Lately, everything I have been reading has been condemning multi-tasking. Yes, obviously, if you’re trying to focus on two things at once, you’re probably not going to accomplish as much as if you just focused on one thing and you’ll just end up splitting your time. Yet, is this always true?

HERE ARE FIVE TIMES WHEN MULTI-TASKING ACTUALLY WORKS:

1. CATCHING UP ON EMAIL + WARM UPS OR COOL DOWNS

The warm up or cool down of a workout typically lasts a few minutes, and is slowed down. This isn’t effective for a workout like weight lifting, but if you’re doing any sort of machine cardio, catch up on your email during the warm up or cool down! The slower pace will allow you to hold onto your phone, and since your only goal right then is to be getting your body ready to workout or bringing your heart rate down, being on your phone won’t disrupt your workout.

2. CALL FAMILY & FRIENDS + GROCERY SHOP

If I haven’t talked to my mom in a while, yet I don’t have a lot of free time, I’ll pull out my phone and call her while I grocery shop. I can roam the store and find what I need while staying focused on the conversation (especially if my list is on paper and not on my phone). This can also turn into a form of habit stacking. Need to call your grandma more frequently? Treat each time you go shop as a cue to pick up the phone and call her.

PC: Tibco

3. WORKING OUT + REVIEWING NOTES & MEMORIZING

Needing to review your notes for that test later today? Wanting to memorize more scripture? Try reviewing notes or running through those memory flash cards during your workout. If you’re doing a cardio workout like riding a stationary bike, try reviewing each time the intensity slows down a bit. If you’re lifting, review each time you have a rest between sets. The verses I’ve been able to memorize and the math grades that have improved via this method are proof it works.

4. PLAN YOUR WEEK + LECTURE

If you’re sitting in a class on Monday, listening to the lecture, why not pull out your planner (or phone or computer) and plan your week? Create to-do lists, pencil down what assignments need to be done when, and block out your week. If the lecture you’re listening to is either information you already know, or, if you’re like me and can write down lists and things while keeping engaged, try this to save yourself some time later on.

PC: Erin Condren

5. MAKE COFFEE + DO CHORES

Okay, this doesn’t strictly count as multi-tasking since you’re not technically doing these at the same time, but I’m adding it because a lot can be accomplished in a very short period of time! Start your coffee brewing (or put your food in the microwave, etc.), and then while it’s brewing, try to knock out as many chores as you possibly can. Challenge yourself to unload and load the dishwasher, fold laundry and put it away, tidy up your dorm room, or do a daily clean of the bathroom. By the time your coffee is done, your house will look much better, and you’ll feel accomplished.

Now, if you were looking for me to tell you that watching Netflix while you’re doing homework or attempting to switch back and forth between projects is an effective use of your time, try try again. Multi-tasking definitely has its drawbacks, including the creation of a lack of focus and the wasting of your time. However, when you have an opportunity where both tasks can be effectively done with proper focus while saving time, go for it!

Follow the author’s other work here, or follow her on Twitter: @kovanderhart

 

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