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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

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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