Ok…so this story all starts with my desire to get better at multi-tasking. There are so many things that I am trying to squeeze into my days, I’m always looking for ways that I can kill two birds with one stone by mastering effective multi-tasking.
Now, I realise in a world where most of us are trying to slow down…to focus…to be mindful…trying to master multi-tasking is probably not my best bet. But sometimes I feel like I am forced into this corner in order to get everything done that I need to. But I’m pretty crap at it. Infact, probably most of us are. The amount of times I have been caught out on a teleconference, because I was trying to type an email and thus stopped listening. Or when my husband is talking to me and I’m trying to watch TV at the same time, then realise I haven’t heard a word that he said.
However, I have found little sneaky ways of multi-tasking, that works really well for me. I think the formula is to combine two tasks, one that requires your brain, and one that requires no brain contribution. For example, if I paint my nails while I am listening to a teleconference, I actually find that I focus more intently on what people are saying because focusing on the mind numbing task of nail painting is helping me to focus. Or even better, unpacking the dishwasher and wiping down the kitchen while I listen (this doesn’t work if you need to actually talk on the teleconference).
In the mornings before school, I used to like watching the morning shows to keep a finger on the pulse of what was going on. But I realised it was taking my attention away from getting all the other morning tasks done…plus the children have a tendency to be drawn to the TV in some kind of weird trance and thus, they are also not getting ready. So I switched over to turning the radio on. Bang, i can keep updated with what is going on, and keep my hands (and eyes!) free for packing lunches, eating breakfasts and rounding up children.
And so through this little exploration of multi-tasking, I uncovered Podcasts. I know I am pretty late to this party. We use podcasts quite a bit at work but I have never really “got it”. I had a tendency to try to listen to podcasts and do work at the same time (two brain tasks in conjunction…fail). So I was playing with my iPhone and realised I have a podcast app and randomly decided to download something to listen to while i took the dog for a walk. I started with MamaMia outloud, I realised how much more enjoyable my usual trip around the block was, whilst listening to people chat about the latest current affairs and gossip. They then recommended a podcast they were obsessed with called “StartUp“…which I also downloaded, and this is where I started to get obsessed. I don’t work in a start up and I have no plans to open a start up, but the story is so fascinating, I’m hooked. He recommends another podcast called “Serial”…also amazing. How I have not discovered this before. I download more podcasts that are about the work I do in Social Media. I start listening while I do my exercise. I listen on my walks. I listen while I cook. And it is made all the more satisfying because I feel like I am ticking boxes (and I LOVE ticking boxes).
I guess a lot of people uncover this medium because they have long commutes to work, so being able to listen to something while you drive or are on the bus, helps pass the time. Since I a do not usually have a daily commute, I have not had that challenge. Although I did drive into the office the other day and found myself hoping for a traffic jam , so I had time to finish the rest of the story!!
Now I’ve uncovered this world, I have realised there are also lots of books for work that I have been meaning to read but haven’t gotten around to. And I realise that I could download audio versions and listen while I do other mundane tasks. Awesome.
I understand and know that I need to work on finding space in my day for simply doing one task with focus, or doing nothing at all. But I also love it when I find ways to multi-task, squeezing more satisfying moments into one of my jam packed days.
Go on…download a podcast…I know you want to…
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