Photo by Jonas Leupe on Unsplash

Pick Pockets: What’s stealing your attention?

And what to do about it.

Hassan S. Ali
2 min readNov 13, 2021



So many pockets. That’s what fall does. It brings out the coats, the cardigans, the kangaroo-pouch hoodies. Dress in layers, and you’ve got…

So. Many. More. Pockets.

My keys! Where in the forest of all my autumnal-clothing pockets are my keys? They could be in any of the 12+ pockets hanging off my body. I give myself a full pat-down.

The keys are in my left pant pocket. My phone somehow made it to my jacket’s inside-pocket, along with a bunch of folded-up papers. I’m wearing a sweater vest with zipper-pockets , too — I find my wallet and (for some reason) 2 pens and a highlighter in there.

Like I said. Too many pockets. Too much stuff.

But they’re there, available to me. So heck, might as well use them. Right?

Beware of Pocket’s Law

Parkinson’s Law states: Given more time to get something done, we will fill it. (See: “Why something that should take 10 mins takes 5 hrs if you have 5 hrs.”)

Similarly… Given more pockets, we will fill them.

Let’s call this something unique and highly original: Pocket’s Law.

What are the pockets in your life?

You have a choice to pick, like, 3 pockets to use. Resist the urge to use all 12+ jacket, cardigan, hoodie, pant, and sweater-vest pockets available to you. (This metaphor assumes you really listened to mom and dressed in layers.)

Those extra responsibilities, time-sucks, “friends,” things you said “yes” to in the moment, things you’ve told yourself are important (but aren’t really) — Which of these are useful? And which are extra pockets, hanging around your life, in which you stuff your attention because they’re just there?

The more pockets you use, the more they steal your focus on the few important things you need.

Pick your pockets, otherwise they’ll pick-pocket your attention.

Plus, fewer pockets means you carry around less stuff.

You’ll literally feel lighter.

Or shed the clothes altogether. Maybe those nudists are onto something.



Hassan S. Ali

I write comedy things. the ha & lol. Also a founding editor of Slackjaw on Medium.