, I put a lamp next to the chair.

On iOS12, yeah, I’d read the news but I like MPU’s take on big announcements.

Same here with homekit. There’s nothing ever that I find useful.

Short and simple topics. Focused on scrapbookers. Has some useful tips. A beginner podcast but I still find it useful.