7 Minute Read

Zen and Multi-tasking

[dropcap]I’ve[/dropcap] written in the past about multi-tasking. About how I did, and then didn’t, think it could actually be done. But recently, I have come to realize that multi-tasking can be the busy CEO’s best friend when done properly. If you combine one or two boring or repetitive tasks, multi-tasking can be a boon to time-starved workers, in life and at work!

I started writing down the times where I was multi-tasking and decided to share them with you (maybe they’ll help save you valuable minutes or even hours, per day!) The time saved is derived from me doing each of the activities separately and subtracting the time combining takes.


1) Cruise Facebook while drinking morning coffee and go through RSS posts. While this isn’t exactly groundbreaking, it does combine two tasks where my mind doesn’t exactly have to be in tip-top shape. It fulfills two crucial daily intake needs: social and caffeine! Time saved: 30 minutes…easy.


2) Watch TV, email and workout. According to about 1000 infographics, watching TV makes you fat, evil and doomed to failure. But TV is fabulous, so I decided to combine TV watching with exercise, which lots of experts believe is good for you. Throwing on an episode of Jon Stewart or Scandal has the added benefit of commercial breaks where I can respond to emails and clean my inbox, without having to pull from “at-work” time. Time saved: 1 hour.


3) Swishing coconut oil while meditating. The benefits of meditating are myriad. Taking the time to center oneself before heading out into the wild world of crazytown that is my life, is PARAMOUNT. But it also takes time that I feel like I don’t have. Oil pulling works for me. It makes my teeth whiter, clears up my skin and gives me a feeling of satiety early in the AM. By doing both at the same time, I give myself something to think about “don’t swallow!!” and a reason to just….sit. Time saved: 15 minutes. Learn more about the health benefits of coconut oil.


4) Dishes and podcasts/webinars. I don’t hate doing the dishes but it can be a time suck. Three meals at home, plus an office, three boys and my husband and myself makes for at least three loads in the dishwasher every day. On the other hand, I find myself missing the days when I used to be able to learn ad nauseum about things that I don’t know (shocking right?) Calls don’t work unless I put myself of mute, but podcasts can’t hear the silverware clattering. I get my leadership and learning fix in the time it takes to get my glasses shiny and bright. Time saved: 25 minutes.


5) Cleaning the shower while waiting for my stupid conditioner to settle. I looked at my very expensive bottle of conditioner today and it said to “leave conditioner in for 10-20 minutes” are you freaking serious? That is nuts. There are a lot of ways you can spend 10 minutes in the shower, from hair removal to face masks but since the shower was looking a little gross, I decided to clean that baby! Within ten minutes, I had shiny hair AND a shiny shower. Time saved: none, since I can’t remember the last time I cleaned my shower. Other housecleaning hacks.


6) Clean folders/size pictures while on conference calls. I used to spend my calls taking notes, but that didn’t always work (mainly because I am a doodler). By using a call recording solution, I can now do NON-text based tasks that while important are a little monotonous. I can focus on what people are saying and knock out a series of pictures that would have taken a whole extra block of time. Time saved: 2 hours per week.


7) Social plus writing. Many times, I will write an article and be linking to an amazing post and simply click to share on social at the same time. It not only gives an atta boy to the writer but it shows my readers that I actually read the things I link to, and since I consider social streams a reflection of opinions (inferred or otherwise) I think it displays continuity between my writing and reading. Time saved: maybe 12 minutes a week.


8) Calls, homework and carpooling. It might be difficult to do this with very small kids but we spend about 2-3 hours in the car DAILY (when school is in). If we don’t use that time well, we may as well cut out 69 full work days (365 days per year – 90 days for summer x 2 hours per day / 8 hour workday) out of our productivity matrix. So I take calls whenever possible in the car (since email and text based projects are out, drive safe!) and the boys use the time for reading and homework (flash cards, iPads, books, quizzing each other) so we can spend home time together!! Time saved: 69 days a year!


Of course, most working folks, parents or otherwise, have their own little tricks or lifehacks. What are your favorites?