Staying Productive using Multitasking?

Sometimes the task I am doing has wait periods. As an IT guy, I install a lot of software, or test scripts. What do I do while those are running can often determine how productive I am.

Here is a scenario: I am running an install. It says 5 minutes left. I jump on my greader or reddit or RSS, or check my email, and 30 minutes later I realize the installer is complete(and probably has been for 25 minutes)

Some other scenarios: Waiting for someone to get ready. Making Dinner. Waiting at the doctor’s office.

So Do I have a list of small tasks to complete? Do I pracitice meditation and just sit for 5 minutes? Do I keep checking out for 30 minutes, and work with my distractions? Maybe a mix?

What do you do when you have a small gap while you wait for something to finish?


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