A couple of days ago the 99% posted an article on “layering” versus multi-tasking and how that affects productivity. Let’s forget for a moment that author Elizabeth Grace Saunders has the dubious title of “time coach,” and instead focus on the merits of layering.
Saunders defines “layering” as:
So Saunders iterates that you can mix up these channels to do two things at once like listening to a podcast and tidying up your desk or eating a sandwich and reading a book.
Some of her examples seem weird to me. For example, I would not talk to friends or read a book while running on a treadmill because, really, some tasks require your full attention so that you don’t injure yourself. You know what I mean, gym rats.
On the other hand, sometimes I need to do “physical” tasks in order to work through some mental ideas. I drafted this blog post, a cover letter and a to-do list while I was washing the dishes not 10 minutes ago. Because I tend to do this daily, I have pens and notebooks scattered about to make sure I capture a brain wave (even if it turns into more of a brain blip).
My rules of layering are:
– Make sure one of the tasks you’re doing won’t cause you injury without your full attention
– Keep a notebook by you at all times to jot down random thoughts
– Don’t get too lost in your thoughts otherwise you’ll have a very irate Burger King cashier screaming, “NEXT CUSTOMER!” at you while simultaneously deciding whether or not to spit in your mayo