I attended an efficiency workshop in college with the office staff I worked with. One of the tips the leader gave was to do something like listen to your voicemail while you’re waiting for computer to turn on. People were nodding and taking notes as I sat there thinking, “Duh.”
I was the youngest in the room by at least 15 years, so maybe that accounted for it. My generation seems incapable of doing one thing at a time.
Multitasking is second-nature to me.
Then I read A Deadly Wandering by Matt Richtel. It’s all about a tragic car accident caused by texting while driving, but also gets neuroscientists to chime in about what happens when you multitask. Multitasking makes each job you’re doing less efficient. My phone stays on “do not disturb” now and this book will be required reading for my kids before they get their licenses.
More on the issues of multitasking in this article…
But there’s a difference between doing more than one thing at a time and doing something in the dead time that you would usually spend waiting on something, i.e. checking voicemail while your computer turns on. (Anyone remember the term cold booting?)
So, I call some of my home efficiencies “simul-tasking.” Doing things at the same time where all but one requires no attention.
You do these things already, but I find greater appreciation for the work now that I have a term for it.
My favorite simultasker is definitely my dishwasher. Doing anything while it’s running fills me with joy. Unloading it is not my favorite thing ever, so I now brew my coffee while I unload and I have a reward waiting for me as soon as I’ve finished. Sweet simul-tasking.
Chopping vegetables while you’re boiling water for pasta… simultask.
We have ridiculously low pressure in our kitchen sink (we will fix it sometime); if I have to fill a pot, it sits in the sink while I gather the rest of my ingredients. I almost like my snail-slow faucet.
How about you? What are your simultasks?