Minds are complicated. We can think about so many things at once that to say that one’s mind and body are in the same “place” at all times is hardly meaningful. Even as I write this, my mind is processing all kinds of things so quickly that listing them out already distorts and makes sequential processes that are much more overlapping, if not entirely parallel. This is because to list them, my body has to catch up, turn that stuff into words, send signals to my fingers based upon processing old information about how language, text, hands, and keyboards work. That’s all on top of what I’m thinking about that has nothing to do with thinking about thinking, like:
Walking down a shared hall of my office just now, I passed someone from another firm with earbuds in their ears. I thought to myself that little queues like that sometimes can indicate age and maturity — that as we progress in our lives and careers, we move closer to being able to have our minds with us at all times, or perhaps better put, to being more focused on what we’re doing. When I was younger, I saw no problem with listening to a podcast while doing my “work,” which, if you think about it, is essentially saying that my desire to be entertained or enriched is more important than my ability to give the work I’m doing my full attention. Of course, not all work requires that; I’m often listening to a podcast while vacuuming my house, for instance. But at Work — work with a capital W — I should strive to give it my fullest attention when I can. I should strive, even if what I’m doing is something I’m not totally passionate about, to keep my mind and body in the same place. Even if I don’t benefit from that always, my colleagues and clients do.