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How (metaphorically) to run and knit at the same time

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Knitting and running at the same time is a particularly intense form of multitasking.
Knitting and running at the same time is a particularly intense form of multitasking. - (Thinkstock)

The parentheses aren't because it can't be done, as I'll explain below, but because I sure as hell don't know how to do it.

Successful people multitask. They keep several ideas in their mind at once. They work efficiently and effectively on many concurrent projects. They can run and knit at the same time, at least metaphorically.

But some, like Missouri professor David Babcock, ran and knitted at the same time not metaphorically. Babcock, a design professor, completed a 12-foot scarf while he participated in the Kansas City Marathon.

Now, someone I know very well but whom I won't name in case they would prefer their secret knitting life be kept out of the public eye (such as it is on my little blog corner of NJBIZ...) is a knitting enthusiast. She may, if asked, call herself beginner, but she is obviously talented. She tells me it's something that requires concentration and focus. You can probably watch some television or a movie while you do it. But running?

The question is: how do you avoid crossing the line between multitasking and simply losing focus? At home, at work, or at a marathon with a huge amount of yarn, developing a set of personal best practices can make the difference between actually getting a lot done and just appearing to work hard.

As the Kansas City Star reports, Babcock learned through trial and error his yarn "had to be acrylic; natural fibers pick up sweat." He also uses a carabiner to secure the scar as it grows larger during a run.

Yeah, he's done this before.

Other knitting runners may find Babcock's technique doesn't quite work for them. I've spoken to many people over the years who labor through popular productivity methods, like Getting Things Done, that don't really feel like a fit for them. It's okay to aspire to being able to knit while you run, or look for article ideas while you finish the TPS reports. But find the best method for you.

I've found the trick, for me, is to automate repetitive tasks, use calendars, apps or sticky notes to track simple stuff and be prepared to ask smart questions. I do these things with Texter, an invaluable auto-replace app for Windows; Evernote, a note-taking and web-clipping service; and Any.do, a task app with location-based reminders.

I'd love to find out how you knit and run, metaphorically or otherwise, in the comments, on Facebook or on Twitter.

Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@njbiz.com

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