I’ve multi-tasked my entire life. I never thought of it that way, but technically that’s what I do. Despite what doctors recommend, I’ve always read myself to sleep. When I was a kid, probably from age two to eighteen, my mother would check on me before she went to bed, and every night, she would remove a book from my face and switch off the lamp. Basically, when people ask me how long I lie awake at night after turning out the light, I have no point of reference from which to answer.
I also multitask when I eat, although again, I never thought of it that way. My wife and I rarely have a meal at home without the TV on. Years ago, that would have put us in the minority. Not anymore. A new survey posted on YouGov asked people what they generally do during a meal. You could answer in more than one category. 55 percent eat meals in front of the television. 45 percent talk to the other people eating with them. I do that, too. Most of the time we talk about what we’re watching on TV.
From there, it drops all the way down to 15 percent. That’s how many people listen to music. Oddly enough, even though listening to music requires the use of fewer senses than watching TV, when I’m listening to music that’s usually all I’m doing. In fourth place, 13 percent of people read while they eat. I don’t do that. Again, that’s reserved for bedtime.
Twelve percent of people check social media while they eat. Those are probably the people who post pictures of what they’re eating. I’m not making fun of that, actually. I do like to look at pictures of food. I’m in a Facebook group called “Boise Foodies”, and people in that group post pictures of food every day. I don’t consider myself a foodie or anything else with that perceived level of sophistication, but I do enjoy the photos.
In sixth place, only seven percent of people eat in silence without multitasking at all. So according to doctors, only seven percent of people do what’s required for proper digestion. Another five percent shop online, and four percent work while they eat. I have eaten at my desk at work, but I didn’t actually work while I was doing it. I probably just thought about TV.