Time management. It’s one of those incredibly handy skills we think we have until life proves otherwise. I don’t think I realized how poorly I was managing my time until last year during Everyday May. I knew that when I was choosing between a shower and the gym, something had to give. The flip side to this is multi-tasking. When it comes to getting it all done, it makes since to be as efficient as possible with your time. Maybe this looks like listening to an audiobook* in the car, shower or while doing your makeup. Pretty much a staple in my morning. Or it might mean answering emails or calling your best while you’re walking on the treadmill.
Multi-tasking can be a great thing. It gives us the ability to get more stuff done while also being smarter with our time. And since we can’t exactly create more time yet, it’s a great skill. But you know if someone found Hermione’s time turner and wanted to send it my way, I wouldn’t be mad about it.
It’s taken me years to learn how to actually make multi-tasking work for me without inevitably creating more work for myself. I recently heard Lauryn from The Skinny Confidential call it passive multi-tasking. Definitely a term I can get behind. Nevertheless, there are smart ways to multi-task, make the most of your time and be one step closer to your goals. So today I’m going to share a few things I’ve learned the hard way about multi-tasking. I hope these tips can help you be an even more efficient boss babe and smash out all of the things on your todo list!
A little disclaimer for all of these, yes you can do most of them at the same time. We’re all adults here. I don’t think I need to tell you not to text and drive or watch snapchat and drive. Common sense is required. But the do’s & don’ts are meant as a reminder that doing these things at the together isn’t always time efficient. Am I always perfect about avoiding the don’ts of multi-tasking? No. If I have the time and freedom, I’ll happily cook with Netflix on. However, when I need to get things done, there are tweaks I know make a difference. And this list is my tweaks.
Do: Mix Shower Time or Car Time With Audiobooks
Over the last few months, my reading time as gone down significantly. If it’s a fiction book, I don’t like to start and stop. So those tend to wait until I have a true chunk of time to read. And as far as non-fiction goes, well I just haven’t made it a priority. Enter: my morning audiobook time*. Audiobooks are amazing for multi-tasking. Granted, you need an engaging speaker and they take longer to read than the hard back version. But I find that I catch far more when I’m listening to a book vs reading it these days.
I have an audible subscription* that is getting more love than lately. Now instead of thinking I’ll never hit my yearly reading goal on Goodreads, I’m chipping away slowly. When I’m in the car, shower or getting ready in the morning, there’s typically some audiobook or podcast playing. My hands are still free and I can concentrate on doing my makeup or washing my hair without a visual distraction. Plus, it means I can continue to learn and engage my brain. It’s a win win for me on the multi-tasking scale!
Don’t: Mix Netflix With Writing
This is a sneaky habit in my life that I have to keep in check when it creeps in. As someone who works from home, I have a tendency to roam the house. I’ll work at my desk, the chair in my bedroom and more often than not, our den. It’s the quietest room in the house and let’s me really spread out. Now, if I have my fave headphones* on with ocean waves playing in the background, I’m golden. I’ve now created a place of tranquility and can work anywhere. But if I’ve turned on a movie or a video, I’m now officially distracted.
Am I perfect at this one? Heck no. There are days where I need an hour of slower paced work and will 100% watch Avengers for the millionth time while working. However, I also know that I can’t concentrate on two sets of words at once. Eventually, I’m either going to have to pause what I’m watching to finish my thought or mute it. Nevertheless, my ability to give my all to both things at the same time just doesn’t happen.
If you’re trying to create sentences while listening to someone else speak, your brain is only really going to be able to process one of those at a time. Yes, I love the Shawarma bit at the end of Avengers 1. But if I start talking about shawarma when I’m supposed to be telling you about clean beauty and don’t realize it for 10 minutes, I now have to start all over again. In the rules of multi-tasking, don’t mix words with words. Or on this Savvy list, skip the Netflix when you’re writing. Trust me.
DO: MIX EMAILS & PHONE CALLS WITH WALKING
I’m a treadmill walker through and through. Why? Because I love to be efficient and Florida’s weather is unpredictable. But mostly the time bit. If you spot me in the gym in the morning, you’ll notice two things. Firstly, we are both up early and are probably morning people. Secondly, I’m using my phone in some way.
At the ripe old age of 28, I finally consider myself skilled enough to more than one thing while walking. However, multi-tasking while walking can be dangerous if you aren’t essentially blocked into your own lane and controlling the speed. So let’s be careful of the sidewalks and not knock old ladies over while texting, shall we?
For me, treadmill time is typically Youtube time. I don’t often spend longer than 10-15 minutes warming up on the treadmill. Plus I like to start my day in my own bubble so the phone calls and emails are less rare. But this is the perfect time to do both. If you’re walking outside and feel sociable, call a friend. Maybe you need to answer emails but also need a break from sitting. Hop on the treadmill. Sometimes living a healthy lifestyle means getting active in whatever ways fit with your life. And if walking while you talk is what gets you moving, then by all means walk sister!
DON’T: MIX TEXTING WITH DINNER CONVERSATIONS
I distinctly remember a convo with an ex years ago about texting while I was at a party. It was a new relationship and I was still in that wanting to talk all the time phase. Oh sweet, naive little Savvy. I was home from college for Christmas and attending a party some friends were throwing. While there, I was also trying to keep up with my convo with him and chat with all my friends. He called me out on it, rightfully, and I ended up stashing my phone away for the night. Or at least I hope I did. But I probably didn’t so let’s just give young Savvy some credit, okay?
Trust me when I say: I’m glued to my phone most of the day. I know what it’s like to have people and things vying for your attention. With the exception of my nighttime routine and sleeping with my phone across the room, it’s rarely more than 5 feet from my side. But if I’m sitting at dinner with my friend, then I want to make sure I’m actually at dinner with my friend. I want to hear about her crazy adventures or recent date flop. I want her to get the best of me and my energy in that moment. If I’m multi-tasking trying to answer instagram, twitter and texts, no one is getting my best.
If it’s urgent and needs your attention, then be intentional about saying, “Hey, I need to handle this quickly.” Then handle it and put your phone down. Those epic friendships and relationships only happen when you show up intentionally. So whether it’s for 15 minutes or 2 hours, be fully present. Make the most of the time. And stop prioritizing your phone over your friends. Too harsh?
DO: MIX CLEANING WITH PODCASTS
Let me get real honest here: I hate doing the dishes. Ask me to cook. I’m your girl. Ask me to wash clothes. I’m down. It might take me a few days to actually put them up but I like the washing part. However, I’m not a girl who loves doing dishes. And when you live in an older house with a dishwasher that needs upgraded, sometimes you’ve just gotta suck it up.
I’m not the most consistent podcast listener. There’s so many out there these days that I tend to pop in and out of shows. But if I’m between audiobooks or just in the mood for something different, they are perfect for cleaning. I don’t have to look at anything or find myself visually distracted when I need to be cleaning a knife. Plus they are a great length for tasks that don’t take forever so I actually get to finish the full episode. I’m a big fan of finding the little wins in life. And finishing the dishes and an episode of Unqualified all at once definitely brings me joy!
DON’T MIX: YOUTUBE WITH COOKING OR DOING YOUR MAKEUP
This is definitely one of those don’ts on the multi-tasking list I break a few times a week when I can make it work. But if I’m in a time crunch, this multi-tasking habit is quick to go. Yes, I love catching up on Youtube while doing my makeup on Sunday mornings. Particular, The Anna Edit. Or if I’m watching a new show, playing it while cooking. Unfortunately, both cooking and Youtube require my visual attention. I can either do one really well or the other. However, doing both at the same time means it takes me twice as long to get ready or chop an onion.
At the end of the day, multi-tasking is all about what you make it. If done right, you can be a time efficient queen who handles her todo list like a boss. But if you want to make the most of your time, you need to get honest about how efficiently you’re actually working. Can you still watch Youtube, Netflix, go to dinner and run an empire? Hell yes! You’ve just gotta learn to work smarter. Pick your battles and acknowledge what is a priority in your day. You, my sweet savvy babes, are multi-tasking goddesses. So let’s crush those goals and build the life you dream of having. Until next time. Xoxo, Savvy
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