Pairing tasks which require mental concentration with those that I could do while semi-conscious is the only effective form of multitasking that I can do.
I’ve tried doing it the “grown up way” (i.e., several things at once without regard to what I’m about to share with you) but I didn’t get more tasks actually done, I just got more tasks started.
But…when I would pair elements effectively I got much more started and done.
One of My Favorite Pairings
Of tasks, which I also like to use often for illustration purposes, is that of doing laundry while cooking.
This works great because cooking takes intermittent focus…stir the gravy, turn and baste the chicken, check on the rice, or stir the veggies. Most cooking doesn’t require constant attention but all cooking requires at least some.
Forget you’re cooking and (most times) you are in serious trouble.
Laundry, on the other hand, isn’t going to cause any disruptions in your life if it sits in the washer for a few minutes (not all night) until you can get to it.
Add to that the fact that many washers and every dryer I’ve ever seen have an alarm that tells you when the load is finished.
So it takes all of one minute to put the clothes in the washer, a minute or so to switch the load to the dryer, about 6 minutes to spread it all out on the bed (so they don’t crinkle until you can put them up) and anywhere up to 15 minutes to actually put them up…later if needed.
The point is that the most time-consuming part of doing laundry…the actual washing and drying…is done and got that way while you were already using that time for another task.
Another Awesome Pairing for Me
…that also involves laundry…is to put a load of clothes in the washer before I go walking so that when I get back they’re done and ready to go in the dryer.
Then, when I’m in the shower and sitting under the hairdryer they’re in the dryer and getting dry about the time I am (long shower and a little longer under the hairdryer than needed).
That’s because while I’m under the dryer I’m catching up on some reading that I do just because I want to. I’ve read the whole Left Behind series…13 books…while using small chunks of time like that. Right now I’m almost done with Where the Heart Is.
I’m an absolute bookworm with a very nice sized library and I make sure that my reading is guilt-free by doing it in small chunks instead of hour after hour cuddled with a book.
Use Your Time Wisely
And you’ll have time to get done most of what you need to AND much of what you want to.
Now…go take back your Saturdays for yourself.
If you want any kind of success in college…you know, good grades, decent papers, taking exams and having most of your hair left…will require time management of this sort.
It’ll require totally rethinking about how and where you spend your time.
Want to learn more about time management while being a student? If so, then download my free ebook about Time Management and Students to get a jumpstart on a less stressful more productive life.