How to Chew Gum and Talk to your Congressman (at the same time)

You may have heard that it is rude to chew gum while talking -- Yes, but that is not point of this article.  Instead, it's amazing how well the human body can multi-task throughout the day (as long as you are resourceful and resolute in structuring your schedule).

Yes, you shouldn't listen to the radio and TV at the same time while carrying out a philosophical conversation on the phone.   But there are many other ways to multi-task smartly.

It all depends on the activity and whether or not it is Physical, Mental or even Emotional.  One of both these type of activities can be done in unison since they don't over drain the human body's core mental or muscular functions.

Here are activities that will not hinder your ability to concentrate while getting chores done, so you should try to do them as often possible.
  1. Studying (Brain) and edit video on Final Cut (Semi-Brain, Semi-Functional) -- This is not done at the same time.  You do a little bit of editing and during the time it takes for the video to render, you can shift to studying and vice versa.  Note: Unless during finals or major projects, I am not normally a big fan of studying for long periods of time. Instead, study for an hour or two, then take a break by doing something else (preferably functional).
  2. Cooking (Functional) and watching the news or listening to my class recording (Brain)
  3. Talking on the phone (Brain) and walking (Physical)
  4. Jogging and listening to tapes or watching TV (treadmill)
  5. Talking and Checking routine email (not writing email)
  6. Talking to friend in car (Brain) while driving (Functional) -- Not on the cell phone, though.
  7. Reading the paper (Brain) while waiting for the Metro (Routine)
  8. Thinking about your job tasks (Brain) while running (Physical)
Also it matters what type of the brain you tap.

For example tonight I am editing video (creativity), while studying Macroeconomics (logical) while answering email (social).  Meanwhile I am listening to my class lecture from my Iphone  while I am reading my textbook and blogging about the topic that I'm studying.

Hey, if the IPhone 4 can multitask, then why shouldn't it be considered cool?  I can talk on the phone or VoIP, all while checking email and getting directions on GPS, all without losing a beat.

Now the only time it is ok to multi-task two tasks that are competing with each other is if what you are doing will better support the first activity:
  1. Checking Wikipedia or Google during the Professor's class lectures (provides on-the-spot context for difficult topics)
  2. Talking to someone over the phone while checking their facebook page (allows you to ask questions about their family and hobbies)
  3. Reviewing resume while interviewing candidate
Is it rude for someone not to provide the speaker with undivided attention because he is checking email, the news?  Well, welcome to post-2010, where Tweets, Texts and Facebook Feeds are replacing the face time.

So it all depends: a date or a special dinner -- please provide them your undivided attention.  Anything else (roommate), it all depends on the individual and the program.  

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