At any given time, I’m probably dividing my focus between several different things. I’m watching television while checking social media on my iPhone between breaks of playing puzzle games on my iPad or Nintendo Switch and maybe talking to my wife. Typically, I’ll probably be drinking soda water or snacking on some sweets or whatever. Also, I’ll be checking for emails if I’m expecting something or be preoccupied with receiving delivery updates if I’ve ordered something from Amazon.
I’ve gotten good at casual multi-tasking. I can still pick up weird details from television shows that I care about—maybe it’s because of my time as a pop culture podcast host and knowing what beats to look for because a lot of television writing can be lazy or at the very least, the plots generally follow common tropes.
The thing is, I don’t know if it’s something to be proud of, in all honesty. Multi-tasking is highly valued in the professional world, maybe even over-valued. I know that I strive to put my best foot forward and give 100% to one thing rather than giving a decent 20% to five different things.
All of this comes to mind as I’ve ventured outside of the comforts of my home and am sitting at a coffee shop. The only thing that I’m doing is focusing on this incredible Mexican coffee.
There’s a lot of energy in the coffee shop right now, there’s good music playing, and the back of my mind is jumping from subject to subject—but at the front of my mind is just one thing: the enjoyment of this cup of coffee.
Every now and again, I’ll check social media for updates, but I kinda don’t care right now. Admittedly, I’m punching this blog entry out on my phone, but I just wanted to capture this moment of reflection in the present.
I don’t know why I don’t really do this at home, or more often. It’s relaxing.
Thinking about this reminds me of what it’s like to plan for a flight, like what you’re going to do while you’re confined to a seat for several hours. You make plans to focus on a book, or a video game, or simply listen to music or watch a movie. There’s isn’t much you can do when you’re on an airplane, less to do when you’re not willing to pay extra for WiFi.
I typically don’t think of what I’m going to do with my free time in this way unless I’m planning on traveling. It doesn’t have to be like that—but when I’m on an airplane or a train, all I can really do is give my activities a narrow focus.
It feels ridiculous that I don’t dedicate the same amount of focus elsewhere, but I suppose it’s something I can be more mindful of if I really want it.