Hutchinson’s Law: Any occurrence requiring undivided attention will be accompanied by a compelling distraction. – Robert Bloch
According to menshealth.com, close to 80% of crashes are caused by “driver distractions” – texting increases the risk 23 times.
Do you think you are a great multi-tasker? The National Advanced Driving Simulator team at the University of Iowa created a driving test. If you have a few minutes, here is the Driver Distraction Demo it will allow you to see how long you survive multitasking behind the wheel.
What has your attention?
Divide et impera is the Latin saying translated, “divide and conquer.” When it comes to problem solving the general strategy is:
- Break a problem into subproblems
- Solve the subproblems, one at a time
- Appropriately combine their answers, put it all together
Divide and conquer is a helpful process for problem solving. But what if you or your day is “the problem”? What if “forces” are at work dividing your attention to conquer you or defeat your progress, your success?
Two Steps to Start Managing the Cost
In Part 1 I offered two simple steps to dealing with costly distractions:
Step One: Recognize what’s going on in your world, really. Examine your beliefs about multi-tasking. Seek the truth from others about how you are showing up.
Step Two: Do something about it! Can you turn off the email notification… can you put your smart phone on silent, at least while you focus on the person in front of you or the task at hand? What else can you do to be present?
Last week we introduced three types of distraction associated with driving – manual, visual, and cognitive:
- Manual – taking your hands off the wheel
- Visual – taking your eyes off the road
- Cognitive – taking your mind off driving
Let’s move from behind the wheel into your world to apply these three distractions…
- Hands off the wheel — This is the “tyranny of the urgent” …checking e-mail, leaving the task at hand to do something less important but more “fun”; the cost is a loss of progress at the end of the day. Do you know the feeling?
- Eyes off the road — The resistance constantly seeks to push us off course so we lose sight of the people. What if you miss the body language or the non-verbal communication? Here is where we get off course; there is no hard turn, just a subtle drift… but if uncorrected, you end up in the ditch or crossing the line, with costly consequences!
- Mind off of driving — While there is movement what if done “absent-mindedly?” What is the experience for your customer, fellow worker, or family? “Masters” of multi-tasking is the driver driving or texting? Can you do both at the same time, safely?
How distracted are you?
As a simple assessment reflect on the following questions as you think of your Story:
- How well are you at staying on point? How often does the urgent take your focus off what is said to be important? What do you think is going on? How will you get your hands back on the wheel?
- How far have you drifted from where you want to be? How effectively are you listening? When you think of your life – mind, body, spirit – where have you drifted from your commitments? How will you keep your eyes on the road?
- How often do find yourself “multitasking? Why? Where are you at risk because you are not paying attention to what matters most? How will you keep your mind on driving?
It will take determination to change, which reminds me of Betty Anne Waters’ line in the movie Conviction. (Watch one minute clip). Visiting her brother in prison she dedicates her life to overturning the murder conviction of Kenny by putting herself through law school. She did not have a high school diploma when she said,
“This is what I’m gonna do, and after that…”
Enjoy writing your Story; to help you get there may I suggest ordering your copy of my new book?
Remember Hutchinson’s Law: Any occurrence requiring undivided attention will be accompanied by a compelling distraction.
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