Just Poopin’ or How My Bowel Movements Became a Time of Productivity

How often do you have a bowl movement? It’s a legitimate question that can start conversations that last hours. Did you know the average human will spend 92 days on the toilet throughout their lifetime? I have a hypothesis the number will increase with the generation growing up at the moment, mostly due to the invention and adoption of smartphones and entertainment devices persistently on our persons and quick to make an appearance when we pop-a-squat.

A Whole New World

So with a new activity to tack on to our bathroom time, and extending the amount of time spent in the loo, what do people do with that power? Not too much apparently! Most people spend the time on Twitter or texting or checking Buzzfeed. Now, there’s nothing wrong with taking a break and bumming around the internet, but when did you ever feel good about checking your Facebook feed again and again?

What if we could change our habit of smart-phone bathroom time to be useful instead of mindless? (see how I’m not even saying we need to stop!) While reading an overview of a Scott Hanselman talk on productivity I considered the amount of time spent on the toilet, usually playing Angry Birds or some other ridiculously overrated game, and wondered what a better alternative of my ‘spare’ time could be. I decided to forsake my toilette gaming and use those precious moments for good instead of evil. Here are a few simple things I do to make those moments doubly valuable:

  1. Read A Book. I started to read more. Recently I wrote about my foray into the Kindle app and subsequent, almost addiction to reading now. I’ve always been a reader, usually at bedtime, but now I probably read for an hour to two hours a day (not all on the pot). Supposedly reading is good for you, like eating vegetables, so we will see if I get smarter.

  2. Read Smart Articles. There is a lot of stuff published everyday; one thing I like that Scott Hanselman says is that, “It’s not what you read, it’s what you ignore.” I try to be picky with what I allow to take my time. For interesting, useful bits I want to read I save the article to Pocket for later access (and archiving).

  3. Clear Your Inbox. Run through your email, either sorting (if you do that sort of thing) or sending quick responses. Email can be one of those things that just sucks the life out of a person. Don’t spend a lot of time on it, either shove it in the appropriate folder or act immediately.

  4. Refocus Your To-Do List. Like email, a to-do list can quickly turn into an invincible monster. Sort through open tasks, refocusing on priorities and realigning your goals for the day. If you don’t have a good way to manage tasks try the Clear app or for full-fledged projects try Asana.

  5. What Else? What else could you do of value? It doesn’t have to be ‘productive’ or work related, like I mentioned above, I decided to quit playing games (and checking Facebook and Instagram) and instead choose to read. Figure out what works for you!

Shouldn’t We Just, You Know, Poop and Get It over With?

I’m certainly not suggesting that we must start working while in the bathroom or try to squeeze more productive moments into our day, after all most Americans are already chronic workaholics. Some moments are meant to be sacred, and pinching a loaf can be one of those occasions. But if you are a phone-in-the-hand-pooper consider why, if it’s worth it, and do you gain anything from adding technology to another part of your day or are you trying to fill every waking moment with a distraction. Oh, and hold on tight, because one in five people drop their smartphone in the toilet and that’s plain gross!

If you have any thoughts, comments, or suggestions feel free to leave a comment or shoot me a message on Twitter at @calebsylvest, I’d like to hear what you think!

P.S. You could also film yourself and possibly become an internet sensation! Please, just don’t send the video to me.


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