Home » Blog » Multi-Task Method: Winning Combinations

Multi-Task Method: Winning Combinations

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

When my kids were growing up my weekdays looked like this: workout, shower, work, cook dinner, pick someone up from something, fall asleep on the couch watching tv. There were a few smaller things happening in between the big ones like getting kids out the door, lots of driving, walking the dog, etc. but no breaks in the day to do things I wanted to do. Mostly I was too exhausted to care but over time I discovered a hack that helped me fit more goodness into my day without interfering with any of my ‘have-to’s’.  Not only that, the brilliance of this trick is that it made me look forward to the boring, mundane chore-type things that took up so much of my time. In the end I was happier, more fulfilled and somehow felt like I had more energy (though I still fell asleep on the couch every night!)

What’s the secret hack? Multi-tasking! I know, I know – current research suggests we aren’t supposed to be multi-tasking anymore. It decreases cognitive performance while increasing stress levels. But the kind of multi-tasking I’m talking about takes two activities that require little mental effort and combines them. The secret is to combine an activity that brings you joy with something mundane that you have to do anyway. It’s like magic. Not only are you injecting your day with a little self-care but you are getting shit done at the same time! Here are some of my favorite winning combinations:

Dog Walks & Friends

Anyone out there get a dog on the condition that their kids share the care duties? Anyone’s kids actually follow through on that promise? My kids mostly didn’t, and when they did it was only after so much nagging that I was just as tired as if I had walked the dog myself. Also, it is often raining here in the Seattle metro area and I hate walking in the rain so our poor lab Coco went through her first few years with the minimal amount of walks (she promptly gained 15lbs but that’s a story for another time.)

So anyway, during these years I was also craving time with my friends, real grown-up time without the distraction of children. My best friend since I was 11 lives in California. She and I both had 3 kids and no time. So I would arrange a time when she was in the car commuting to walk Coco. And we would catch up. And it was awesome. Obviously we couldn’t make it happen every day but I had other friends and family I could call as well.  Soon I was looking forward to walking the dog (even if it was raining!) because I associated the ‘chore’ with friend time. Such a game-changer! On weekends I found local friends to walk dogs together, often turning it into a Nature Bathing excursion as well by meeting at one of our local trails. Dog Walks with Friends – a winning combination.

Commute & Read

I have always loved to read and it is my bedtime ritual but once I had kids I couldn’t get further than a couple of pages before falling asleep. So basically it took me 6 months to finish a book and kind of defeated the purpose of getting immersed in something other than work or my kids. Enter Audible.

My commute to work wasn’t too bad, about 25 minutes each way including traffic but that was almost an hour of time by myself in the car. Until Audible came into my life I listened to music or NPR but it was basically wasted time. Once I combined my commute with an audio book I started to look forward to my time in the car plus I didn’t notice the traffic as much, which lightened my cognitive load significantly. I would get through an average of 1-2 books a month and it brought me so much joy to get back into reading. Another unlock was that my bedtime reading was reserved exclusively for novels as non-fiction felt too intimidating and sleep-inducing. But with my new Winning Combination I infused non-fiction titles in with fiction and biographies, expanding my literary horizons exponentially. I was happier getting to work and especially coming home as I was less affected by traffic. I like Audible because it’s easy and immediate but you can also get audio books from your local library for free if you don’t mind waiting for popular titles. Reading while driving equals winning.

Fold Laundry & Watch TV

‘In the end brave soldier, laundry will defeat you.’  That is how I felt back in my laundry days (my husband does the honors currently.) No matter how on top of it I thought I was there was always more and folding was the worst because it took the longest. And also I had a lack of TV time to myself. Jay and I do our TV together in the evening which meant we needed to align on what to watch. I never had time for shows that were my thing but not Jay’s. But, what if I watched my show while folding laundry? Double win: I get some ‘me’ time and the chore gets done. It worked brilliantly. I only watched the show when I folded laundry so it worked like a reward system. I started to plot when I could fit laundry into my day just so I could receive the reward of the show. Anyway, you get it – combine a ‘have to’ with a ‘want to’ and win big.

The possibilities of Winning Combinations are endless, you can go way beyond the 3 I’ve covered here. Combining chores you don’t want to do with activities you enjoy is a way to inject more things you love into your day without editing anything. By leveraging the smart version of multitasking, you can find balance and more time for self care. So, the next time you find yourself complaining about how you have no time for yourself, make some!

Similar Posts

Method Seattle Comment Policy

We welcome relevant and respectful comments. Off-topic comments may be removed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *