Though what comes to mind is one of my dad's Buddhist mantras: "when you sit, sit; when you eat, eat; when you shit, shit," I also know that for some of us, especially for Millennials, we just can't seem to get enough time to do what we want to do. How can you do just one thing at a time all the time? For the most part, it's still mostly the way to live, but there are some life hacks worth noting and applying to one's daily routine that don't seem to harm a thing.
The challenge of our generation is that we are exposed to so many forms of media that we it's difficult to not get swept away with too many interests, tasks, passions, distractions - you name it. The most prolific artist I ever met - Aron Tager - had no computer, cell phone, or television. What did he have to show for it? Over 5,000 pieces of incredible original artwork.
Get rid of your distractions and watch your productivity sky-rocket, right? Well, I wish I could say it were that facile. Aron was born in the 1930s, so he has no inherent connection to shiny new devices. It's unrealistic to tell a Millennial to chuck their devices out the window.
Discovering your 2-in-1s means finding those things that work synergistically with each other and allow you to truly accomplish two or more things at once without diminishing either one of them.
Here is a list of ones I've discovered that work well for me:
1) Cardio + reading: assuming you're not doing HIIT (high intensity interval training), it's safe to say doing cardio at the gym is an excellent opportunity to take in your daily news, book chapter, or podcast.
2) Toilet + texting: what better time to catch up on unattended messages?
3) Working out + meditation: working out it a form of de-stressing and when approached with calm, can be a time in your day when you clear your head and reset your body and mind.
4) Public transit + music theory (or anything that you're trying to learn that involves some kind of theory): sitting on the train for an hour can be drag. Why not take this time brush up on the knowledge that you would normally study at a desk?
5) Biking (5 in 1?!): biking is an anomaly that provides so many benefits in one action, it's hard to believe. For one, it's exercise. For two, it's a mode of transportation. For three, it helps reduce carbon emissions. For four, it's saves you money. For five--need I go on?
6) Intermittent fasting + being productive: intermittent fasting--an eating system that allows for certain periods of fasting followed by defined feeding windows--has proven to be one of my favourite 2-in-1s. It allows me to lose weight and get more work done than I normally would. As a bodybuilder, it's usually essential to eat 5-8 meals a day, which takes a lot of time and it's always interrupting whatever else you have to do that day. I.F. also helps extend your lifespan, so you know - that's good too!
Some of these don't seem like 2-in-1s, but they actually are--they're just so perfect you hardly think of them as getting 2 things done at once. For example, biking to work is doing cardio plus getting you to your destination PLUS saving the world from one more environment taxing, exhaust powered trip. With driving, you could listen to a podcast and make it a 2-in-1, but then you're also contributing to green house gases (unless you have a Tesla) and you're not getting any exercise.
The key is to find the 2/3/4/5-in-1s that match your lifestyle and values. For example, if you value environmentalism and health, buying organic food might be a good 2-in-1 for you: it preserves the earth and it's healthy. If you also value time, perhaps you'd be delighted to sign up for something like Fresh City Farms, which delivers organic food to your house each week.
Now, certain 2-in-1s seem like a good idea, but are in fact dangers or distractions in disguise. For example, more than a handful of my harmonica students like to report that they were able to get in their practicing this week--while driving! This 2-in-1 is not only not very effective, it's also dangerous and puts others at risk. You won't get good at playing an instrument while doing anything else at the same. When you're learning something that complex give it your undivided attention. Some things are meant to be good ole' 1-in-1s.
Sometimes, if you're lucky, you can discover a passion, which perfectly grants you a 2-in-1. For example, I love and value good food and I'm a bodybuilder. This is a wonderful combination since bodybuilders have to eat more than the average person.
Discover your passion, and start fishing for the 2-in-1s that apply to your field. You'll be surprised where you find them.