Let’s Talk About…Multitasking While Reading


Reading While Eating

What I say: I read and eat a lot. I know that it’s probably bad for me, because I’ll be more focused on the book rather than my food intake. I honestly just stuff whatever is right in front of me into my mouth without really tasting the food. However, I find this an effective way to not put my book down, and complete a necessary task.

What others say:

Pros: efficient, read on lunch break

Cons: messy, don’t measure food intake


Reading While Watching TV

What I say: I can read textbooks or homework with the TV on, but a pleasure read? Never. I usually do my homework with Netflix or cable blaring from the screen. I do this most likely because I sometimes skim my in-depth read assignments. Yet, if I try this with a book I want to read, my attention will be split. This is kinda odd considering I would hope to pay more attention to a good book than my homework, even with the TV. I guess, my unconscious mind makes me a really good student. O.o

What others say:

Pros: read during commercials

Cons: miss important details, distraction


Reading While Listening to Music

What I say: I don’t know about you, but I cannot read while listening to music. I get too caught up in the lyrics and start singing. I absolutely cannot multitask in this regard. Again, I can listen to music and do homework or other mundane tasks, but not while reading for fun.

What others say:

Pros: book soundtrack while reading book

Cons: pay less attention to one or the other


Reading with Background Noise

What I say: Here, I’m defining background noise as people chattering, animals or objects making noise, or soft instrumental music playing off to the side. My ability to read with background noise varies. Sometimes, I find it absolutely impossible. The slightest sound or provocation can distract me or annoy me. Other times, I can tune of other noises and focus solely on my book to the extent that someone saying my name won’t even catch my attention. Maybe this has to do with the book I’m reading, or the scene in the book. But, I feel like this contradiction also has to do with my mood.

What others say:

Pros: soothing, can read almost anywhere

Cons: annoyed with sounds because quiet is needed, can’t read with full attention


Reading in Public Spaces

What I say: This is a personal no for me, mostly because I am a people-watcher by nature. If I am in a crowded space, I like to observe those around me. When someone walks by, whether I am reading or doing homework or on social media, I usually look up to see who the passerby is.

Another turn-off, is that I don’t like to be judged by my choice of book. Especially when I’m reading a physical copy, it’s easy for others to see what book I’m reading. This also invites people to ask what book I’m reading or if I’m enjoying it, which I don’t always want to answer (especially when I’m absorbed in my bookish world). I’m not ashamed at all by my choices in YA/NA, but I just like that sense of privacy of an eBook or reading at home.

What others say:

Pros: more time for reading, find other bookworms, escape from reality

Cons: people try to start a conversation with you, miss certain interactions


Audiobooks While Walking, Driving, Cleaning, etc.

What I say: I’ve never listened to an audiobook. I just prefer the classic approach to reading with words on a page of a book (whether physical or electronic). When I drive or cook I usually listen to music instead. Maybe one day I’ll start listening to audiobooks. I know a lot of people love them because they are convenient, hands-free, “attention-free,” cheap, and sound nice.

What others say:

Pros: entertainment while completing mundane tasks, save time, perspective

Cons: less engagement, less imagination



Are you a multitasker? Can you/Do you multitask while reading? Do you prefer reading physical books or do you enjoy listening to audiobooks? If you multitask and read, what difficulties do you face? What are advantages or disadvantages you have encountered?


Here is a similar post from Find Me At the Library – Book Discussion: Multitasking While Reading