Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Time: The Podcast Multitask

I talked about money on Tuesdays in July and now am going to do a (rough) series on time management for August.  Time management and living a more intentional life has been my focus point for the year, as I outlined with my resolutions back in January.  We're more than half way through the year and while I know I still waste too much time (looking at time spent on you, iPhone, shopping at Target...), I think I have gotten better in some areas because as much as I feel like I could use my time better, I'm also (occasionally) amazed at all I can get done.

I feel more qualified to give advice on money than on time because I certainly feel I handle the former better than the latter.  But also, there is something very universal about exploring time management.  We all have different financial situations, obligations, priorities and while no two people probably share the exact same time priorities, we all have the same amount, in every single week of our lives: 168 hours (barring any travel across time zones, but that typically averages out in the end).

I realize I have more "free" time than many people.  I'm (mostly) a stay at home Mom to one child who is fairly self-sufficient, for a young kid.  Meaning, he can feed himself, mostly handles his bathroom duties, and plays well on his own (sometimes).  (Obviously we are with or very near him all day and interact with him a ton, but it's not like when he was a baby and I spent hours on the couch giving him bottles.)  I work just 3 hours a week.  We still attempt naps most days.  He sleeps ~12 hours a night.  Matt works a fairly consistent 8-5 schedule.  I rarely have pressing demands on my schedule and it's absolutely wonderful.  Just judging from the number of books I read in a year (currently on #75 as I write this), I get a good amount of "me" time. 

Now, while this first post doesn't have any superstar time saving/management ideas, it is about one of my favorite ways I've recently discovered to multi-task.  Podcasts.  When I told Matt I was going to write about these (since he's caught me listening to them on many, many occasions), he asked me if it was the 90s...because they have been around for a long time.  Then the next day he asked how I find and listen to them because he wants to get in on it too.  I've only been listening to most for 4-6 weeks and I know we can't be the last people to get on the podcast train (I was also pretty late to the blog train).

When I first found a podcast I wanted to listen to I wondered how the heck I was going to find an hour in my day to just sit and listen.  Despite the free time I do get, just sitting around listening to something wasn't my ideal way of how to spend it.  Then I realized something.  Podcasts are perfect for turning on in the background while working through all the things that need done but aren't particularly enjoyable or brain intensive:
  • dishes
  • almost all household cleaning (vacuuming excluded, obviously)
  • switching loads of laundry
  • making meals
  • cleaning up from meals
  • getting ready after a shower
  • packing bags for the lake
  • editing pictures for the blog
  • doing all my picture sorting and tagging
  • paying bills
  • driving by myself
  • at work doing bills
I've even started listening to podcasts while shredding in the morning, having done these exercises for ~4 months and even having Jillian's banter memorized at this point (but keeping it just loud enough that I can hear her when it's time to switch moves.)

I'm amazed at how many I can get through in a week, even if I only listen to them when I'm alone.  It's waaay more than that initial hour I wondered how I'd have time to listen to!  I generally only listen when Luke is in the other room playing, sleeping, or with Matt somewhere, rarely when he's right next to me.  I can't listen while I'm reading (books or even just Facebook) or writing (this blog) but they help so many other mindless tasks more enjoyable.  They even help me keep my house a little bit cleaner because I'll spend extra time, say cleaning up in the kitchen, if I have an episode I want to finish, instead of just refreshing Feedly for the 20th time that day.

I've just been using the standard podcast app on my iPhone although I know there are others.  I subscribe to my favorites and new episodes automatically download when I open it each morning (I don't have anything on my phone background refresh, other than app updates). I know basically nothing about non iPhone smart phones but I'm sure you have an app too?  There are thousands and thousands of podcasts out there and it'd be almost impossible not to find something you are interested in.  I'm sure every topic under the sun is covered somewhere. 

It's been a wonderful way to feel like I get some brain nourishment while also getting things done around the house (which doesn't really happen while reading blogs).  I look forward to listening to my favorites and they make mundane tasks a little more exciting.

Next week I'm going to give you some of my favorites but am always open to more suggestions!  Have you jumped on the podcast train?  Please tell me we aren't the last.  Or at least not the last by years...

You can't tell but I was listening to a podcast on my phone as I took this picture.

No comments: