Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Staying Focused and the Power of Multi-Tasking
by Hope White

 As a writer, mother and cat herder, I often find myself pressed for time.  That’s why I’ve developed two important practices:  staying focused and multi-tasking, and I don’t just mean cooking dinner while talking on the phone.   I’ve challenged myself to come up with other ways to maximize my time so I can effectively meet deadlines.

 The Magical Timer

You’d be shocked by how much you can get done if you hit a timer for 60 minutes.  I don’t know about you, but if I give myself three hours to complete a task, it can take four. But if I set a time limit by gosh I’m going to finish that project no matter what!  That’s just me. 

 Merry Maid

Cleaning the house has never been one of my favorite chores, so I decided to pair that productive task with something fun:  listening to music, or workshops.  Music energizes me, and if I listen to great music while cleaning the house, I end up feeling charged up and ready to take on my next project, especially a writing project.  I also download podcasts and workshops about writing and the movie business (I’m a novelist and screenwriter) so I’m learning as I dust under the sofa for pet hair.
Ivy Therapy

Things grow like crazy in the Pacific Northwest thanks to the rain.  I didn’t realize how determined ivy could be until it had practically taken over the driveway!  It’s no fun to get into a battle with ivy because most of the time you feel like you pull and tug and somehow the roots grow deeper.  So I created Ivy Therapy.  For me, it’s a great way to get fresh air, exercise, and catch up with old friends!  I bought a high quality earpiece for my cell phone and chat with friends and family while ripping and tugging.  I practice “talking and tasking” all the time.  In other words, if I’m talking on the phone I’ll also be completing a task (dusting, cleaning bathrooms, scooping cat litter). 

Sneaking in Exercise

I’m not a huge fan of exercise (read:  I hate to exercise!), but I can appreciate how good it is for my body.  Like a spoonful of sugar helping the medicine go down, I pair exercise with other activities I enjoy: walking outside and talking to a best friend on my cell phone; walking while listening to music; reading an engaging book while riding the exercycle.   Maybe it seems obvious, but it’s not easy getting me on the stationary bike, and if I can tempt myself with a fabulous read I stand a better chance of clocking much-needed minutes.

In essence, I like to combine the “have to’s” with the “want to’s.”  That way I get a lot accomplished, but I’m still having a good time.  And that’s what I strive to do -- appreciate every moment as much as possible.

Do you multi-task on a regular basis?  If so, what kinds of activities do you combine for maximum productivity?

Thanks to Michelle at Prima by Design for hosting me today on her blog.  I’ve learned so much about organizing and productivity from reading her words of wisdom. 

Take care!

Hope White

Hope writes romantic fiction for Love Inspired Suspense.  Her fourth book, “Small Town Protector” will hit shelves July 1.   It received a 4-star review from RT Bookclub Magazine.  (

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