Things to Do When You're Doing Other Things

Doing one thing at a time is a thing of the past. (Am I blogging or texting or listening to music or socializing now?  I don't even know.) Whether you're on the subway, watching TV, on the phone with grandma or perhaps at work (gasp!) it's important to be multitasking at all times.

Here are some ideas to keep you occupied, and perhaps productive, while you're already semi-occupied:

Read poetry.  Perhaps not heavy, W.B. Yeats or Emily Dickinson type stuff, but contemporary poems that are almost as easy to read as a text message. I suggest Tao Lin's short poetry books or perhaps a chapbook made and bound at your local bookstore.  It's surprising what a 30-second reading break can do for you!

Knit.   But what? I'm not an arthritic old lady?  It's ok!  It's a super easy and cheap hobby that always seems impressive, and genuinely quirky, to non-knitters. $10 worth of supplies and a few quick YouTube tutorials will have you well on your way to making heartfelt (and cost-effective!) gifts for any occasion.

Send an email. It sounds silly, we send emails constantly.  But taking 30 seconds to send a family member or friends a quick hello/i miss you/I LOVE YOU/here's a picture of a zonkey somehow feels more personal than a silly Facebook wall post (maybe because it's private?) and can really make someone's day.  Or they won't care at all.  But still, no harm.

File your nails.  This may be more of a private activity but still, ladies and gentlemen and genderqueers, it should be done, and done often.  It's not necessarily an activity to be excitedly anticipated, so it's the perfect secondary activity to a night of Netflix.

Eat a piece of fruit. Seriously.  It's good for you.  Apples and bananas and peaches and pears all take minimal attention to eat and travel well.

And finally.. Focus.  What's it like to actually do one thing at once?  What if you're actually paying attention to the new episode of Top Chef without live tweeting it?  Or talking to a friend without fiddling with your app arrangement?  Is focusing the new multitasking?  Only time will tell, but in the meantime, I'll be socializing with my knitting needles.