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‘Multipliers’ are key to rethinking time

Nov 18 2013

What’s your number one challenge? For most people, the answer to this question is that they don’t have enough time. They have too many goals and not enough time to do them.

“We have multiple parts of ourselves and... each are associated with different goals,”  Stanford Professor of Marketing Jennifer Aaker says in the newly released Rethinking Time video module. “The problem is sometimes these goals start to compete with each other. And when you have limited time and resources the question becomes, can you reframe time such that you can achieve multiple goals at the same time?

Aaker contends that you can. With a background in researching the intersection of time, happiness, and money, she offers a new solution: Aaker urges us to rethink time. Instead of relying on multitasking, where multiple tasks are done at the same time and you’re less present, she calls for “Multipliers.”

A Multiplier is one activity that fulfills several goals. If fitness and bonding with a family member are important to you, combine these goals by going for a hike with your sister. You can take things a step further. If you need to discuss plans for the family business, make the Multiplier a triple by discussing business objectives with your sister while hiking.

“It started simply: go on a walk with my spouse and talk a little bit about work,” Clayman Institute Advisory Committee member and Forshay founder Sally Thornton says in the Rethinking Time module. “I kept thinking how I could continue to combine ideas together that make more goals achievable versus the idea I had before of multitasking which made me feel very divided.”

The Clayman Institute for Gender Research, in partnership with Leanin.org, went live with its sixth video November 20. The modules are part of Clayman’s growing Voice & Influence program, which uses video to translate academic research into accessible terms and present clear actions so that viewers can implement change that very day.

Each faculty presenter distilled her research — what can often stretch to a ten-week course or three-hour lecture — into a short format. Each video is paired with discussion guide materials for a facilitated conversation. Viewers can access these guides individually or in groups, such as corporate Women’s Initiative Networks, alumnae associations, or Lean In Circles.

Once you identify Multipliers and you bring friends and family onboard, you should protect these activities in your calendar, says Aaker. And before you say yes to any activity, she urges you to ask yourself if you can make it double, a triple, or even a home run.

A gender lens
exposes gaps in knowledge,
identifies root causes of barriers,
and proposes workable solutions.