Redeeming the time

It has been almost a month since I declared war on multitasking, and so far, so good.

I have slipped back into the old habit a few times, but I recognized it quickly and pulled myself back out.

The effort it takes for me not to live there means I am learning to carefully think through requests before agreeing to them. I must understand the commitment I am making and determine whether I can truly take it on.

I don’t like to disappoint people, and it seems that is exactly what I’m doing right now as I set boundaries, but I also know myself in that when I commit to something, I give it everything I have.

Of course, that’s also the problem if I’m overcommitted. The intention is always to give 100 percent to the effort, but with too many slices of the pie doled out, the intention doesn’t always result in as successful of an ending as I intended.

So it’s not necessarily an easy transition I’m making, but I’m encouraged by the richness and depth of the new world I am experiencing.

I’ve also been a part of several conversations related to the March 27 Rashional Thoughts column “Move over multitasking; singletasking finally wins out.” It seems I am not alone in this battle. Everyone I talked with related to the examples in some way and shared some of what they are facing.

We all expressed a desire to make sure we make the most out of each day.

So as I continue to learn to singletask, I’m strategically working to ensure I am consistently redeeming the time, even when that means making time for proper rest or recreation in which I’m completely there in mind as well as body.

A new friend of mine depicted a good example of redeeming the time recently when a group of Baptist communicators were embarking on a day trip. When he learned the trip was four hours round trip, he hurried back to his room to grab a graduate studies book.

I teased him about how awful it would be to spend the time getting to know his new friends and that he should definitely get the book, but in reality, he was wise. He could still take some time to socialize and then spend the rest of the time studying. It was a smart way to redeem the time.

Another idea is to keep information needing read or reviewed with you for times you are waiting or flying.

If you are responsible for taking minutes during a meeting, then schedule an appointment with yourself right after the meeting to prepare and finalize the minutes rather than waiting until later to do them. You will be able to knock them out in half the time because they are fresh and you won’t have the pressure of writing them hanging over your head.

Take 10 minutes to think through all the errands you need to run this week and group them according to similar sides of town or in order of how they fall on your route.

Fold laundry while watching TV. Do leg lifts or stretches while talking on the phone (if it is a casual conversation, probably better to stay totally focused if it is a professional conversation).

What about doing something else besides strictly driving and focusing on the vehicles around you on road trips? Obviously talking on the phone, texting and plugging in coordinates on the GPS shouldn’t be done while driving. But is listening to a sermon podcast or the Bible on CD redeeming the time or multitasking?

In a brief Internet research on the topic I found differing views. Some say driving is one of those tasks that requires our full attention. Others say it would be similar to folding laundry while watching TV. The verdict is still out for me. What do you think?

And what are other ideas of redeeming the time? Comment below or email them to me at jrash@thealabamabaptist.org.

—Jennifer Davis Rash

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