Several months ago, I started listening to security podcasts in the car during my commute. I probably have my annual CPE requirement tripled by now–I’ll go submit my 30 in a week or two, and I don’t see much point in tracking it beyond that–but, more importantly, I’ve increased my professional awareness.

One thing I’ve noticed: When I first started doing this, I found if I listened to a podcast two or three times I missed stuff the first time around. I don’t miss a whole lot anymore. That’s a good thing. You can never be too conversant in security. Even if it means replacing your car radio, it’s worth it.

But mainly, I’ve recovered an hour of my day that was otherwise unproductive. When I listen in the car, I’m not distracted, so I retain the information well. In 7-10 hours a week (running errands counts too), I can cover a ton of ground. And there’s a positive side effect, too. When traffic is bad, I’m less uptight about it. I’m stuck in traffic, yes, but I’m learning whether the car is moving at 2 MPH or 60 MPH. So on those days when it takes 15 extra minutes to get to work, I find I don’t mind it much. That’s probably good for my heart health.

I was telling a coworker who’s trying to get into security about doing this. Another coworker chimed in that he knows someone who listens to Italian lessons in the car, has been doing so for about a year, and is moderately conversant in Italian now.

I don’t especially need to pick up Italian, but that sounds to me like a more productive way to spend the drive time than listening to Gwar.