The Joys of Multitasking

I have a lot of areas I work in….photography – audio – video – cine’ film – print archive. And within these areas there are hundreds of sub-areas I work in. I could never get much of this work done if I didn’t multitask. Now, I don’t like to multitask, but it is what it proverbially is. I got no help, so it is either I multitask and get more done or I don’t multitask and get very little done.

Some of the work I do is very conducive to multitasking. Digitizing VHS or Betamax tapes is an example. I can set a tape up and go away for an hour or two and do other work. I just need to look in on the transfer once in a while to see what is going on. Keeping an eye of the progress is one of the reason I got a folding cart. I can wheel it around to wherever I’m working to check out things.

But depending on the work I’m doing, I have to be careful with distractions, even momentary ones.

I almost cut the tip of my thumb off the other day while using a guillotine cutter. Too much attention to the monitor screen not enough attention to the cutter blade.

Internet Photo : Fair Use

Luckily for me I only lost a chunk of my fingernail and and some skin. It has since grown back with a small dent in the thumb.

I’ve done it before, almost the exact same thing with a corner rounder. I was working on some artists books and didn’t pay attention and…boom! That one needed stiches. But no med insurance and emergency rooms are stupendous in cost, so I made due with keeping it taped up tight for a couple weeks.

Selection from Audio Reel Tape Archive artist’s book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Audio work is another area that lends itself to multitasking. (Note, don’t use audio tape end clips…they can damage the edges of the tape.) I can transcribe reel to reel tape, L.P.’s and 78’s and do other things. Such as stamping DVD’s, post processing and exporting photos from Lightroom or cutting down some 4×6 paper for a run of RPPC’s to be sent out.

The sheet-fed scanner is a big help for multitasking. It can spit out scans front and back, auto cropped while I’m watching a YouTube video or listening to the audio. I can be burning CD’s or DVD’s or printing RPPC’s or prints with my 2nd computer. I can be uploading or downloading while I do other things. It is a constant run around to see how everything is progressing. And in the Rustbelt, the internet is the worst in the country, so that is a battle in itself.

Sometimes I leave the upload or download going all night and in the morning I find out I’ve been punked!

I’ve got 3 computers I run simultaneously. All my computers are older / cheap models. So I prefer to not do too much on one computer, as they can grind to a standstill if overloaded with work. When I’m doing heavy computer work such as video processing my computer pumps out hot air like a blow dryer and I use a household fan to pump some air into it.

With some time intensive jobs, such as making large prints, I may use my tablet while waiting for it to be done. When I was younger, (early 60’s) I kept 2 to 3 printers going at once for printing an artists’ book run. Now that I’m older, (getting near 70) I’m slowing down some and feeding 3 printers is too much for me. I can tell you when you get old, 10 years makes a big difference.

Production line for De Wallen: Amsterdam’s Red Light District artist’s book.

Using small timers is a big help to keep my check ups timely. It can be hard to keep track of it all. And since time is of the essence I need to keep things running somewhat efficiently. Timers remind me to look in on the progress. One note about timers – if you use them around HDD drives and the timers have magnets in the back, remove the magnets. HDD drives and magnets don’t mix. With SDD drives magnets are not a problem.

I prefer to multitask with long, uninterrupted opportunities to work, like water testing. It takes 6 hours to distill a gallon of water. And just a few more minutes to take photos and write down some notes. So it is a multitasker’s dream for uninterrupted work. I can even distill test water at night while sleeping.

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Richmond, IN tap water

But beggars can’t be proverbial choosers, so I’ll take any opportunity I can get. A lot of the work I do is either in or next to the kitchen, so I am always doing work and trying to cook or eat at the same time.

When making pancakes I have 2 opportunities to get some work done. The first pour gives me 1minute 5 seconds and the flip side of the pancake gives me 27 seconds. Not a lot of time, but I can do some research or answer emails with the wait time. Printing RPPC gives me a similar time frame. Printing post cards generally have a range of 47 seconds to 1 minute 15 seconds. If I have 120 RPPC to print, that is lots of wasted time if I don’t utilize it.

Smoothies are a fast and easy to make liquid meal and really the only option to eat some fruit other than juice when your teeth are shot. I throw in some wheat germ and walnuts for vitamin E, whey powder for protein and some ground pumpkin seeds from China to keep my prostate in shape and boom…got a fast meal.

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Whether liquid or dry food, most of the eating is done standing up while working. Not a good way to live, but that is what happens if you got photography and archival preservation in your blood.

Weegee on the subject…

“Sure. I’d like to live regular. Go home to a good looking wife, a hot dinner, and a husky kid. But I guess I got film in my blood.”


Daniel D.Teoli Jr. Archival Collection
Daniel D.Teoli Jr. Small Gauge Film Archive
Daniel D.Teoli Jr. Advertising Archive
Daniel D.Teoli Jr. VHS Video Archive
Daniel D.Teoli Jr. Audio Archive
Daniel D.Teoli Jr. Social Documentary Photography

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