Thursday, 10 March 2011

BTT: Multi-Tasking


This week’s Booking Through Thursday question from Deb:

Do you multi-task when you read? Do other things like stirring things on the stove, brushing your teeth, watching television, knitting, walking, et cetera?

Or is it just me, and you sit and do nothing but focus on what you’re reading?

(Or, if you do both, why, when, and which do you prefer?)

I do much of my reading “by ear” – listening to audio books. Sometimes I listen while doing routine things in the kitchen, or ironing etc. It also happens that I listen to a book while out walking. (Not so often since I started taking the camera everywhere, though.)

But holding a book and trying to read while stirring something on the stove… No, that goes beyond my multi-tasking capacity!

I often prefer silence when I read; but if there are other background sounds I prefer my own choice (like soft classical music – nothing that demands too much attention). 

When I started listening to audio books on tapes back in the 90’s one of the reasons was that it allowed me to do other things simultaneously. But then a neck/shoulder injury made me need a lot more rest just lying on my back “doing nothing”, preferably not even holding a book. I’ve also had increasing eye problems. So nowadays much of my audio book listening is done without multi-tasking. But I still regard it as sort of multi-tasking in itself, since it allows me to feel that I’m still “doing something” with my head, even when the rest of the body is resting!

In the picture you see my “bedside equipment”… MP3-player, CD-player, and loudspeakers that can easily be switched from one to the other (or to an old audio cassette player).

My latest discovery is that I can now also borrow “streaming” audio books online from my library. The advantage is that I don’t have to queue for new and popular ones. The disadvantage is that I do have to be online on the computer to listen to them.


  1. i saw the word multi tasking and almost did not come here, i USED to do that, but now can only do one thing at a time. i can't cook and talk, if i do, I leave something out. if i want to read while stirring or watching something on the stove, i have to sit in a chair right in the kitchen or i forget and burn it or boil the eggs for 30 minutes, been there done that last week. i am unable to listen to audio books, i can't concentrate on the story, i listen to the voice and wonder what they look like and try to decide how i would read it differently. when my kids were little i used to fry chicken standing at the stove with a book in my hand, not any longer. and i prefer quiet to read, hubby turns the TV to loud and it talks over my book. i have a friend who travels alone and she listens to audio books while she travels. if i did i would end up in the wrong place

  2. I think I will turn to audio books. It will give me the flexibility I need with my reading!

    Here is my BTT: Multi-Tasking post!

  3. I too cannot multi-task, too simple minded and unable to hold more than one thought at a time. I'd blame it on age but I've always been that way.
    I do "watch" tv and read though, but that's really just background noise.

  4. Great point with Audio Books you have so much flexibility! Here is my answerL:

  5. In my experience, when I'm listening to audiobooks, I really need to have no distractions versus reading a book. Not quite sure why.

    Here's my Multi-Tasking (Booking Through Thursday) post!

  6. My focus is usually on the reading these days, but I used to do a variety of things...

    Here's MY BTT POST

  7. I love your bee in the header! He looks like one of our gentle carpenter bees. I can only do one thing at a time, for sure. If I even boil water and tlk, I seem to mess it up. If I talk to Phil while cooking, I burn everything. I try to do blogs while watching a T.V. show, no luck! I am completly single minded. Too bad I don't have a Dual Core brain, like some computer processors!! Now there are even quad ones!

  8. Mostly, I like a quiet place to read.

  9. I'm a man (the only male to comment, I see) and I can multi-task in that I can eat and read (or do a cross-word) at the same time. Mind you I can't think and suck a sweet at the same time.

  10. GB, I can usually manage to eat and read too. Unless the book requires holding and the food requires use of both hands...

    Funny. I've never thought about whether I can think while sucking a sweet. I wonder what that implies...

  11. I can't do audio books for some reason I just can't follow the story - my brain likes to see the words.
    But I would love to listen to books so I think I am going to give it another try - I can learn right?

  12. Sally, I agree that just listening has disadvantages as well. I find it works better with some books than others. One might also find that one likes some voices better than others. But as for the book itself, I find audio works best for novels that keep a good flow in the story.

  13. I have never tried audio books, but I listen to the radio when I go to bed and when I wake up.

  14. Audio books, I gotta give that I try. Thanks for stopping by my post. =)


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