How it gets done

"But Father! But Father!", ring the incipits of some e-mails. "How do you get everything done?  You seem to read a lot and post a lot." 

This is how it gets done, sometimes.

I multitask.

For example, this is how I read a 28K word encyclical.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Tony says:

    So that’s how popes must do it! Or else, they delegate. Prolly the latter.. :(

  2. Joel L says:

    Don’t lock your knees.

  3. JML says:

    So how many words / mile? :)

  4. Salvatore Giuseppe says:

    I would get the worst headache trying to look at a screen while on that thing

  5. Cory says:

    Actually I see your reasoning Father. If you read something that makes you mad, you have a constructive way to deal with it :)

  6. Malcolm says:

    This reminds me a lot of Bruce Lee. He used to read and work out at the same time. I’ll be impressed when you can do pull ups and type posts at the same time. ;)

  7. JML: Good question! I haven’t tracked that. But I was making notes along the way on the copy and going back over things.

  8. jjackson says:

    That’s awesome.

  9. Multi-task? I bet you have a book on tape going through your earphones while you are sleeping too!(chuckle)

    And if not; WHY NOT!!!

  10. Jose says:

    You’re already reading the encyclical? Lucky!

  11. Ann says:

    I keep telling hubby I want a treadmill with a computer mounted on it–your set up looks wonderful!

  12. Jack says:

    nice one Father :)

  13. Kradcliffe says:

    I love it!
    I guess those long, cold winters and all that gourmet cooking makes such multitasking necessary.

  14. Andrew, medievalist says:

    Is that how that particular laptop is powered? ;-) [I tried steam power, but I find that electricity works marginally better.]

  15. Thomas Herge says:

    I read my breviary while walking, but this is crazy.

  16. Craig says:

    Well done Father!
    I’ve seen similar setups on stationary bikes and have been contemplating something like this for a long time.

  17. Jack says:

    question Father, isn’t that set-up just asking for repetative strain injury?

  18. The Masked Chicken says:

    This reminds me of the closing credit portion of the old Jetson’s cartoons, where George is out walking Astro on an electronic treadmill.

    Seriously, this would be a great way to lose weight. I wonder how many watts/hour such a treadmill would generate. Even better, perhaps one could have a serving tray on top so while one eats dinner one works off the calories. Zero sum dining, sigh.

    The Chicken

  19. Ohio Annie says:

    masked chicken, The power output is determined by the “driver” but there is an electronic thing which keeps track of that if you input your weight, at least on the one I have used. If you can manage to keep your hands off the rails you use more energy of course. There is a tendency to lean on them.

    Jack, I don’t think repetitive stress would be a problem for this if it is used with normal frequency and duration.

    The hard part is keeping track of the Hail Marys when saying the rosary on a rowing machine!


  20. Marty says:

    Father — I prefer the treadmill to the elliptical — but my favorite thing to listen to on the IPod while there are your podcasts. Thanks for making my workouts easier, and please keep those podcasts coming!

  21. Hans says:

    I’m with Andrew and TMC in wondering if you generate power for the laptop that way? In the ‘Spirit of Multitasking’, don’t you know.

  22. Ben Anderson says:

    I’ve tried similar things with book magnifiers on a music stand. My main issue is the bouncing makes it very difficult to read. I currently have been watching netflix on demand because I haven’t been able to read. I figure when the prices are more reasonable, I’ll get a projector and a presentation mouse. This way I can blow up the words really big on the distant wall – so the bouncing factor will be minimized. Actually glancing at ebay, you might be able to get a cheap projector for less than $200.

  23. A Random Friar says:

    I presumed it was the Gevalia French Press IV Drip.

  24. irishgirl says:

    That looks pretty cool. Fr. Z!

    I can’t ‘multi-task’….

  25. I have always been able to read with ease in moving vehicles, etc. So, I can read and actually write on this contraption. But as the years pass, I find I must have silence… or at least no music or tv, etc., when doing anything serious.

  26. Father Totton says:

    On a related note, a local university is converting the elliptical machines in their rec center to generate auxiliary power for the rec center. Of course they will still be plugged into the grid.

  27. I hear of more and more priests that do this. They might do the office or their rosary while on the treadmill or elipticals. Kudos to you Father for keeping up on your health :)

  28. Mary says:

    Ohio Annie, I just read an article by a Chinese priest suggesting a method of counting rosary beads with no fingers: you think of ten pictures in your head for each mystery and move from one to the next. When you come to the last, you say the Glory Be! For example, for the Nativity, you can imagine St. Joseph loading the donkey, Mary and Joseph walking towards Bethlehem, St. Joseph trying an inn, the offer of the stable, and 6 more scenes. It would take some practice, but it sounds neat.

    If there are 10 objects in the room, you can also look at each of them in turn.

  29. Mary: That sounds like the old “memory place” technique.

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