Normally, I write about practical programming on Dev.to, but today, I want to share some life hacks for boosting productivity.
Do you ever feel like there's never enough time in your busy day, juggling work, study, family, and friends? Especially for developers, keeping up with new technologies while managing studies, work, and personal projects can be quite hectic.
Personally, I enjoy increasing my productivity by making the most of my time, like tackling tasks and absorbing information during my commute. If you're reading this, you might be thinking along the same lines. In this article, I'll share what works for me.
The life hacks I'll be discussing mostly involve using your smartphone. The reason is, currently, I heavily rely on public transportation like buses and trains, making it easy to use my smartphone during commutes. Plus, these commutes often take a decent amount of time (usually over 30 minutes one way), allowing me to use my smartphone for a good stretch.
I understand that some of you might commute by car, bicycle, or on foot, so these strategies might not directly apply. However, if you're curious, I invite you to give this article a read.
When you have research tasks for work or personal matters, ChatGPT is convenient. While you can also use Google for searches, doing so on a smartphone can be time-consuming. Personally, I feel that whether using ChatGPT on a PC at home or on a smartphone, the time and performance to reach the answers don't differ much. Utilize ChatGPT to easily ask questions and explore topics during your commute. It's more convenient than Google and provides quick access to the information you need.
Compile the information you've researched in a note-taking app that can sync with your PC. It's also a good idea to organize and finalize the information using your PC at home.
If you have a bit of time during your commute, take advantage of ChatGPT to finish your research before reaching your destination.
In my case, I use Codecademy for programming learning, Anki (where I've created cards for things I want to remember), and Duolingo for language learning. Interestingly, learning through these apps tends to feel a bit cumbersome when I'm at home sitting in a chair. However, when waiting for a bus or using public transportation, I find myself wanting to engage with them (probably due to habit).
These apps are just examples. If you have other learning apps you'd like to try, why not give them a shot during your commuting time?
While there's no scientific basis (this is my personal perspective), I feel that when humans are moving outside, the body is in motion and often standing, creating a sense that blood flow to the brain is better compared to when working seated at home.
Due to this, there seems to be a slight enhancement in mental clarity, making research and learning more effective. Though I don't use one myself, people who use standing desks might be expecting similar benefits.
At the very least, since we don't spend the entire day in commute, establishing a habit of incorporating such periods, with moderate movement, can yield positive effects, including a change in mood, in my opinion.
Let's use the smartphone to input information through your ears. By downloading podcasts, you can enjoy various audio content. I personally listen to my favorite news programs and influencer podcasts during my commute.
I also recommend audiobooks, such as those available on Amazon's Audible. I used to believe that reading should be done with physical or electronic books, but after trying audiobooks, I found them quite enjoyable. Both books and audiobooks have their pros and cons, but when enjoying audiobooks outdoors, the gained knowledge tends to stick in your memory (I think of it as creating a visual memory), and it's perfect for multitasking (which aligns with the essence of this blog post!). The drawbacks include taking longer to finish compared to traditional books and the difficulty of taking notes while reading. However, I personally highly recommend this type of content.
Furthermore, these options have the advantage of being executable without looking at the smartphone screen, making them easy to use while walking or engaging in other activities.
During your commute, if you come across researched information, sudden thoughts, or new ideas, make sure to jot them down before you forget.
If you're a Mac user, the default Notes app is highly recommended due to its fast synchronization and user-friendly simplicity. Additionally, among my personal favorite note-taking apps are Logseq, Notion, Evernote, Taskuma, etc. (I often leave notes in one of these).
This way, you can efficiently capture and organize your thoughts on the go.
During commuting, having access to your online service accounts from your smartphone is essential. Many services can be used seamlessly once you log in, but dealing with authentication settings can be a hassle, especially when starting with a new service or logging out and back in.
Using LastPass for cross-device password management can streamline workflows between your PC and smart devices, making the process much more convenient. While the free version limit the use across multiple devices (as of November 2023), the cost for premium features is reasonable. If you regularly use the same account across various devices, it's worth considering LastPass for smoother access and security.
Incorporate these life hacks to make your commuting time more meaningful. Each suggestion is practical and easy to implement. Most importantly, adopting these new habits may positively impact your daily routine!
I hope this article has been helpful to you :)
Thank you for reading!