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Catch Public Transport! A Hidden Gem for Heightened Productivity

Catch Public Transport! A Hidden Gem for Heightened Productivity

Something amazing has happened to me recently: my productivity has gone through the roof! I’ve been able to get so much more done this year in a much shorter time frame than I have ever experienced before. Even more beautiful, I have rediscovered my love for some things that I had previously neglected and have incorporated them back into my life.

So, what has actually changed in my life?

I now catch public transport.

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The Opportunity to Get More Done

Most people I know speak poorly of public transport systems (and heck, I was one of them!). There are long delays, crowded services, and when they’re quite expensive to catch, what is there to like about it? Yet my perception of public transport has been flipped: I now love it. I see it as an opportunity; an opportunity to get things done that I wouldn’t normally be able to get done!

To make a living for the past 6 years I have had to drive to the locations where I needed to be. Driving is great—it’s relaxing, I can listen to music, and it’s fast. However, it also means I’m not really productive during this time, and when and hour is spent driving to and from a destination, it really does become a waste of time.

Now I catch public transport to where I need to go. I made the conscious decision to do this as it dawned on me that it is actually the perfect opportunity to get more done.

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Reading is Not Just Reading

Public transport has enabled me to focus my time on some of things I have previously neglected. In previous years, I would read about 2 books a year (if that). Now, we are about 9 weeks into the new year and I have already read 5 books!

Rediscovering my passion for reading has helped motivate me to do more of the things I want to do. I am currently reading Richard Branson’s Let’s Not Screw It, Let’s Just Do It and it’s phenomenal just how motivating a book can be. Just reading this book switches my brain on and gets me to start taking more life-changing action. So, not only am I being more productive on public transport, I’m also seeing longer-term effects stem from it that span into other areas of my life.

Get Your Work Done

…like writing this post. Previously I would write all my articles at home in the comfort of my study. This can tend to have a more relaxing effect on me, where I can also get distracted easy. Now that I am on public transport, I also write my articles here. With time pressures (about 20 minutes to most venues), I think fast and get my fingers working as I try to get through as much as possible. I wrote about 400 words of this post in one 20-minute trip (this article is approximately 600 words long).

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I’ve also found that it’s also a great way to quickly catch up on emails prior to getting to work for the day. Utilising my blackberry, I can quickly and easily bring myself back up to speed prior to the day’s events.

The Added Bonus

I’ve only been taking public transport for about 2 months, but I can say that I’m absolutely loving it. The added bonus is that I am actually saving a significant amount of money by not driving my car (costs for tolls and petrol add up pretty fast!).

This is just the beginning of something great. I can feel it. I hope you can start making the most of the environment around you to become more productive, and I look forward to you joining me in what is going to be an amazing year.

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Brendan

More by this author

Brendan Baker

Brendan helps people who feel stuck doing work they don't like start to make a difference and an income doing what they love.

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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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