Seeing the title of this post, you would think: “Wait, is that even possible? Time is just time, you cannot stretch it like chewing gum!”. And although that is correct, what if we told you there’s a way to create more hours from already existing time? Wouldn’t it be great to have more time at your disposal to do more things and live more? Keep reading and we’ll tell you how you can multiply your time in a very effective way.
In the end, our life is the summary of all the experiences, emotions and knowledge we’ve acquired through time. People usually say someone has lived more when that person has done more things in his lifetime. But how can we do more things if our day only has 24 hours and we can’t usually do all we need or want to do? The multiplier anwser lies in the concept of multitasking. Or in other words, doing more than one thing at a time.
But not all kinds of multitasking are good. If you do it wrong, multitasking can be exhausting and counter-productive. And when done properly, multitasking can multiply your time in an awesome way.
There are other ways of doing more things with your time, of course. Having a healthy routine and creating good habits are essential pillars that will lead you to an excellent productivity. But multitasking is one of the most underused resources in our everyday’s lives. Sometimes because we don’t consciously think about it and sometimes because we apply it wrong.
MULTITASKING THE WRONG WAY
With the incredible amount of tasks we need to do in our personal and working lives and the amount of distractions that sourround us, many times we feel forced to multitask. We want to answer a client on the phone while finishing a report. We want to read an article while watching TV. We want to check Facebook or Whatsapp while cooking at home. And we think that’s the only way to do it because all of it must be done, and now.
But more often than not, we end up stressed and the outcome is not good. We get errors in our report, we waste time re-reading the article and we eat… overcooked food! But why? Where did we go wrong? Isn’t our brain capable of doing that? The problem here is we’re trying to multitask things which need a resource that cannot be multitasked: our attention. What actually happens internally is that our brain is constantly switching between one task and the other, giving us the false illusion of multitasking.
Mixing the wrong kind of tasks can be highly counter-productive. When two (or more!) tasks fight for your attention, this will happen:
- Due to constant brain switching, you will end up spending more time than if you did the tasks separately. Your brain spends some time on each switch and it has to refocus again on each task.
- Although it might seem automatic, this constant switching is exhausting for the brain. This is why these situations give us so much stress.
- You will be more prone to errors. If the brain has to constantly refocus and remember what was doing in each task, chances are something will be lost in the way.
- You will sabotage any chance of ‘flow’ on the two tasks. When you give your full focus and attention to a task, you can enter the ‘flow‘ zone, but the wrong kind of multitasking will kill that possibility completely.
So be careful when trying to multitask. Think about the tasks you have in front of you. If both are attention-oriented just concentrate on one, finish it and then do the other. You will be much more productive. And if you are already at it and realize you’re getting stressed, just leave one for later. You will be stress-free and your brain will thank you!
MULTITASKING THE RIGHT WAY
In some areas of your life you are already multitasking correctly without being aware. For example, when you are having breakfast while reading the newspaper, you are doing two things at a time. We don’t usually think of it as multitasking because one of the tasks (having breakfast) is semi-automatic and doesn’t require our full attention. But it’s a task we have to do, is voluntary and takes time. Therefore, we can do the same with other activities.
As you might have guessed, the trick consists of smartly combining tasks that require attention with tasks that don’t. To achieve this, we have to make an examination of how we are currently spending our time and which activities can be combined. Keep an eye specially on leisure time and routine daily activities, they are mostly underused. And remember, this is where TimeTune comes in very handy. The ‘Day summary’ and ‘Statistics’ sections will show you how you distribute your time.
Let’s see some examples:
- If you have to commute every day, you can use that time to listen to a podcast and learn new things at the same time.
- If you like cinema, you can watch foreign movies in their original soundtrack and learn a new language simultaneously.
- If you watch a TV show regularly, you can use that time to stretch or exercise a little bit.
- While cleaning the house, you can make your phone read an article.
- …and many other combinations
The beauty of this strategy is you can create a nice multitasking habit in a very natural way. Only one of the activities requires your brain and attention and you won’t feel stressed. And if you had to allocate exclusive time for the attention-oriented activities you would end up spending twice the amount of hours! Besides, by multitasking smartly you are freeing other time for new and exciting things in your life.
But that’s not all! Think about this. If you add more non-attention activities to the combination, you can effectively multiply your time 3x or more times. For example, you could watch a foreign movie and learn a new language with friends, family, eating or exercising. This can bring up new and fun things to do with other people!
Remember these points if you want to multiply your time with effective and smart multitasking:
- Detect quickly if two simultaneous activities are fighting for your attention. If this is the case just give priority to one, finish it and then do the other. Some activities require your full attention and cannot be multitasked.
- Batch small interrupting activities into a single time slot and do them later. You will save a lot of time.
- Avoid distractions like social media or similar when a task requires your full attention.
- Smartly combine attention-oriented tasks with tasks that don’t require attention.
- Examine your distribution of time and find the activities that can be combined the right way. TimeTune will help you with this.
- Pay special attention to your routine and leisure time, you can do wonders with it!
Our advice is to start small. Multitask first simple activities so you don’t get overwhelmed. Remember, you don’t have to feel stressed! So we wish you good luck and all the best with your new acquired time! 😉
Do you have any other tricks for multitasking? How do you multiply your time? Tell us your tips in the comments and help the TimeTune community be more productive!