The performance of more than one task at the same time.
This morning I got up early…well…early for me. I decided to not waste the cooler morning temperatures and take my daily walk. I walk at least 4.3 miles per day which is about 10K steps for me. Before I start, I run a checklist to get out of the garage. I need my hat, sunscreen, grocery bags, and my 36″ pickup and reach tool. I must log my breakfast which includes one hardboiled egg, one Ultra Sunrise Monster Energy Drink (I no longer drink coffee in the morning since COVID changed my taste for it.), and dog treats. Finally, I start the Walkmeter App on my iPhone.
The first thing I do is visit the neighbor’s dogs—a white Labrador and black Labrador named Malibu and Leo. They love to see me. They don’t bark or try and scare me away. At least, not anymore. I started giving them dog treats. They wag their tails and lick the air. Nancy and I don’t have a dog, but for the time it takes for them to enjoy their morning beefy treats, I have two very attentive best friends. They may look a bit tired today. It is July 5th and I’m sure they had a stressful night.
They’re right across the street. My first stop. Now my multitasking can begin in earnest. I start listening to one of my podcasts. There are several I subscribe to: NPR News Now, Stuff You Should Know, The Moth, Hidden Brain, This American Life, TED Talks Daily, TED Tech, Radiolab, Penn’s Sunday School, Today Explained, Stuff They Don’t Want You To Know, Stuff To Blow Your Mind, Godless Rebellution, Ron BurBurgundy, Brave New Planet, Stuff You Should Know, NPR Politics, Rachel Maddow, The Daily, Big Picture Science, Cognitive Dissonance, Monster Talk, OH NO Ross & Carrie, and You Are Not So Smart, Scathing Atheist, Opening Arguments, and a few others. I listen to all of them at 1.75X speed. If I run out of talking podcasts, I switch to music podcasts, usually Oldies or Classic Rock, at 1.0X speed.
It’s not difficult to listen to podcasts on headphones while walking. So, it’s not difficult to also pick up trash along the trail. Today, I added a fourth task—fixing things. I fixed a small flag display and repaired the “Rock Tree” at my turn-around point.
The little flags are getting weatherworn and sometimes the top or the bottom come off the stick. It is an easy fix. I carry 28-gauge annealed specialty wire and my Leatherman multitool. It takes a couple of minutes to poke the wire through the cloth and wrap it around the stick. The hardest part is getting up off the ground when the job is completed.
The “Rock Tree” is about 2.2 miles from my garage door. It is located where I turn around every day. It’s really the stump of a Palo Verde Tree that was growing next to a small Saguaro Cactus. Some time ago I would place small quartz rocks that I would find on the trail on the tree. Then I got the idea to attach other things that I find along the way. There are small glass bead and a wide variety of shiny chrome bicycle parts and reflectors. The last thing I added to the tree was a bundle of streamers the I picked up next to an elementary school. The streamers are easy to see because they glint in the sun. I think they work better on my hat and on the tree than on the ground…don’t you?