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Maximizing Time By MultiTasking Tasks More Wisely

not me, lol

I remember when I first tried to do multitasking, I got overwhelmed.

I think I was trying I update two different computer applications by inputting data in parallel; I was switching back and forth like a madman inputting data between them.  You see, back then it took a while for changes to happen to a document so after each saving; it would take a few seconds for the save to complete, giving me time to do a similar process on the other application.  I eventually got it done after a few boggled up sessions, and fixes…  I’ve learned from experience, that this isn’t the best type of multi-taking!!!

However, as I’m typing this, I’m actually doing two things at the same time!  I’m waiting in my car in the middle school parking lot for my son to get out of school on his first day back to school, and obviously, I’m also typing this post!

Yep, I’m multi-tasking the correct way!  Multitasking more than one task primarily works best when you have one or more task that don’t require much thinking, paired with only one task that requires you to focus on it a higher degree of attention.

So now that you know my belief around an optimal multitasking system…  You may also be wondering what other ways do I maximize time by multitasking more wisely?

Following are my favorite ways to multitask:

Listening to audio books while driving to work.  This enables me to optimize my driving time which previously would have been wasted time taken out of my life to drive to my place of employment!  My total commute time, both to and from work per day, averages about 1 hour and 15 minutes (on a normal day).  So that adds up to 6 hours & 15 minutes I was wasting per week doing nothing but driving mindlessly to work!

At first I tested the waters by listening to a CD I borrowed from the library while driving to work.  This worked out great!  Next I progressed to Stephen King novels, again this was successful!  Then I started listening to classic audio books that I would never listen to, famous novels like “Animal Farm” and “1984”.  I even listened to classics that I’ve never heard of before, such an example would be the Ray Bradbury book, “Fahrenheit 451”.

Listening to audio books while driving on vacation trips.  Now you may be wondering what the difference is between this and “Listening to audio books while driving to work”?  The difference is that listening to such books while driving on vacation trips keeps me awake and delays drowsiness! I’ve only listen to audio books that are very entertaining and exciting enough to keep me awake!

After my recent vacation, I used this technique to drive home at night.  Listening to “Insomnia”  (ironic huh) by Stephen King, kept me awake.  It was a real driving aid, because prior to listening to audio books on vacation trips, I would start to fall asleep after a few hours.  Plus I hated driving!

Now, with the help of a good audio book, I can honestly say that I enjoy the driving part of the trip too!  This was a huge win-win for me!!!

Reading books while waiting in offices.  Hate waiting for the doctor or dentist in the waiting room?  Read a book while waiting in the office!  I find good biographies (examples like Benjamin Franklin or Warren Buffett) really fill this void!  With a biography, the story is a bit drying and anticlimactic, and you can pick up the book weeks later and not miss a beat.

These are some of the ways that I maximize my time by multitasking…

What are your favorite example of tasks that you like to pair together when you multitask?

-MR

15 Responses to Maximizing Time By MultiTasking Tasks More Wisely

  1. You go back to school early! Or maybe Michigan just goes back late. Anyway…

    I love audiobooks. They are perfect for keeping you engaged while driving.

    I do so many tasks while sitting in my car, it really can be some of my most productive time. (Which is kinda sad…) I also take care of a lot of things while watching the Tiger games at night. Quite often, if I am chatting on the phone I empty the dishwasher or fold laundry. I rarely talk on the phone without cleaning something, unless it is a real important conversation.

  2. Great tips! Thanks for sharing. I’ve been finding it harder and harder to multitask.

    I brought my book The Intelligent Investor to my most recent road trip and got some good reading out of it (I just can’t find the time to read when I’m home- it’s terrible).

  3. @Everyday Tips
    I was surprised to see that the kids on Hilton Head were already in school, while we were on vacation. The Monday after we got back was the first day of school for my kids (so August 23)

    Hmmm, I’ll have to try the phone bit. Often time is seems that when I’m on the phone, I just sit down and gab! It makes sense that during the phone call is the perfect time to do something else though!

    Great tip! Thanks!

  4. @youngandthrifty
    I wish I could read while I rode in the car, but unfortunately, I get car sick when I do that. My son doesn’t have that problem! I view that as a great ability to have!

    I brought a book to read while on vacation and I didn’t get to read a word of it. My idea was to sit on the beach and read it while the kids were doing their thing on the beach. Didn’t happen though 🙁

  5. I seem to multi-task 80% of my day…I’m listening to an audio book right now – “Fantasy in Death” by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts homicide mysteries). I’m also updating one of my tickets at work (it’s loading right now).

    I also work on my blog while my husband and I watch tv at night.

    You are so right about audio books – it makes driving suck less! Mr. BFS lets me tell him what books I want to read/listen to next and downloads the audio books from the public library into my new Ipod Nano. I’ve “read” two books in 3 days and am starting the third right now.

    Maybe it’s a girl thing, but if I don’t have at least 2 or 3 things going on at once, I feel antsy…

  6. @Budgeting in the Fun Stuff
    Life is too short not to multitask to some degree. So many times I see people just waiting for something, such as waiting for the doctor. That’s wasted life! Why not try to do something that you find enjoyable or economical…

    “Insomnia” by Stephen King is a big book… I’m still listening to that audio book when I drive to work. It’s a great way to spend time while driving!

    I’ll throttle back to 1 thing at a time, but I do try to optimize when possible!

  7. I do quite a bit of multitasking too (out of necessity). I love my audio books as I have a very long commute. My only tip for multitasking is to plan. If I can plan my day well, I know when I will have to “wait” for certain things and how long. So I make sure to take a book with me or take a job with me, otherwise I will end up browsing mindlessly during the wait time and get nothing done.

  8. I have been a big fan of audiobooks for commutes as well. I previously had a long commute, and made a habit of getting great audiobooks from the local library. Now that I’m commuting again, I might mix some of these in again. Thanks for the reminder!

  9. @Squirrelers
    Yep, that’s the way to go! I’m still listening to “Insomnia” which I borrowed from the library 🙂

    There are other clever programs out there too. I know “The Cracker Barrel” has a decent exchange program where you pay a small nominal fee for a previously used one. Another program is free audio books online (although the readers aren’t pros).

  10. my favorite is when traveling for work, i open up several web browsers on my laptop to catch up on email or blgo posts / articles. i leave them on at home and put my laptop to sleep. when i hit the airport, during down time and while on the plane, i read them even w/o internet connection. i listen to podcasts/ books while driving and working out – i do get accused of being to intense sometimes – but i enjoy it. never a dull moment, never a wasted moment!

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