Familiar with articles about productivity hacks?
You know, the ones that say something along the lines of The 5 Hacks You Need to Maximize Productivity. Well, those articles are definitely not a stranger to me – practically my breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Like you – we’re swamped with work every single day especially since our ThinkTransit conference is less than two months away! With that and other major projects on the go, there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to move the needle. On the flip side, we’re obsessed with new ideas and improving our processes. Luckily, I’ve tested out several productivity hacks, so you don’t have to. Time to go cherry picking!
Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time
We often hear tips on how we can have better time management so the first time I stumbled upon this article that suggested to manage our energy instead of our time, I was intrigued. Essentially, you would need to break down your tasks on hand to the following three categories as specified by the author: “Type A, Type B, and Type C. Type A activities are ones you do and feel energized. Type B activities neither give nor take energy—like sitting on the couch watching TV. Type C activities drain you of energy—you get tired even thinking about doing them.”
Verdict: Overall, I found it useful to switch between the different activities type when I need to shift my energy level. However, it’s subjective regarding what would be categorized into each type of activities, and it also takes a lot of time. No doubt it’s an extra step on top of your daily responsibilities. But once you get used to the system, it does get faster. 5/10
See the Bigger Picture When You Have Multiple Projects
It’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed when you’re given the responsibility to handle multiple projects simultaneously. It also doesn’t help when all the associated tasks feel as if they deserve to be the highest priority. This Harvard Business Review article delineates the situation above and came up with a few tips and tricks that followed the themes of “prioritizing and sequencing your work,” “setting and communicating expectations,” and “optimizing your development.”
Verdict: I adapted one of the hacks that was mentioned a bit. I get the bigger picture for my projects with my manager during our weekly connect meetings, so I have a better understanding of where each stand and what milestones need to be hit. This works from time to time, but I find that it’s equally important to ensure that you’re fully focused on executing a core task that will move the project forward. 6/10
Do Things at Your Most Productive Time(s)
Often we hear that we need to wake up at 5 AM to get an early start on our day and get more things done. But are you an early bird or a night owl? Your answer affects when you’re most productive. In this Inc. article, it highlights that it’s up to the individual to choose when they’re most productive instead of following what others claim to be the best times.
Verdict: I float between early bird and night owl, but on most days I prefer to get work done in the morning and meetings in the afternoon. I’d also work a bit more at night time since that’s my second wave of productivity time. If you’re able to structure your days around your optimal productivity time and get in that habit, then this is a pretty useful hack. 7/10
Clean Space, Clean Mind
Our days can easily get quite hectic so when this article popped up and told me about the nine different hacks that I can try to stay focused, I hopped on it. One of them was setting aside five minutes to declutter your physical area and your laptop.
Verdict: My workspace usually looks like no one works there, so there isn’t much to declutter. But it’s a different story when it comes to my laptop – many tabs opened within browsers, too many files to count on the desktop screen, and a bunch of virtual post-it notes. I make a point to clean things up when I no longer feel like I’m in that productive zone. It works like magic. Or maybe I just like everything around me to be organized and clean. 9/10
Leave Zero Free Time Slots on Your Calendar
This would have to be my favorite hack. The author of this article calls it the “zero-based calendar” in which you log everything you need to do in your calendar – to the point where there are no free time slots. It forces you to complete those tasks or activities during the designated time – and that means you’re less vulnerable to distractions in this noisy world of ours. (Although, it might not always be possible for transit professionals like you. The fundamental concept is to learn how to better prioritize all the time slots you have in your day so when you sleep you know that your day was productive and fulfilling.)
Verdict: I adapted this productivity tip a bit and applied it to the time slots at work. I must say this is the one that has worked really well so far and has helped to meet deadlines – at times even get ahead in projects. It also gives a sense of satisfaction when I can delete time slots from my calendar once I’m done with the task. Just like how you check off items on your to-do list. 11/10
Psst…we hope this has been an informative post so far and to show our appreciation for making it through till here; we have a surprise to share near the end of this post. Stick around till then!
Now that you have more hours added back to your day that means you’re able to attend the ThinkTransit conference, happening on June 3 – 6, right? Also, wouldn’t you want to share your own adapted version of these productivity hacks with your peers at the conference?
I know what you might be thinking. Yes, I have the time now, but how can I make the case to attend? Well, we got you covered.
Share Your Knowledge with Your Peers
We just passed on our tips in maximizing productivity with you. I’m sure you have tips, advice, transit knowledge, and more to share with our attendees. It could be about how your agency is dealing with certain issues and challenges that the transit industry is facing. In the past, our attendees have enjoyed the sessions led by transit professionals like you and built connections that they can discuss challenges with long after the conference was over.
As a token of appreciation, all customer speakers receive complimentary registration for the conference, (contact us here for more information). And don’t worry we can work with you to help further develop your presentation.
Is Public Speaking Not Your Forte?
That’s okay. We’ve prepared a comprehensive justification letter that you can send to your manager electronically. You’ll just need to fill out a few fields (some of them are as easy as “insert your name” so it shouldn’t take you too long) and press send!
Time. Justifications. What else might be a challenge to attend ThinkTransit? Perhaps you think most user conferences in the transit industry are the same.
So What Differentiates ThinkTransit?
I’ll keep this short and sweet. We have...
- An unparalleled line up for keynotes – Steve Bland, the CEO of Nashville MTA, and Jim Carroll, a leading global futurist, trends, and innovation expert
- 30+ transit professionals – sharing their insights and wealth of transit knowledge with you
- CEO roundtable – North American transit executives sharing their exclusive insights on the industry, unfiltered and unplugged
- ThinkTransit Awards of Excellence – 5 categories and an impressive prize package for each category (did I mention if you win the community building award, part of the package is a free ticket to the next ThinkTransit conference?)
- Themed Closing Reception – it’s country stars this year so dress up and get ready to belt out some country tunes
And…we leave the best to last. You heard it here first – there will be an autonomous vehicle for you try out at the conference venue. How’s that for being ahead of the times?
So you made it to the end! The ThinkTransit early bird rate expired in late March but since you’re here, we’ll work some magic. Email us here, say that you read through this blog post, and we’ll go from there.
BONUS: See What ThinkTransit Was Like in 2017
Michelle Hsu is the Marketing Engagement Coordinator at Trapeze Group where she focuses on content, social media, and marketing operations. She's worked for B2B and B2C startups in various sectors - FinTech, EdTech, and CSR. She recently graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce from the Rotman Commerce program at the University of Toronto.