Podcasts have become increasingly popular as the chosen platform for accessing news and conversation across a range of subjects. But which shows are positioned as the most productive?

Analyzing each ‘productive’ podcast in the iTunes library, a new report by PowWowNow reveals the top podcasts you should be listening to in 2021 for ultimate productivity.

The 20 most productive podcasts

Powwownow uncovered the 20 most productive shows in the iTunes charts, it’s worth acknowledging how close the top two are. With an index score of 2.23, however, business-related podcast Entrepreneurs on Fire is considered the most productive, followed by health-driven Mind Pump: Raw Fitness Truth (2.19).

Interestingly, podcasts orientated around business only contribute to 10% of the top 20 productive podcasts, though, with The $100 MBA Show the only other professionally driven show to feature.

On the other hand, health and fitness podcasts take the crown as most productive category; alongside Mind Pump, the index has place for four more shows based around healthy living. On a similar note, increased awareness around mental health has also earned this category a 25% share in the top 20 list.

Rounding off the top 20, there’s continued prominence around shows that discuss mind and body, with three self-improvement series, three philosophical shows, and two around spirituality.

Are the longest running shows always the most productive?

Are the shows that have survived the longest always the most productive? According to the research, there is a strong correlation. Case in point: Entrepreneurs on Fire features the most episodes out of any podcast in the index and ranks highest overall with all factors considered.

With this in mind, it comes as little surprise that 90% of the top ten longest-running podcasts also rank among the overall top 20 for productivity. In fact, supporting this notion further, the show making up the final 10%, Optimal Health Daily, is only a few places behind in 23rd.

The truth behind the five-star rating

There are 253 five-star rated productive podcasts within the iTunes library, but, intriguingly, none of them feature in the overall top 20 for productivity. This could suggest that ratings don’t tell the full story.

However, after narrowing these 253 down to shows that have received at least 2,000 reviews from listeners, we’re left with five: Shawn Ryan Show, New Mindset, Who Dis?, Know Your Aura with Mystic Michaela, The Connected Life, Wine & Spirits with Monica the Medium.

These are the five shows we’re most interested in, because they have all the ingredients for a successful, productive podcast, apart from a strong index score for length of series (each scored below 0.15/1 for number of episodes). As these podcasts inevitably put out more episodes, however, we could see them quickly shoot up the productivity rankings in 2021.

Productivity prompts listener engagement

According to the findings, the podcasts considered most productive are often those that prompt fans to get involved in the conversation and leave a review. Unsurprisingly, nine of the ten most reviewed shows across the index also place within the overall top 20 for productivity, with the podcast stopping us from having a full house, the Shawn Ryan Show, finishing just shy in 21st.