multitasking http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/13162/all en-US Multitasking Sucks Even More Than You Thought http://www.wisebread.com/multitasking-sucks-even-more-than-you-thought <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/multitasking-sucks-even-more-than-you-thought" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother-multitasking-78780790-small.jpg" alt="mother multitasking" title="mother multitasking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>College students, corporate executives, and busy moms rely on multitasking to complete their long list of things to do each day. There are papers to read, emails to send, places to be, and much to be accomplished. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-make-multitasking-actually-work?ref=seealso">The Simple Way Multitasking Can Actually Work</a>)</p> <p>However, a recent study has found that <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-08-10/opinion/ct-oped-0811-multitask-20100810_1_iqs-study-information-overload">multitasking actually lowers your IQ</a>, decreases your productivity, and reduces your ability to make decisions.</p> <p>Imagine for a moment that you are at home, you have kids at the table working on homework, occasionally asking questions about places they are confused, dinner is cooking on the stove, the laundry is going and needs to be pulled out of the dinner before it wrinkles, the baby is getting dangerously close to doing something he's never done before and the phone rings.</p> <p>Your brain is in a few different places.</p> <p>You are multitasking.</p> <p>You are getting things done.</p> <p>However, that multitasking has decreased your brain function slightly and reduced your ability to make a clear decision. So when the nice lady from your child's school calls and asks you to chair a fundraising committee, you commit without being able to give it thorough thought. Later in the evening, when your mind is clearer, you realize what you've committed to and how difficult it is going to be for you to accomplish.</p> <p>Multitasking may feel like the way to accomplish your mile long to-do list but it is actually diminishing the core of your productivity &mdash; your decision making abilities and your brain function.</p> <p>So, what can you do instead?</p> <p>To increase your productivity, focus on your tasks completely, and clear out your to-do list, you need to create an action plan.</p> <h2>Making and Executing an Action Plan</h2> <h3>1. Make a List</h3> <p>Put the most important items on your list at the top. These should be items that must be completed today, followed by items that can be put off, all the way down to items that you'll probably put off until tomorrow but would feel amazing if you completed them today.</p> <h3>2. Highlight Quick Tasks</h3> <p>Those items that only take a quick minute or two to complete, like replying to your mom's email or rescheduling your dentist appointment get highlighted. If you aren't sure how long it will take, for example there is a good possibility you'll be on hold with your credit card company, don't highlight. Just those items you know won't take very long.</p> <h3>3. Turn Off All Distractions</h3> <p>That means your phone gets silenced and placed somewhere so you don't see notifications pop up on the screen, your email gets turned off, Facebook is closed out, turn off the television and get the kids set up with something that will keep them occupied for awhile if needed.</p> <h3>4. Set the Timer</h3> <p>A timer is your best friend when you want to be productive. It gives you a boundary for when you should be working. Set the timer for 20 minutes. During that time, focus all of your mind on one task. Do not allow yourself to become distracted during those 20 minutes.</p> <p>If the timer is still ticking after you've finished a task, move on to the next one on your list. If you only have three or four minutes left on the timer, do one of the items that has been highlighted.</p> <p>Don't forget to cross things off as you complete them. It may seem silly but the simple act of drawing a line through something can be very rewarding.</p> <h3>5. Take Frequent Breaks</h3> <p>After 20 minutes has passed, stop working and reset the timer for five minutes. During this time do not focus on work. Get up and walk around. Fill your water glass. Check on the kids. Do a little jig in the living room to get your blood pumping. Breathe deeply a few times before refocusing on another 20 minutes of work.</p> <p>After three cycles of work, take a longer break of 15 to 20 minutes. This is the time when you can check Facebook, check your phone, or gossip with a friend in the next cubicle. Don't forget to have your timer set and do not go over your break time.</p> <h3>6. Assess Your Progress</h3> <p>After your work day (or hour) is complete, assess your to-do list. Determine if there are items that need to be rearranged or crossed off. If it is the end of the day, write a new list for tomorrow before you leave for home.</p> <h2>Productivity Hints</h2> <p>There are a few things you can further do to increase your productivity.</p> <h3>1. Keep It Simple</h3> <p>This is especially true for tasks like organization. Break up larger tasks into smaller, simple ones that will get you moving faster through the project. If you are working on organizing a space, don't get up and relocate every item you touch. Instead, put them into categories (like donate, toss, recycle or living room, kitchen, bedroom) that can they be put away later.</p> <h3>2. Group Like Things Together</h3> <p>If you have a number of similar tasks that need to be done, do them at the same time or one after the other. For example, if you have three phone calls to make, make them in the same 20 minute time frame, or if you have files that need to be delivered throughout the office, deliver them in the same trip.</p> <p>This also works for errands you are running. Combine them so you aren't running across town multiple times wasting your time and energy.</p> <h3>3. Set Yourself Up for Success</h3> <p>Whether it is putting a sign on your door that says &quot;do not disturb,&quot; putting your phone in another room, or hiring a babysitter to occupy your children for two hours, find ways to decrease distractions. This will ensure that you are successful with completing your tasks.</p> <p>If the only danger in trying to do too many things is that you're not able to do any of them terribly well, then it might not be enough to stop multitasking and start focusing on each task individually. Now that we know that it can also make you dumb, it may be time to start slowing down and truly live in the moment.</p> <p><em>Are you still multitasking? Why? If you aren't, what are you doing instead to get things done?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/multitasking-sucks-even-more-than-you-thought">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-to-do-lists-more-effective-with-these-5-simple-hacks">Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective With These 5 Simple Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-time-saving-hacks-from-the-worlds-busiest-people">11 Time Saving Hacks From the World&#039;s Busiest People</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-why-your-projects-always-take-longer-than-you-expect">This Is Why Your Projects Always Take Longer Than You Expect</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dumb-little-productivity-killers-you-need-to-stop-doing-today">10 Dumb Little Productivity Killers You Need to Stop Doing Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-make-multitasking-actually-work">The Simple Way to Make Multitasking Actually Work</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Productivity multitasking organization productivity tasks to-do lists Thu, 11 Sep 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1207211 at http://www.wisebread.com The Simple Way to Make Multitasking Actually Work http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-make-multitasking-actually-work <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-simple-way-to-make-multitasking-actually-work" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/busy-5318624-small_0.jpg" alt="multitasking" title="multitasking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>At the moment, as I am working on this article, I am also watching television, checking Twitter and Facebook, texting with my daughter, checking on dinner, and chatting with a colleague on G+ chat. I am attempting to multitask, but judging by how long it has taken me to write these first few lines of text, I don't think I'm all that successful at it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-life-hacks-you-shouldnt-bother-with?ref=seealso">&quot;Life Hacks&quot; You Shouldn't Bother With</a>)</p> <p>Multitasking is a part of our lives. We are busier than ever before. Whether it is juggling kids' schedules while speaking with clients on the phone and writing notes down for the grocery list, we are all trying to cram more into our lives. The question is, however, is it effective? When does multitasking work and when doesn't it?</p> <h2>When Multitasking Gets in the Way</h2> <p>If you routinely find yourself attempting to multitask, you may be doing more harm for your productivity than good. Some research has shown that multitasking actually increases the time it takes to complete tasks and decreases productivity. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-thing-you-use-every-day-is-ruining-your-productivity-and-its-not-facebook?ref=seealso">This Daily Activity Is Ruining Your Productivity</a>)</p> <p>Multitasking does not work when you are trying to do two or more tasks that require conscious effort. Take, for example, the two tasks of texting while driving. Many people will tell you they are great at multitasking, but are they really? You aren't able to focus on the road when you are looking down at your phone to find a number, open an app, or type out a message. At the very minimum, you'll make mistakes typing with one hand. The New York Times points to research that shows <a href="http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/25/texting-is-more-dangerous-than-driving-drunk/">texting while driving is akin to drunk driving</a>. Your ability to focus on what lane you are in, your speed, and the distance you are from other cars greatly decreases when you are also focused on the phone.</p> <p>This phenomenon is no different when you are trying to multitask at home or work. Have you ever tried to have a phone conversation with someone who is typing on their computer, dealing with their children, or ordering a coffee at Starbucks? The phone conversation fails to progress because the person on the other line is unable to process two thoughts at the same time.</p> <h2>Use Layers to Make Multitasking Work &mdash; Sometimes</h2> <p>Multitasking works when the tasks you are attempting to complete require different levels of thought and only one requires you to really focus your thought processes. For example, folding laundry while you are having a phone conversation (with the phone on speaker) or typing a letter while dinner simmers on the stove.</p> <p>Multiple tasks can be completed when they are layered by their level of attention needed. If you only need minimal attention on one task, for example, doing the laundry while another task is in process (such as getting dinner started), then you can layer in a more complex task, like answering a few emails. This layering of different types of tasks is still multitasking, and it can be done successfully. However, once you add in another task that requires more thought processes (taking a phone call from your boss, for example) one of the tasks must stop. In this example, answering the emails should be halted.</p> <h2>Setting Up Your Layers</h2> <p>Once you understand that you actually can multitask with a layered system, go ahead and set one up.</p> <h3>1. Make a List</h3> <p>Prioritize the most important tasks on your list that need to be accomplished. Refer back to that list as you complete activities. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-steps-to-achieving-all-your-goals?ref=seealso">How to Achieve All Your Goals</a>)</p> <h3>2. Look for Layered Tasks to Pair</h3> <p>Find an activity that can be paired with a higher level item on your list. For example, if you need to contact a business, and you know you'll be on hold for 20 minutes, use that hold time to address a few emails. Or if you need to do laundry, cook dinner, and call your mom, then start the wash, get dinner to the point where it is simmering, and then make the phone call (see #4).</p> <h3>3. Turn Off Other Distractions</h3> <p>That means you need to put your phone on silent. Exit out of Twitter, Facebook, and email. Reduce the noise level in the room, and tackle the most pressing item on your list first.</p> <h3>4. Set a Timer</h3> <p>When you are working on tasks, set a timer to check your progress. If you anticipate that a task should take no longer than one hour, set a timer for sixty minutes. Check where you are when it goes off. Are you distracted? Did something pop up that you felt needed addressed immediately? Are you on the phone with mom for too long and dinner is about to burn? Using a timer will keep you focused on your tasks and keep your productivity level high. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stay-focused-at-work?ref=seealso">How to Stay Focused at Work</a>)</p> <h2>But Is Layering Enough?</h2> <p>When I began this article last night, I was attempting to multitask. It took me well over an hour to write the first three paragraphs. I decided to do my own unscientific study to see how well I was doing. I turned off everything.</p> <p>No email. No Twitter. No Facebook. No G+ chat. No cell phone. No television.</p> <p>When everything was off and my attention was solely focused on writing, I was able to finish the rest of this article relatively quickly. Lesson learned on my end. I will continue to minimize those activities that I once deemed multitasking when I really want to be productive.</p> <p><em>Are you able to multitask? What works for you? Please share in comments while you wait for the tea kettle to whistle!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-make-multitasking-actually-work">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tools-that-stop-computer-distractions-and-help-you-stay-on-task">6 Tools That Stop Computer Distractions and Help You Stay on Task</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/multitasking-sucks-even-more-than-you-thought">Multitasking Sucks Even More Than You Thought</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-one-touch-approach-to-managing-household-finances">A One Touch Approach To Managing Household Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kill-boredom-with-these-34-fun-and-productive-projects">Kill Boredom With These 34 Fun and Productive Projects</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-not-to-delete-your-emails">5 Reasons Not to Delete Your Emails</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Organization Productivity focus multitasking productivity Thu, 06 Mar 2014 10:48:24 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1129402 at http://www.wisebread.com When Multitasking Can Work http://www.wisebread.com/when-multitasking-can-work <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/when-multitasking-can-work" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2591454436_2d316a1820.jpg" alt="A boy in the park reads and texts at the same time." title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's not news by now that multitasking is not really a useful strategy to get more done. If you&rsquo;re working on a task that needs your attention, the task will suffer if you try to share your focus with another task. But there are some situations when multitasking can make sense. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fallacy-of-multitasking">The Fallacy of Multitasking</a>)</p> <p>Finding those situations requires taking a broader look at what multitasking is.</p> <h2>Filling Empty Task Downtime</h2> <p>Literally doing two things at once won't work well, but there are plenty of situations where you can set yourself up to accomplish a lot during the downtime a particular task requires.</p> <p>Consider what it takes to do the laundry with the help of modern appliances. You&rsquo;ll need to sort your clothes and put them in the washing machine. Then you&rsquo;ve got a big chunk of time before you need to move those clothes to the dryer. You&rsquo;ve got another chunk of time there, until you can take the clothes out of the dryer, and, if you&rsquo;re on top of things, fold those clothes. Planning your day to make full use of the time you have to wait to complete other tasks is a more practical approach to multitasking.</p> <h2>Know Your Schedule</h2> <p>In order to find those pockets of time when you can accomplish more than just watching the minutes tick by on the clock, you&rsquo;ll need to know what it&rsquo;s going to take to actually do the tasks on your to-do list. If you don&rsquo;t have both an understanding of when you&rsquo;ll have downtime and what you need to accomplish, you can&rsquo;t put together the puzzle of what you can do when. It&rsquo;s like having a bunch of puzzle pieces with no idea of what the final product should look like.</p> <p>You won&rsquo;t always be able to fill every hole in your calendar ahead of time. But as you&rsquo;re <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-have-it-all-4-tips-for-doing-more-with-your-time">more aware of how you spend your time</a>, you can start looking for opportunities to do a little more. It&rsquo;s not a bad idea to keep your task list with you at all times, particularly if you can note items that you can do quickly, while you&rsquo;re waiting. Knowing the difference between what you can do in 10 minutes and what will take longer is an important step. Otherwise, you can spend the entire time you have available trying to figure out what you can accomplish in that slot.</p> <h2>Don&rsquo;t Take It Too Far</h2> <p>You can accomplish a lot in the time you spend talking to your friends when hanging out. But that doesn&rsquo;t mean that you should. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-secret-to-time-management-and-work-life-balance">You shouldn&rsquo;t fight to fill every moment of your day with work</a>. It&rsquo;s easy to get caught up in things, especially considering that many of us have smartphones in our pockets full of things we could be doing right now. However, most of us know when we really ought to be paying attention to the people we&rsquo;re with.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s harder to make a decision to not try to cram in another task when we need some downtime. Just the same, though, it&rsquo;s OK to just sit quietly and think, sometimes. There are days that the best use of your time while waiting for the laundry to run is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-choose-traditional-books-over-e-books">relaxing with a book</a> or even a nap. That&rsquo;s perfectly fine.</p> <p>Find a combination that works for you. Multitask when you&rsquo;ve got downtime during specific tasks and need to accomplish more, but don&rsquo;t be afraid to choose to do nothing.</p> <p><em>What strategies are you using to fill your downtime with productive action (or quality relaxation)?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-multitasking-can-work">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-things-to-do-during-your-commute-even-if-you-drive">10 Smart Things to Do During Your Commute (Even If You Drive!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-time-by-spending-it">10 Ways to Save Time by Spending Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dumb-little-productivity-killers-you-need-to-stop-doing-today">10 Dumb Little Productivity Killers You Need to Stop Doing Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-straightforward-ways-to-say-no">12 Straightforward Ways to Say &quot;No&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-organizing-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Easy Organizing Changes You Can Make Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Productivity multitasking relaxation time management Tue, 12 Mar 2013 10:36:30 +0000 Thursday Bram 969711 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 "Life Hacks" You Shouldn't Bother With http://www.wisebread.com/8-life-hacks-you-shouldnt-bother-with <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-life-hacks-you-shouldnt-bother-with" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/multitasking_0.jpg" alt="Multitasking man" title="Multitasking man" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="156" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Life hacks &mdash; or tricks intended to make life easier &mdash; are everywhere. There are life hacks for food, family, work, and everything else under the sun. But not all hacks are really beneficial. Some will just add another step to your daily routine. Some may wind up costing you much more than just your time. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-personal-productivity-ruleswhat-are-yours">My&nbsp;Personal Productivity&nbsp;Rules...What Are Yours?</a>)</p> <h3>1. Unlocking a Door Without a Key &mdash; in a Way That Requires the Door to Be Open Already</h3> <p>There are a lot of life hacks that may seem useful, like this one from <a target="_blank" href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/eduardoleon/35-life-hacks-you-should-know-ga9">Buzzfeed</a>, but leave you with a solution for which there is no problem. If you can unlock a door to begin with, you probably have access to the key, and if you make it so that you can open the door without a key, anyone else can, too.</p> <h3>2. Extending a Deadline By Sending the Wrong File Type</h3> <p>I&rsquo;ve heard this trick &mdash; sending a file as a <em>.png</em> rather than the expected <em>.doc</em> &mdash; recommended both for work and school situations, and I consider it downright dishonest. It may get you the end result that you want, but that&rsquo;s not good enough. If a hack crosses the line into unethical or even illegal behavior, it&rsquo;s not a good hack.</p> <h3>3. Using Doritos as a Seasoning</h3> <p>There may be a few people for whom <a target="_blank" href="https://twitter.com/OMGLifeHacks/status/257574961869369344/photo/1">that Dorito flavor is the greatest flavor ever</a>, but it&rsquo;s certainly one of the least appealing cooking hacks I&rsquo;ve personally seen.</p> <h3>4. Taking Prescription Drugs in a Non-Prescribed Manner</h3> <p>You can find a lot of different hacks that involve taking prescribed medication for affects not intended by doctors, like <a target="_blank" href="http://dailyinfographic.com/hacking-the-brain-with-prescription-drugs-infographic">making it easier to study</a>. Unless you have a degree in pharmacology, though, it&rsquo;s generally a bad idea to muck around with drugs without your doctor&rsquo;s advice. If you really want to try such a hack, get your doctor to sign off on it first.</p> <h3>5. Multitasking</h3> <p>Many life hacks offer ways to do more than one thing at a time. But <a target="_blank" href="http://www.health.com/health/article/0,,20505051,00.html">research has established that multitasking doesn&rsquo;t work</a>. You just wind up with two tasks that are both completed at a lower level. It&rsquo;s better to just focus on one task and get through it quickly &mdash; and well.</p> <h3>6. Changing Your Family Traditions</h3> <p>Every year around the holidays, I&rsquo;ll see a post or two that recommend hacking some other aspect of your holiday celebrations. The danger that you risk, though, is that you&rsquo;re not just hacking your own life at that point &mdash; you&rsquo;re <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-my-hoarder-family-saved-christmas">changing how you interact with your family</a>. There may be some changes that would be mutually beneficial, but it&rsquo;s rare that you can change the status quo and still keep an extended family happy.</p> <h3>7. Anything That Requires Buying More Gear, Tools, or Apps</h3> <p>Most life hacks are inexpensive, but there&rsquo;s always another piece of software you can buy to make your life easier or a new <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stuff-will-never-make-you-organized">gadget that will change everything</a>, at least according to the marketing team. The reality is that, most of the time, the change isn&rsquo;t enough to make up for the money you&rsquo;d have to spend, so it&rsquo;s better to just hold on to your cash.</p> <h3>8. Continuously Tweaking Your Hacks</h3> <p>The pursuit of complete productivity is alluring, but you can wind up focusing just on perfecting your system rather than using the time you&rsquo;ve saved to live. This <a target="_blank" href="http://lifehacker.com/5912815/confessions-of-a-recovering-lifehacker?tag=life-hacks">recent essay on Lifehacker</a> lays out the experiences of someone who went too far in his life hacks.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-life-hacks-you-shouldnt-bother-with">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-retailers-where-you-can-negotiate-a-lower-price">11 Retailers Where You Can Negotiate a Lower Price</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-deal-when-your-spouse-is-suffering-from-burnout">How to Deal When Your Spouse is Suffering From Burnout</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-cheap-ways-to-lower-your-blood-sugar">13 Natural and Easy Ways to Lower Your Blood Sugar</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-diy-dog-toys-you-can-make-for-pennies">10 DIY Dog Toys You Can Make for Pennies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/51-uses-for-coca-cola-the-ultimate-list">51 Uses for Coca-Cola – the Ultimate List</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks bad decisions multitasking time wasting Thu, 13 Dec 2012 11:24:33 +0000 Thursday Bram 959603 at http://www.wisebread.com Double-Duty Protection: Multipurpose iPad 2 Cases http://www.wisebread.com/double-duty-protection-multipurpose-ipad-2-cases <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/double-duty-protection-multipurpose-ipad-2-cases" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/ipad_case_2.jpg" alt="Woman holding an iPad" title="Woman holding an iPad" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="145" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Gadgets and their accessories are expensive &mdash; that's why it&rsquo;s in your best interest to take care of them as best you can.</p> <p>In the world of iPad 2, there are lots of cases to choose from, but many of them don&rsquo;t do anything more than keep the device safe from falls.</p> <p>To get the most out of your iPad 2 case and the fee you forked over for it, consider a product that serves more than one purpose. Here are four from which to choose. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-advice-for-the-gadget-addicted">Frugal Advice for the Gadget Addicted</a>)</p> <h3>Griffin TechSafe Locking Case + Cable Lock</h3> <p>I fell in love with this case as soon as I saw it &mdash; especially since I like to travel with my iPad 2 (to the library, Starbucks, etc.) and I encounter a dilemma when I have to use the bathroom. Do I leave my device on the table and hope I&rsquo;m surrounded by honest people, or do I pack up all my belongings and drag them to the john? With the <a href="http://store.griffintechnology.com/techsafe-case">Griffin TechSafe Locking Case + Cable Lock</a>, which also includes a stand, that choice is easier. Like locking a bike to a rack, the combo lock component clamps the case shut on one end while the hardened-steel cable wraps around a secure table leg. Now I can relieve myself with the security of knowing that my iPad2 isn&rsquo;t going anywhere.</p> <h3>booq pad Agenda</h3> <p>Similar to a portfolio, the <a href="http://www.booqbags.com/All-Products/booqpad-iPad-2-agenda">Agenda iPad 2 case from booq pad</a> features a fabric-covered exterior (made with more than 90% recycled PET fabrics and post-consumer materials) and an inside that safely stores the iPad and includes other compartments for a pen and doc storage. Also included is a 50-sheet notepad made from unbleached, acid-free, 30% minimum recycled post-consumer content. It goes without saying that this case is one of the greenest and most useful on the market.</p> <h3>Vogel&rsquo;s RingO Universal Mounting System</h3> <p>Talk about getting what you paid for! This <a href="http://www.ipadonthewall.com/usa/">all-in-one pack for iPad 2</a> includes a holder, wall mount, car mount, and table stand for interchangeable versatility wherever you need it. Going on a road trip? Pop the case into the car mount to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-entertain-your-child-for-free-or-cheap">keep the kids occupied</a>. Want to show off photos from the family reunion at holiday time? Use the stand to display the slideshow. And if you want to use your iPad 2 in the kitchen &mdash; for following a recipe, for instance &mdash; the wall mount is the perfect solution to keep the device visible but clean. The RingO UMS also comes with a free iPad app download for &ldquo;WallTimes&rdquo; just in case you want to turn your device into a large digital clock.</p> <h3>Hatch &amp; Co&rsquo;s Skinny</h3> <p>Anybody with an iPad 2 knows that it&rsquo;s great for games and surfing the Internet, but it can be cumbersome to take notes or write anything of length on it; all the finger action can start to hurt. Hatch &amp; Co. has solved the problem with its <a href="http://hatchnco.com/">Skinny keyboard case</a>, which touts itself as the world&rsquo;s slimmest iPad 2 case with a built-in keyboard. Available in black and white, Skinny features a special surface with textured keys to enhance the typing experience and a battery that lasts up to two weeks (six weeks on standby). As if that&rsquo;s not enough, your iPad 2 will automatically wake up when you open the case and sleep when you close it, further preserving its power supply.</p> <p><em>Disclosure: I received free iPad cases for review.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/double-duty-protection-multipurpose-ipad-2-cases">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-cool-uses-for-a-tablet-computer">11 Cool Uses for a Tablet Computer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-avoid-buying-electronics-youll-regret">5 Ways to Avoid Buying Electronics You&#039;ll Regret</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-advice-for-the-gadget-addicted">Frugal Advice for the Gadget Addicted</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/miracle-device-coin-rolls-all-your-credit-cards-into-one">Miracle Device Coin Rolls All Your Credit Cards Into One</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-pieces-of-credit-card-tech-that-will-blow-your-mind">6 Pieces of Credit Card Tech That Will Blow Your Mind</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Technology gadgets ipad multitasking Fri, 11 Nov 2011 09:48:43 +0000 Mikey Rox 771295 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Productivity Hacks From a Work-at-Home Mom http://www.wisebread.com/10-productivity-hacks-from-a-work-at-home-mom <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-productivity-hacks-from-a-work-at-home-mom" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/multitasking_child.jpg" alt="Baby with two phones" title="Baby with two phones" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="149" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I work at home, part-time, as a (you guessed it!) freelance writer. So, I'm a writer. I'm also a mom. Of four kids. Under five years old. My youngest, in fact, is only a month old. While I can't share anything much about the experience of high fashion, expensive restaurants, or periods of silence lasting more than five minutes, I can share about getting maximum work done in minimal time slots. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-time-by-spending-time">10 Ways to Save Time by Spending Time</a>)</p> <h3>1. Plan for transitions.</h3> <p>Transitions will kill you &mdash; those moments when you're ending X activity and beginning Y event. I don't like them personally, but with four kids transitions are the moments of weakness. Everybody is in limbo a little bit, and it's when things get lost and shoes get thrown and there's great potential for us all to end up in a weeping pile of humanity by the back door. Not pretty.</p> <p>Plan for transitions by setting aside enough time for them, making them as systematic and routine as possible, and then getting through them (and, hence, on to the next thing) as quickly as possible. No, don't rush. Just keep things moving.</p> <h3>2. Resist the urge to control-freak on details.</h3> <p>You have to control-freak on some things, or nothing would ever get done. But details are a waste of your energy. Make sure, for example, the bed gets made, but don't waste time making sure the sheets are wrinkle-free and the throw pillows are stacked in an alternating color arrangement. You get me? This applies to everybody; make sure the article gets written, the project gets done, the budget gets made, the garage gets cleaned, whatever. But don't flip out about how those things get done.</p> <h3>3. Quit cleaning after every mess.</h3> <p>I'm all for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/household-cleaning-hacks-that-save-you-money">cleanliness</a>, but I'm also for accomplishment. Sometimes the two are enemies, because if you're taking time to clean after every single mess, big or small, you're creating a hundred transitions between work and clean-up when you could just focus on the work and then have one clean-up time at the end. Cleaning does need to happen, but it doesn't need to happen constantly.</p> <h3>4. Have a set time for cleaning and other routine physical chores.</h3> <p>If you have a designated time for the cleaning and other chores, you can relax and know that you'll be able to get to it at that time. This is true not just for work-from-home folks who get the privilege of doing laundry in between calling clients; this is also true for folks who work in offices or factories or shops. Do your important work and hold to a set time for filing papers, clearing your desk, straightening the shelves, wiping the display counters, putting away tools, etc.</p> <h3>5. Declutter everything.</h3> <p>Clutter &mdash; both physical and mental &mdash; is an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jettison-the-junk-why-clutter-clouds-your-mind-and-saps-your-energy">enemy of productivity</a>. Clutter will make your space seem dirty even when it isn't, which will make you want to clean instead of work, which will keep you distracted and give you lots of great reasons to procrastinate. Cut the clutter. Set up systems. Get storage containers. Get rid of stuff you don't need anymore. Label everything, and put things away where they belong.</p> <h3>6. Work in terms of daily goals.</h3> <p>It's good to have a schedule and a daily plan, but when you work from a schedule divided into 15-minute increments, you can get thrown off by one long-winded caller. Set a schedule if it makes you happy, but try to think and work in terms of your goals for the day. Figure out what they are first thing in the morning (or, better yet, last thing at night the day before). Get started on that most important goal and keep at it, coming back to it after every interruption, until you've accomplished it. Then move on.</p> <p>Interruptions will happen. Schedules will get completely ruined. But daily goals? You can remember them (without a planner), and you can keep coming back and plugging away no matter what happens in the meantime.</p> <h3>7. Do a weekly plan-and-divide.</h3> <p>Pick a time for a weekly planning session. I like Sunday night, for the obvious reason that it comes right before the beginning of a new week. Preferably do this when you're feeling motivated and fairly energetic. (An espresso does the trick for me...) Write down all the things you want to accomplish on Monday. Go ahead, be ambitious! Then stop. Don't make any more lists for Tuesday, Wednesday, and so on. Instead, divide Monday's list out into the whole week. You'll be looking, most likely, at a reasonable amount of stuff to do within a week, given all your other obligations, events, activities, and the invariable interruptions.</p> <h3>8. Start out with a vengeance.</h3> <p>Conquer the morning, and you have conquered the day. This doesn't mean you have to get up at 4 a.m., though I personally find I'm much more productive when I do get up early. But get up, get through your morning routine, and get started as soon as possible on the most important task for the day. You'll set the tone &mdash; energy begets energy, and progress begets progress. And you'll also get to your most-important-thing first, so if the rest of the day does fall apart, you've still reached that goal.</p> <h3>9. Time yourself.</h3> <p>The little things kill you in two ways &mdash; you either overestimate or underestimate how much time they will take. If you overestimate, then you keep putting that task off because you think you don't have time for it. Meanwhile, it's a mental distraction, hanging over you and keeping you from being as productive as you could be. If you underestimate, then you get caught up in that little task and spend far more time on it that it deserves. Facebook, anyone?</p> <p>Use a timer to find out <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-time-with-batch-processing">how little time some tasks take</a>, so you know you can get them done in between phone calls. And use a timer to stop yourself on those other tasks that tend to eat up more time than they should.</p> <h3>10. Expect an ebb and flow of productivity.</h3> <p>No matter what the productivity gurus might say, nobody can be at 100% maximum output all of the time. We all have different work rhythms to consider, as well as normal living and working patterns that affect what we can accomplish. Figure out what your best work hours are and try to get a solid block of time then to do your most important work. Then expect that you'll tone down in productivity, get some smaller tasks done, or take a break. The same goes for the days of the week; I find that I usually have a very productive, energetic day followed by a more mellow day. If you pay attention and see your own patterns, you'll be able to schedule unavoidable but less-important stuff (meetings, reports, things like that) for your less-productive times and mellow days. Then you can focus your best hours and most energetic days on the most important work.</p> <p>Do you have any real-life productivity hacks from your own experience? Share them in the comments so we can all benefit! I'm always looking for ways to get more done in a day and have a good time while I'm at it.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-productivity-hacks-from-a-work-at-home-mom">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-a-deep-declutter-can-improve-your-life">12 Ways a Deep Declutter Can Improve Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-organizing-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Easy Organizing Changes You Can Make Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tools-that-stop-computer-distractions-and-help-you-stay-on-task">6 Tools That Stop Computer Distractions and Help You Stay on Task</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-finding-legitimate-work-at-home-opportunities">Tips for Finding Legitimate Work at Home Opportunities</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-make-multitasking-actually-work">The Simple Way to Make Multitasking Actually Work</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Productivity decluttering distraction multitasking work at home Thu, 30 Jun 2011 10:24:09 +0000 Annie Mueller 602193 at http://www.wisebread.com The Fallacy of Multitasking http://www.wisebread.com/the-fallacy-of-multitasking <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-fallacy-of-multitasking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/multitasking.jpg" alt="Man with four hands multitasking" title="Man with four hands multitasking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="156" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Let's imagine that you finally decide to ignore the latte factor and buy a cup of $5 iced coffee at the nearby coffee shop. It smells good, but you want to drive home before you drink it because your baby just started crying, and you know she wants to be home as soon as possible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-why-keeping-your-latte-factor-will-help-you-save-money">3 Reasons Why Keeping Your &quot;Latte Factor&quot; Will Help You Save Money</a>)</p> <p>You get out of your car, holding the cup of coffee in one hand and while carrying your baby home, and she decides that the coffee is better on the ground than in your hand. Slap! With baby arms swinging, all you can manage is the look of disbelief as you see your coffee splattered all over your front lawn.&nbsp;</p> <p>You ask yourself why you didn't just carry the baby into the living room before going back out to get the coffee, but what's done is done. You make sure your child is safe, and then you quickly try to undo the new &quot;brown grass&quot; that you just created. In an effort to save about 35 seconds of your life, you wasted that cup of coffee, managed to wipe that smile off your face, and spent another 10 minutes trying to turn brown back to green.</p> <h3>Misconceptions of Multitasking</h3> <p>I hope this doesn't sound familiar, but how many times have you tried to do two things at once, only to end up taking more time than if you just focused on one task at a time?</p> <p>Every time I hire someone, I make it a point to discuss multitasking if the word ever shows up on the resume. Many people think that multitasking simply means doing two things at once, but it's seldom possible. What ends up happening is that the quality of work on both tasks suffers, and sometimes, things even need to be redone. This is the opposite of efficiency.</p> <h3>There's No True Multitasking</h3> <p>In reality, we just aren't wired to perform two tasks at once. And this may come as a surprise to some, but neither are computers. What actually happens is that all the resources of the computer are shared by each task, with some resources used to handle the switching between the tasks. The illusion of true multitasking only happens because the computer can do this so efficiently and quickly that it <em>seems</em> to be doing everything at once. Have you ever tried to open many different programs, and they all take forever to load? This is multitasking at work.</p> <h3>How to Improve Your Efficiency</h3> <p>Instead of trying to do two things at the same time, you should actually be trying to focus on one task at a time. Get one thing done, then move onto the next. In real life, there will no doubt be times when you have to handle two projects concurrently. In these cases, you still have to focus on one project at a time. Work on one, then set it aside while you work on the other. Anytime you try to switch between the two means time lost, so do your best to keep &quot;project hopping&quot; to a minimum!</p> <p>Additionally, here are some tips to help you focus on only one task:</p> <ul> <li>Cut out distractions by learning to say no.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-time-by-spending-time">Write down everything about the project</a> you aren't working on at the moment, so you don't have to think about it or worry that you will forget about little details.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Put a higher emphasis on having enough sleep. It's hard, I know, but when you aren't tired all the time, you will be able to concentrate better and you can get everything done more quickly, giving you a bit more time to have more sleep.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Check out these tips to help you get more done.</li> </ul> <p>Next time you try to multitask, beware of the loss in efficiency, and think twice before you try to work on two tasks at once.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/david-ning">David Ning</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fallacy-of-multitasking">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/productivity-tips-to-carry-you-through-2012">Productivity Tips to Carry You Through 2012</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-areas-where-you-can-eliminate-distractions">6 Areas Where You Can Eliminate Distractions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-things-to-do-during-your-commute-even-if-you-drive">10 Smart Things to Do During Your Commute (Even If You Drive!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shhhhh-how-to-block-out-noise">Shhhhh: How to Block Out Noise</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-stay-motivated-on-the-job">6 Ways to Stay Motivated on the Job</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Productivity efficiency multitasking stay focused Tue, 15 Feb 2011 13:00:16 +0000 David Ning 490679 at http://www.wisebread.com