How Present Are You?

By: Zoe Samuel
Estimated Completion Time
4 min
How Present Are You?
Image: Anton Petrus/Moment/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Back in the days before railways came along and connected up the world, it was very easy for people to spend their entire lives in a ten-mile radius of the village in which they were born. There were no distractions because there was no electricity. Good quality candles were expensive, and firewood could run out. When the sun went down, you really were stuck where you were: in the dark. Reading, playing an instrument, traveling, listening to music, and so on were all non-options. Thus, being present wasn't really optional. You had to be present wherever you were because there was absolutely no way around it. Even if you had a good imagination since you'd never seen anywhere that wasn't just like the place you came from, you really were up against it if you wanted to build a different sort of place in your mind and drift off.

These days, we have the opposite problem. There are constant distractions. We live in noisy cities full of beeping, roaring, humming machines, and devices. Our phones are rarely silent and hardly ever more than a few feet away. Our workplaces demand our attention constantly. Staying present is a great way to counter the insanity. Do you know how to do it?

Do you make eye contact when you talk to people?
Of course, that's polite.
I try to.
Sometimes
What?

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Do you keep a journal?
Yes, I have a shelf full.
I used to.
I write Post-Its to myself.
No

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How many apps are on your phone?
40
60
Over 100
More than I can count

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Do you get anxious if you can't check email for a while?
No, it'll keep.
A little
Yes, I go mad.
Sometimes, yes.

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How often do you finish a whole book cover to cover?
Three times a week
Once a week
Once a month
I haven't in years.

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How much do you exercise without headphones in?
Daily
A couple times a week
Every other week
I never do that.

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Do you look after any small children as a matter of course?
Yes, several daily
Yes, a few times a week
Only from time to time
Rarely

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Can you tune out loud noise?
Yes, easily.
Yes, if I try.
Not really
Nope!

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Have you ever played a videogame for so long that you were a little disoriented when you stopped?
Yes, but not any more!
Yes, I still do that.
Once in a while
I haven't done that, no.

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Have you ever been so into a book that you forgot a meal?
All the time!
If it is a very good book.
I wish!
Nope

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How often are you late to appointments etc?
Never
Rarely
Sometimes
All the time

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How many go-to daydreams do you keep in circulation at any one time?
None
One or two
A few
More than five

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How many tabs are open in your browser right now?
Just this one
This plus email
This plus email, social media, and a nerdy site I like
More than I can count.

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Do you carry a phone charger, just in case?
Of course
I don't remember to do that.
Sometimes
No, if it runs out, it runs out.

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How much "me time" do you take?
A few hours a week
Ten minutes a day
Not enough
None

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Do you feel guilty if you spend time or money just on yourself?
Yes, enormously
Somewhat
Not really
Why would I?

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Do you count your blessings?
Yes, it's very important to do daily.
Most days, yes
Only when I remember
Only when something bad happens

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How do you like to stay in touch with friends who do not live locally?
I call.
I write emails.
I make social media contact.
I don't really.

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Do you meditate?
Yes, daily
Once in a while
No, but I have a mindfulness app.
Nope

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Can you appreciate your body even if it's not considered perfect according to cultural standards?
Of course, it gets the job done so I love it!
Usually
I have moments, but generally not.
I don't feel at home in it at all, so no.

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Have you ever gone to therapy?
Of course, it's like the gym for your brain.
Only back in the day
Yes, but it did nothing for me.
No, therapy is stupid.

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Do you keep hydrated?
Yes, it's very important to do that.
When I remember
Not really
I don't see what that has to do with my body.

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How much time per day do you spend in a green space?
At least ten minutes as a matter of habit
I don't do that every day but when I do, I make it count.
I have an app with trees on it, does that count?
I don't do that.

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Do you spend any time with animals?
I have two dogs!
I have a cat.
I have a fish.
No, I don't get animals.

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Is there anything that you write out by hand?
Yes, my journal and creative thoughts
Yes, some work stuff
Only notes on the fridge
Nope

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When was the last time you looked at the stars?
Last night
Last week
Last vacation
I don't like the stars.

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Do you find simple tasks like cleaning the kitchen overwhelming?
No, I find it restful.
No, I just do it.
Sometimes
Yes, it's just so much.

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Do you ever listen to music without doing something else at the same time?
Yes, sometimes you have to just let it in.
Only once in a while
No, music is for background.
I don't really listen to music.

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Do you worry constantly about things you cannot change?
No, what is the point of that?
From time to time, but not constantly
Yes, constantly
I worry about things I can change, too!

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Do you ever take just 30 seconds to focus on your breathing?
I take ten minutes!
I do, yes.
I really should!
I wouldn't know how.

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