The Old Consensus
Was that if you were a multitasker you were a super-efficient individual who could do 23 things at one time with one arm tied behind your back and a baby clinging to one leg.
I used to hear about all that multitaskers could do and think to myself that that’s what I wanted to be when I grew up.
So I Grew Up
And was I a multitasker? At times. Sometimes it worked…sometimes it didn’t. I couldn’t really pinpoint why, though.
My Success Was Sporadic at Best
And it seemed, for me at least, that trying to do more than one thing at a time actually made it harder.
I mean…come on…I already had enough trouble paying attention to just one thing and then to add another thing on top of that…well, it just seemed downright stupid.
It also made it highly likely that both things would get take a lot longer, get done half-way or at least cause double the stress.
Then I Found Out Why
It turned out that there is actually a correct way to multitask and I was doing it (oh so!) wrong. That’s why, instead of it increasing my productivity, it actually decreased it.
So (Yippee!) no more feeling like a total abject failure…like I couldn’t do what it seemed like everyone else in the world could do.
Let me rephrase that, many people I personally knew struggled with not being able to accomplish what the people in the magazines and on TV could do (like the ever-elusive multitasking), but I had thought it was just us (collectively)…the people in my close-knit group.
We just had to figure out the correct way which was…
The New Consensus
I found is that multitasking works best if you combine tasks with varying mental requirements. In other words a task that requires more focus or concentration combined with one which requires little, if any, mental energy.
That way your focus and attention are not evenly distributed.
One (very popular) example is listening to self-help CDs in the car on your way home from work.
Another is exercising while listening to your ipod.
When I began walking a year and a half ago I combined that with just relaxing my mind. I would intend (intend being the operative word) to solve some problem or figure out how to accomplish a certain thing but would find my mind wandering to the how beautiful the butterflies were or how a particular flower was blooming.
I couldn’t concentrate to save my life…so I didn’t. I just let that be my wind-down time.
At This Stage in My Life
I may catch up on missed sermons from my church while I’m walking or listen to an educational mp3.
Talk about multitasking.
The point is to take what could be wasted…or, shall we say, underutilized…time and put it to good use.
Learning time management skills such as these is imperative if you are going to be successful at being a student as you’re going to have to find time to do all the things that students are required to do…study, take exams, research.
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.