You may have heard that you can’t do it all. If you’re working at a start-up, it is going to suck up your whole life into this black hole for time. You’re going to get fat. You’ll forget everything that doesn’t relate to making a robot shopper, or ecommerce site for gorilla suits or whatever it is that your company is doing.
Multi-tasking is not evil
Everyone from lifehacker to Time magazine will tell you that multi-tasking is bad for you.
There is a specific type of multi-tasking though that can be beneficial and that is when you combine two things, only one of which requires cognitive effort.
For example, I have trouble finding time to exercise given all of the requirements as CEO of 7 Generation Games. I also think it is extremely important to be continually learning. I try every morning to spend 30 minutes to an hour reading technical books on everything from PHP to game design. It’s not enough to just be doing research on how to solve problems you encounter in the projects you are working on. There may be functions, techniques, ideas that have not even occurred to you.
Every morning that I’m at home I try to spend 30 minutes on the exercise bike watching youtube videos on PHP, JSON objects or whatever else seems it might be interesting and/or useful.
I would strongly recommend this type of multi-tasking as a major help in getting things done. It’s important to stay in shape. It doesn’t help you to make $10 billion if you drop dead of a heart attack when you’re 43.
The other advantage for me is that I DO tend to “multi-task” when I’m sitting at my computer. I love programming but I find reading most technical books and videos as boring as watching paint dry. I will read two pages and check twitter, watch three minutes of a video and check my email. It might take me 30 minutes to get through a 16 minute video. Being on the exercise bike, I can’t do that. So, contrary to that other type of multi-tasking, I actually get twice as much done.
So, there you have it – how to get smarter and thinner while still having time to devote to your start-up.