By Jolly Mokorosi
Scientists tell us that your ‘executive’ or ‘thinking’ brain (the prefrontal cortex) is not designed to do 2 thinking functions simultaneously. Eg. a complicated conversation on the phone and sending an email simultaneously. The result is normally not as supper productivity as we have been led to believe by the multitask hype brigade. A stop start approach to both tasks typically rendering a half baked job or experience as neither task got your proper attention. So is multitasking dead? No. Let me explain.*
My biggest client is a 45 minute one way trip from my house. On days when I have meetings with them they happen first thing in the morning. Audio books, podcasts of sermons and in particular the bible on CD have changed this trip for me. If you feel like you are not spending enough time with God, not keeping up with industry related reading or just plain not growing listening to uplifting content whilst on the road is a great solution. Traffic seems like such an unproductive waste of time. This way you can redeem some of that time. An added bonus for me is that I arrive at the meeting in the correct frame of mind, spirit uplifted and God’s words in my heart. I can claim the ground beneath every step I take with confidence.
I also watched a lecture series on Biblical government models during my midnight feeds with one of my children – this prevented me from falling asleep and dropping bottle and baby. This baby slept through all her feeds virtually without exception for her first 4 months on this planet. There was zero interaction. One night after hearing the thump of something hitting the ground during a feed but being too afraid to open my eyes and find out if I had dropped something or someone I decided I needed to do something.
By the next child I had purchased an iPad. The portable nature and functionality of my iPad made my maternity leave productive and it paid itself off very quickly those first few weeks when the baby spend much of their day asleep. Talking of tablets. There are some great reading apps that allow you to convert articles, reports into a format that can be read back to you on your tablet or smartphone. Hubby uses his time during his evening run to listen to reports and articles he didn’t get round to during the day thanks to soundgecko. Other audio options include podcasts. For about a year I used my phone to listen to French beginners podcasts during my morning walk. Michael Hyatt does some great leadership, business and christian principals conscious podcasts.
So the nugget here is to do two different tasks that need different parts of the brain to accomplish.
Not spending enough time with your hubby or children? Do stuff together that you need to get done but is fun to do. I like to involve my toddlers in planting new plants, watering and tidying up my garden. We not only get to spend some time together and get to keep a sane mommy, we also get stuff done and I am teaching them to appreciate nature and chores. Because we look after our garden we get enjoy it a little bit more. Hubby jokes that I garden because it is cheaper than therapy. I laugh but I don’t think he is far off from the truth.
Other tasks I do with my children and husband include going to races together, baking (I am currently teaching my toddlers – they are 2 and 3, about baking and this has been such a journey, big mess, lots of laughs), ballroom dancing and client functions. Yes, client functions. An advantage my husband and I share is that we have many common professional interests and prospects for business. Our professional areas have slowly converged and overlapped over the years. Sometimes this is made possible by increasing levels of seniority in the workspace. We are not 100% aligned but can talk shop and accompany each other to work functions without being clueless about the conversation topics with the other’s colleagues.
Hate waiting in line for anything? Or if you’re anything like me you sometimes dread going to the hairdresser or getting your nails sorted because it is a 3 hour commitment. iPad to the rescue. I have even studied for exams while getting my hair done. Earlier this year I read a whole book waiting to see the doctor in the emergency room. The key is being prepared. Traffic comes to a dead stop and no one can move for an hour? iPad again. I answer emails when I am waiting for clients who are running late. This has made me less hostile towards people who make me wait as I do not feel it is an entire waste of my time and I have achieved something.
Best of all if you are frustrated ask God how. You will be amazed now ideas will come to mind on how to stay sane and on top of your time.
*Tip adapted from Being productive: Learning how do get more done with less effort by Chris Crouch.
How are you taking back time using a similar strategy? Leave a comment below.