3 ways I found 2 extra hours in a Saturday afternoon…
Wikipedia defines Human Multitasking (as opposed to computers) as: an apparent human ability to perform more than one task, or activity, over a short period of time.
Warning: Multi-tasking is not a talent of mine and it is certainly not for everyone! Even Wikipedia warns of this: “Multitasking can result in time wasted due to human context switching and apparently causing more errors due to insufficient attention.” (Wikipedia.com) I know lots of women argue that women are natural multitaskers and men cannot do it, but honestly in my house it could not be more opposite. My husband can be on an extremely important conference call while driving through a big city and arrive at an appointment early… all the while contributing to his team on the call and making crucial decisions – and retain all the info! Me? I have to turn the radio down when trying to read a street sign while driving for the love of God!
Wikipedia also acknowledges some people can be trained to multitask “studies have shown that some people can be trained to multitask where changes in brain activity have been measured as improving performance of multiple tasks.” I am actually so proud to have found ways that I can indeed multitask, in my own productive way, and accomplish great and necessary things – so proud in fact that I am sharing a few here.
Currently, I am writing a book, managing a worldwide rare eye disease organization, raising three children (two of which are blind), and growing my speaking career. Lots of balls in the air and not a split second of extra time to spare. I did, however, find an extra 2 hours in my Saturday afternoon recently. Here’s how:
I mentioned I am writing a book. While the book is a compilation of interviews from successful (and incredibly cool) blind adults, I do need to do quite a bit of research to correlate the lessons they convey to the goals for the book. I also have to learn all I can about book publishing, marketing etc. There is a plethora of relevant information in books and on the internet, but I don’t have any extra minutes to sort through it all. In addition to all of my current projects, I like to workout every single day. My solution: I listen to relevant podcasts while running and/or riding my bike. Interestingly enough, I actually cannot listen to podcasts while weightlifting. I cannot keep track of the number of reps in weightlifting exercises and retain the podcast information. Sounds ridiculous, I know, but I am just not wired for it. Running, however, bores me to death… so the key info in a podcast brilliantly stimulates my brain for miles! After my 30 minute run last Saturday I had an incredible resource to link one of my featured success stories in the book to a very similar story of a famous sighted person. BOOM! (You’ll have to read the book to find out who it is and how there is a connection!)
- Laundry Learner – 60 minutes gained
Laundry – I don’t need Wikipedia to define it for me. To me, laundry is the single best way to make me feel overwhelmed and inadequate. I mean, the piles just never go away! I have tried folding laundry in the evening while sipping wine and watching a tv show, but I cannot enjoy the wine or the show while folding shirt after shirt after shirt… Nonetheless, the job I hate most is the one that just won’t go away. I had to face it last Saturday because I was having trouble seeing over the piles of it in my bedroom. I needed something to entertain or enlighten me while attacking it all. As luck would have it, a wonderful woman in my networking group, Esther Hughes of Center for Elite Women Communicators, had recently published a webinar about tips for getting a book written… and I had not yet found the time to sit and watch it. I promptly pulled up the webinar on my iPad and followed along while tackling the mountain of laundry in my bedroom. By the end of the 60 minutes, I had created a simple, easy to manage strategy for getting the book done this summer AND all of the laundry was folded and put away! BOOM!
- Twitter Smarter & Cleaner – 30 minutes gained
It turns out there is a job I do not mind doing on a Saturday when everyone is out at activities: mopping the floors. I said I don’t mind it… I did not say I love it or even like it. (Sidebar: I do, however, LOVE the shine of clean floors when I am finished!) Many times I will put on a goofy tv show while I mop but that never works out – I tend to find myself stopping to watch instead of getting the floors all shined up. On this certain Saturday, I was also hoping to read up on how to use Twitter in better ways to grow my audience for my speaking “stuff” and the upcoming book. Enter one of my fav Twitter tip guru’s, Madalyn Sklar. Madalyn produces a great podcast called “Twitter Smarter” and oddly enough, while I listen to her very easy to follow and incredibly easy to initiate tips, it feels like she is sitting in my kitchen chatting with me! I opened my iPad notes app on the kitchen island and jotted stuff down while I mopped. I even logged right on to my Twitter account and put some of the tips into practice – for example, I spent 3 minutes looking at the “Who To Follow” list and BOOM – I had 5 new followers by the time my floors were done, and the followers kept on coming long after the floors were dry!
Like I said, multi-tasking had never been a talent of mine until I found a way to make it work for me. If you see me out running, or notice my clothes aren’t wrinkled, or stop over and see my shiny floors, ask me what I have learned recently… chances are it’ll be great stuff! And PLEASE, Tweet me some of your favorite podcasts and webinars! @KristinSmedley