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7 Growth Hacks for Commuters

7 Growth Hacks for Commuters

Commuting could be physically and mentally tiring. I can see why you and many hate being stuck on a crowded train and in slow-moving traffic. Commuting seems like a massive waste of time, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

A team from the University of the West of England suggests that multitasking can be beneficial for commuters: If you try to listen, read, brainstorm, and get things done while sitting on a train to work, you are likely to feel more worthwhile. You can also learn new things, improve your skills and grow.

Here are some tools and tips to help commuters grow while enjoying their daily travel more and more.

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1. Plan your day

Try to use your morning commute to plan the day. To-do list apps like Wunderlist and Any.do are free and can be synced across all your devices: phone, tablet, and laptop. You can sketch out your day, using your mobile phone on the train, then tick tasks off later while sitting in your office in front of your laptop. It sounds great, doesn’t it?

2. Get your dose of industry news

Keep yourself up-to-date with industry news on online magazines and blogs using Feedly. In case you want to avoid an eyestrain (or if you are driving), a tool using “text-to-speech” technology can help. Softwares like Panopreter read words, phrases, and articles, and convert them to audio files that you can listen to on the road. The technology enables multitasking and helps save time.

3. Listen to Educational Podcasts

Podcasts are a great way to expand your knowledge base. You can find free podcasts on almost every topics on the planet: from language history to money management. Use free mobile apps like Podcasts (for iOS) and Stitcher (for Android) to subscribe to your favourite podcasts, and tune in for some education time during your commute.

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4. Learn a new language

Being bilingual or multilingual opens the door to many new opportunities, from getting a better job to making new friends. Why not learn a new language using your travelling time? Duolingo is a fun and effective tool for learning language on the go. Give it a try and maybe you can have a conversation with a stranger on the train in her own language. Another option is to listen to podcasts in the language you try to learn.

5. Brainstorm ideas

This might sound strange but taking public transport can be distraction-free. There are no colleagues knocking at your door for all sorts of question. Nobody would expect you to answer emails while you are supposedly travelling. You can just turn your data off, put your headphones on and keep your head down to brainstorm the next great idea. Don’t forget to take notes because “your mind is for having ideas, not holding them” (David Allen).

Evernote (free) is a great tool for jotting down thoughts and organising them into lists. You can also tag notes, attach links and upload photos. It’s easy to share your notes with others via emails, even if they don’t use the app themselves. The app also have a recording feature, especially for the ones who think and speak much faster than type.

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If you happen to hate transcribing or are simply too busy to do it, try Dragon Dictation – a free voice transcription app that turns your thoughts into written notes.

6. Enjoy a good book

Check out Audible, seriously! They offer 30-day free trial for new users. You can also choose a free book in 180,000 audio titles. Besides, some narrators are so good that they give new life to the story.

If you prefer reading, bring a paper book with you at all times. Want to travel light? Then get a Kindle or even a Kindle app for your smart phone (iOS version vs. Android version).

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7. Play games to train your brain

It is the end of the day and you travel back home after a long day at work. I can understand if you don’t want to read any more news and if you feel too tired to learn new words or phrases in a foreign language. However, sitting still and doing nothing might just be the way to give yourself up to complete tiresomeness. Try to keep your brain active with mind-engaging, fun games from Lumosity.

I hope these tips will help you be more productive and grow with your commute. However, don’t force yourself to be on all the time. It is just not possible. Let yourself have some off days when you can sit back, take a deep breath and enjoy the ride.

Featured photo credit: Eutah Mizushima via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on September 17, 2018

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

How bad really is multitasking?

It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

So what to do about it?

Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

Now, forget about how to multitask!

Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

1. Get enough rest

When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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2. Plan your day

When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

4. When at your desk, do work

We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

5. Learn to say no

Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

6. Turn off notifications on your computer

For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

The bottom line

Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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