Every lifestyle change, no matter how inchoate, started by deciding upon how to differently conduct things in life. The biggest changes thus occur when one is ready to thoroughly rethink how he spends his energy. Applying an analogy, it will be like changing the angle of hitting the golf ball which will in turn change the landing destination of the ball by dozens of yards.
And the same analogy applies in almost everything that we do. Sometimes small and rudimentary changes can provide for an entirely different outcome, and if we know how to change “the angle of hitting the ball” at the beginning, we are looking at radically changed life on the long run.
But even if we are not talking about radical changes, and only want to make small improvements to our lifestyle, this still can apply.
Multi-doing versus Multitasking
Multi-doing, as opposed to multitasking, aims for improving your life by investing the same amount of energy in doing couple of actions at once as doing one action at a time.
The context is admittedly complex and bears careful consideration, but from a somewhat simpler point of view the premise is quite obvious. Instead of focusing on completing couple of tasks simultaneously, here the stress falls upon doing couple of actions that not necessarily aim for completion.
Let me give some tangible examples.
If you are, say, going over the bills and at the same time preparing your lunch, then it would be a classic case of multitasking. Multi-doing on the other hand would be something like going for a run and listening to an audio book at the same time. There is no pressure of a task needing to be completed, no frustration whatsoever.
The idea of multi-doing (term totally coined by me, so not be shy to give the credit) is, you see, to make yourself go over two or more actions that will positively affect your life while having both the time and energy preserved.
Multi doing can be implemented in other areas of life as well. On a broader spectrum, there are many habits and activities that you can automate and run in the background. Think about it – if you are trying to get rid of belly fat you can find an activity that is targeting your abdominal muscles, but is not performed exclusively for having a flat stomach. You can go swimming, or rock climbing, or perhaps even mountain biking – all of these activities target the core, but you are having a wonderful experience at the same time as well.
Why multi-doing works?
The obvious answer would be- well… because.
You see, sometimes it is hard to condition yourself to pay attention to some sort of improvement no matter how seemingly naïve and no time consuming at all it appears to be.
Do you relate?
I mean, have you ever caught yourself not willing to set aside some time to even listen to the podcast that you follow? Or to read a magazine, or a book, or go running, do some yoga, meditate…?
These actions can impact your self-improvement efforts with quite the effect, and sometimes it is hard to dedicate and focus on even one, let alone couple of them.
And you know how I always stigmatize that doing couple of things simultaneously instead of focusing on one thing at the moment is rather unwise. You also have heard me saying that personal improvement should in fact be enjoyed rather than simply rushed through. But this is different.
You see, you can condition yourself to enjoy these actions parallel. And sometimes even the one you would normally skip will be included.
You love running, but never seem to have set aside the time for reading or listening to some music. Well, here is your chance. By preserving both time and energy, you will be able to squeeze listening to some audio books and hit the track.
Couple of ideas on multi-doing to get you going
Since I strongly believe in personalized and customized personal development I will never even dare to give you an exact blueprint on how to conduct your life. I’m not guru of any sort whatsoever and I, the same as you, can speak about this only from what I experienced so far.
However, knowing that experiences greatly differ from one person to another let me only plant some ideas as for you to use this concept in a broader sense.
I for one enjoy running and listening to some memoirs and autobiographies.
Also, it is a habit of mine to have a walk with my dog while going over new ideas and projects – nothing that requires a deadline.
Any rest, I turn it into active rest – reading on my Nook, reading magazines, Going through my RSS feed, listening to some podcasts…
Also, on a side note, I tried applying the concept of multi-doing in discussing ideas as well, and instead of arranging a lunch or going out for a coffee, I try convincing the people I work with to take some time out of the weekend and join me for some recreational mountain biking.
Here is why I believe this works surprisingly well.
“…We think about the world in all the ways we experience it. We think visually, we think in sound, we think kinesthetically. We think in abstract terms, we think in movement. …In fact, creativity, which I define as the process of having original ideas that have value, more often than not comes about through the interaction of different disciplinary ways of seeing things…” ~ Sir Ken Robinson
You see, by combining movement, thought, emotion and creative energy we are in fact creating a fertile ground for developing ideas. However, this is only something I had the pleasure of experiencing only slightly, but I will definitely delve deeper into the complexity of it someday.
My goal is to replace multitasking by multi-doing, and enjoy the same time and energy while witnessing a tremendous progress in many departments in lifestyle.
I would also advise you to not get carried away and forget about occasionally enjoying the moment by focusing upon one thing at a time. Think about it for a moment, and try to squeeze something together today. You will see what I’m talking about.
Image credit: By Cavan Images