Confronted with exactly thirty minutes, disconnected from the internet, but with my phone, how to occupy my time

  • Read: I’m carrying around two articles I’ve been meaning to read. A book I’m reading half-heartedly. The complete New York Times on my phone, as well as a hundred or so RSS feeds of news and news-like web sites.

  • Write (1): I have several dozen blog posts that are in states ranging from concept to near-finished. I could work on any of them. Or a new one.

  • Write (2): I do other writing, and have a bunch that’s pending. I could work on any of that.

  • Idly restock my Tumblrs: it’s always a fun brainless activity to surf through the several hundred images I ensure always are on my phone, to see if any appeal for my Tumblrs. Lately, not much has appealed.

  • Meditate: I meditated for twenty minutes this morning as I do nearly every day. I will do it again for twenty minutes this afternoon. I could do that in this window.

  • Listen to a Buddhist podcast: most of them bore me to tears or turn me off. But there are two or three teachers of whom I always keep a backlog in “Podcast Addict.”

  • Listen to a TED talk: I always keep a backlog of them on my phone.

  • Socialize: send emails to friends, read my increasingly banal Facebook feed.

  • Sleep.

What would you do?


  1. Most likely, I’d read one of the myriad ebooks on my phone or web-media articles, watch a TED talk or listen to a New Yorker fiction podcast.

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