{DISCUSSION} Multi-Task-Reading

Is it really worth it to multi-task-read?

We’ve discussed before about reading multiple books at one time, which… I’m attempting now that I’ve been informed of some tricks, but… I’m still kind of struggle-bussin’. :p Audiobooks help to compartmentalize because it’s a different voice than when I read (obviously.) But I still kind of like focusing one book at once.

Speaking of focusing, what about reading/listening to a book while doing other things?

I think we can all agree that there just are not enough hours in the day, especially if you work a full-time job and have a family to take care of. That means you either have to pick and choose what you want to do, (or have to do in most cases because you can’t really give up showering in my society) or you have to learn to do multiple things at once. Which some people frown upon or dislike because it can lead to sloppy results due to lack of attention on one individual task.

Still, since there are so few hours in the day and multi-tasking is such a big thing, it seems logical to try and multi-task-read. I know a few people who do it. They’ll listen to audiobooks while doing chores or driving. Or they’ll just have a book plastered to their face while walking to and from wherever they’re going. But…

Is this really a good idea?

I like the idea of multi-task-reading. Don’t get me wrong! I, too, have very few hours in the day what with work (soon to be grad school again), blogging, youtubing, peopleing, walking my dog, etc, etc. So, I don’t always have the time to read the books I need to be reading (especially when I have a review deadline), and being able to read while doing some of these things would be helpful for me. But… I’m not sure it’ll work.

Let me explain: I’ve tried listening to audiobooks while doing laundry, while driving, even at work [yes, it’s allowed. 😉 ], but I always end up missing chunks of text. A crazy driver requires my attention. Something troublesome arrives in my workflow. I can’t find the matching pair to my sock. When this happens, my brain deviates from the book I’m listening to and by the time I remember I have something playing, I don’t even know what I’ve missed.

Was it important? Was it filler? Will I still know what’s going on?

Then, I’m faced with: Well, do I rewind? How much did I actually miss?

I know some people just keep going. They know they missed a piece, but aren’t worried about it. (Those people, in my experience, aren’t reviewers.) As a reviewer, I don’t want to review a book that I only actually digested half of. (reasons why I don’t DNF either.) Or, it’s a book that I’m actually enjoying and I want to make sure I know every detail of what’s going on.

So, I rewind… and then it happens again. And again. And again. Because life is full of interruptions, big and small. Even now, as I’m writing this I’m being interrupted by small snippets of life that force me to put this post on pause until I can return. It’s because of all of this that I wonder whether it’s more hassle or stress than it’s worth to try and multi-task-read.

But what do you think?
Do you multi-task-read?
Leave your thoughts below!

And check out my discussion from last week:
Used Books

27 thoughts on “{DISCUSSION} Multi-Task-Reading”

  1. Multitasking is one of the worst concepts to ever escape corporate America into the wilds of everyday life. I wrote a whole post about how it hurts writers.


    Like others have said, there is hard psychology behind why our brains aren’t wired to do this.

    The fact is, “not enough time” is often a myth. I tried an experiment where I logged the time I spent doing things everyday for a whole week, then reviewed and cut out all useless web browsing, social media, etc. If it wasn’t focused on a goal I stopped. I gained back roughly 3 hours a day to use however I wanted. Far better than multitasking, because I felt more rested and engaged.

    That said, everyone is different, but this worked for me and I’ve been way more productive ever since.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, multi-tasking has been shown to not work and it’s quite a shame. I don’t do it myself, usually (because I know I’m not good at it.) Though, I have so much to do in general that there is still not enough time during the day. I don’t web-browse. Social media is minimal at best (unless you count blogging, but that’s a time-consuming activity to begin with. One I gladly accept.) Sure, if I gave it up, I’d have plenty of time to read and do other things, but we can’t do everything. There is still the need to pick and choose at some point.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Really interesting topic!! And I agree- it’s super difficult to multitask reading with an audiobook, so I rarely do it (I also rarely listen to audiobooks in general). I think I have to be doing something very stress free that doesn’t require any concentration for me to not have to keep rewinding bits cos I missed what was going on. That said, one of the times I found this successful was listening to a Toni Morrison book, because her voice was just so resonant and restful. So in some ways it depends on the book for me. But yeah, a tough one for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t really listen to audiobooks either. Though, I think that’s because I can’t just…sit around and listen. But I also am not very good at multi-task-reading. Thus, audiobooks aren’t really good for me. I wish I could use them while doing other things. I’d burn through books so much faster and I wouldn’t have to always buy them since the library offers them digitally.

      And I have noticed a few voices made the audiobook more interesting. Unfortunately, I dislike more voices than I like and the story for the voice I did like was just garbage. :/

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the idea of audiobooks, but I’m a very visual person; I need the written word.
    I once tried walking and reading. It was going pretty well, until I reached the stairs.
    But yeah, a lot depends on who you are, how your mind works. For me, I’m a bit of a single-minded person, so I generally prefer to focus on one thing, though I have been known to read a first time book and a re-read at the same time, or rather, alternating between the two over a period of weeks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh! I’m a visual learner, too. A teacher could say something at me 3-4 times, but I’d never truly absorb it until I saw it on paper. A shame that they don’t realize there are different ways of learning. :/ It would make things a lot easier in that regard.

      I have tried walking and reading, as well, but I get distracted really easily. I, too, focus on one task at a time because I feel like you end up wasting more time when you’re trying to do multiple tasks at once than if you just focused on them individually and completed them sequentially. But perhaps that’s simply how my brain is organized.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. If listen to an audiobook I still follow with the physical book or an ebook. I’ve tried just listening and unless I’m doing something boring like washing dishes, I’ll forget that’s it’s playing and walk away lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha! Walk away from your book. :p Wearing headphones helps. I can’t really walk away from it without yanking the headphones from my ears.

      Though, I’m not sure I could follow along while listening. I’d rather just read instead. The voice would probably distract me as I know they go slower than I would normally read. :/

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve never tried audio books so far as I should only concentrate on listening or miss some chunks as you said. But I excel at readwalking 🙂 So yes it’s like multi tasking while reading. I can cram more than one read hour a day in doing so (I commute). No attack by savage street lamps so far, no fall in big holes or… I could teach master classes LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha! I can listen to audiobooks when my other task does not require a large portion of thought (ie data entry at work). However, were I to be doing anything else, I highly doubt I’d have any idea what’s going on in the book.

      Well, I am glad to hear you’ve not been attacked by street lamps or swallowed by any manholes. Perhaps you should teach classes. I’m sure there are plenty of book worms out there who’d gladly join that course. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve read a lot about multitasking, and none of it good. Our brains are not designed to multitask. Of course we all do it, but I try to keep it out of reading. Unfortunately, that means I don’t read as much as I’d like.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I’ve heard similar studies regarding how the brain isn’t capable of multi-tasking. We divert our attention and, since we aren’t focusing on just one item, we become sloppy and careless. It really is quite sad. So much could be accomplished if only we could multi-task.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree. But then, as I’ve said before, whn I am reading a really, really great book, my world collapses into it and I can’t see or hear anything except that book’s world. Same thing if I hit that zone, that certain level of consciousness when I am being creative (more so being creative!) – I am so focused there can be absolutely zero distracting me.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I completely agree with you about the audiobooks! When I am driving (especially on my way home from work) I tend to completely zone out. Once at a job interview they asked what the last song I listened to was, and I honestly could not remember! I was so focused on the upcoming interview that I didn’t even hear the song!

    However, I DO multitask while reading. Mostly in terms of watching my son. For example, right now he is happily practicing with scissors two feet away, and in between each sentence I just glance over to make sure he isn’t cutting his fingers off. Or, I read while I cook. What’s more boring than watching your pasta simmer? But as soon as an emergency arises, I can close the book, and pick up later exactly where I left off. No missing anything. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HAhahaha! Oh. I definitely know music. Though, my biggest problem is that I listen to so much music and such a wide variety of genres that I have a hard time remembering what the last song was. There were so many of them! 😀

      Oo! That’s a very good point: listening while cooking. Granted, I listen on a large audiobook with headphones. So, I’ll need to figure that part out, but it is quite boring to wait for water to boil or noodles to cook. A good 20 minutes of a book could be completed in that amount of time. 🙂 Nice idea! I like it!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve almost mastered audiobook multi-tasking now I think! I listen to them mainly while walking to and from work, doing household chores or getting ready for bed. I also listen while exercising, as I find concentrating on a book makes the time go faster. There are always times when I miss something or get distracted, but i find just going back a minute or so as soon as I notice is usually all it needs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! that is quite an accomplishment, Emma! I’m jealous of you. I fear I wouldn’t realize I’m not paying attention until well past a minute, though, but perhaps with some training. It sounds like you have been working on this for quite some time.

      Unfortunately, I can’t listen while exercising. I enjoy running, but running can be boring. So, I need something very upbeat to keep me motivated and even Youtube videos don’t work. So, I can only imagine how hard it would be to listen to an audiobook and keep running.


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