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Catch Public Transport! A Hidden Gem for Heightened Productivity

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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 October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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