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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 March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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