Facebook Pixel

How To Multi-Task Effectively

Rate This

More Videos from Howdini 30 videos in this series

How do you keep track of all the chores, tasks and obligations in your life every day? Psychologist Dr. Cynthia Green, author of Total Memory Workout, has tips to help you multi-task effectively.

STACEY: I’m Stacey Tisdale for howdini.com. Multi-tasking is part of a routine life these days; we’re all so busy. But sometimes in the process of multi-tasking, we forget some of those tasks – they simply fall through the cracks. Well here to help us avoid that, Dr. Cynthia Green, psychologist and author of Total Memory Workout. Thank you so much for joining us.

CYNTHIA: Thank you.

STACEY: A lot of people are focusing on things like mindfulness training, and the practice is to do one thing at a time. So how does the whole notion of multi-tasking play into that?

CYNTHIA: Certainly, one of the things that we can do is learn to focus. If you take your typical office setting, researchers have found in those settings that people are so torn in so many different directions, and so responsive to their emails the phone ringing, that they’re not focused; they’re not doing one thing at a time. And in fact, they have so little time to get a task done, that they feel even more harried because they can’t accomplish anything because of the distractions. Being mindful, or being focused, and training yourself to kind of avoid those distractions, is just to stay in the moment, will allow you to retrain yourself to pay attention.

STACEY: People are proud to be multi-taskers, but is it an unhealthy practice? So you can’t give a hundred percent of your attention to two things at once.

CYNTHIA: Two of the best things we can do, is number one, to train our attention in two ways. One, for most of us who are kind of beset by this kind of multi-tasking, the real challenge is to learn to be still and to be focused, and a lot of techniques – like the one you mentioned on mindfulness or other stress reduction techniques – kind of can help retrain us to be focused on one thing at a time. The second thing, is that sometimes that challenge has shortened our attention span.

STACEY: Right.

CYNTHIA: In other words, we are used to only focusing on shorter periods of time on any one thing. We can train ourselves to expand our attention span by doing exercises that can build attention, and a lot of those exercises are things like games where we have to stay focused to do well. So it’s a combination of those two factors that can be helpful to build attention. Finally, my last tip is to be organized; to think in an orderly and methodical fashion about what we’re trying to do, to use organizational tools such as lists and reminder notes to help keep track of things so that they’re going to be easier for us to remember.

STACEY: And turn off those blackberry’s and cell phones when we’re setting aside that time.


STACEY: Great advice, we’ll give it a shot. Thank you so much for joining us.

CYNTHIA: Thank you.

STACEY: I’m Stacey Tisdale for howdini.com.

Howdini is life’s little instruction manual, in HD. We’re all about bringing together the top, most respected experts in their fields to help us be the best we can be at all of the little and not-so-little challenges of our complicated lives. Howdini is the place to be for the know-how you want, when you need it. Or maybe it’s the know-how you need, when you want it. Whatever. We’re here to help. So come in and look around, won’t you?

We think you’ll love finding everything you want to learn about in one convenient place, and as we grow and add more categories and more Howdinis, you’ll be doing less surfing and more learning right here. And unlike television, Howdinis aren’t limited by time—we don’t have to break for commercials, and we’re always on.

Who is Howdini?

People often ask us, is there an actual person who is Howdini? And the answer is, it’s kind of like Lassie. Just as there were many Lassies, there are many individuals who are called Howdini. In fact, each of our experts is a Howdini, and, like all those Lassies, they really know their tricks. (Although so far there is no ‘How to tell your master that Timmy is trapped in the old abandoned mine’ segment)

Our gurus are people you know and trust because you’ve been getting advice from them for years, at places like Good Morning America, The Today Show, Money, Prevention, and Food and Wine (to name just a few). Many are best-selling authors. Others, like our medical experts, are respected leaders in their fields.

Howdini History

The first Howdini was Joanna Breen, who left a comfortable career at ABC’s 20/20 to create a how to video website after one too many frustrating experiences with handymen who weren’t that handy. Joanna had traveled the world reporting with Barbara Walters and others on injustice, outrage, and tragedy, but now it was time to turn her talents to dealing with crises closer to home, like what do you do if you drop your diamond ring down the drain. Joanna is the quintessential can-do girl, so she didn’t find the prospect of launching a gigantic website the least bit daunting. (Ok, that last part isn’t entirely true.)

Joanna convinced an old ABC News buddy, Shelley Lewis, to join her. Shelley had supervised roughly 9.7 million helpful how to segments during a long career executive producing television shows like Good Morning America and CNN’s American Morning. A self-described “info-pig” who loves all kinds of information programming, she is never happier than when she’s learning an amazing new tip that she can annoy share with everyone she knows. Needless to say, Howdini was a dream gig for her. A career woman, a wife, a mother, and author of two books, Shelley considers herself equally challenged by all the facets of her life.

Joanna and Shelley were introduced to marketing executive Alison Provost by a mutual friend who knew that Alison had what they needed - entrepreneurial experience, patience, and a checkbook that still had checks in it. Joanna and Shelley could see right away that Alison should join Howdini. They figured that they would take care of the programming, and Alison would bring trustworthy sponsors to help pay the bills. It took Alison significantly longer to be convinced, maybe because she was crazy busy running a marketing firm called PowerPact, which she continues to oversee while serving as the biggest of big cheeses at Howdini. But whether it’s playing Suduko or launching a new business in a field she knows little about, Alison loves the challenge of a good puzzle, It wasn’t long before she began dropping obscure internet terms like “user-interface” and “googlebot” into casual conversation.

What’s Next for Howdini?

Our goals are modest. Complete and total domination of the internet, crushing Google, Microsoft, and any other punks who get in our way. (Hey, it’s a just a goal.) But until then, we will content ourselves making the best, most professional, most credible how to videos you can find anywhere. We want to help you solve your career issues, your parenting problems, your money troubles. We want you to be more glamorous, healthier, and less stressed out. We want you to check Howdini every day for fun, interesting, useful advice from experts you know and trust.

We want to make Howdini the community you love to be part of every day, To do that, we need to hear from you. Please share your suggestions, rate and comment on the Howdini videos, and the blog, (The Howdini blog). Tell us what you’d like us to create for you.

And then, when we’ve achieved that, it’s back to working on complete and total domination of the internet.

Add a Comment1 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

It's nice to see the Pentium brand still kicking around after all these years, and Acer has put it to good use in its Aspire V5 laptop-www.ahappydeal.com

April 7, 2013 - 6:49pm
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment