Tag Archives: #single-tasking

New School, New Deal

Kepler starts 5th grade in a couple of weeks. Our school system has two grades per school, except for the high school, so he moves up to the Intermediate school this year. The Elementary school wasn’t far from our home, but involved a very steep hill, so where we might have been able to walk TO school, walking home would have proved challenging for my little buddy. But the Intermediate school is just right down the street from us. No hills, no major traffic considerations, no big distance to cover.

I’ve been pondering walking him to and from school each day. There is a bus available, and we may avail ourselves of it when it gets really cold, but I believe we are going to start out the year walking.

He happened to be at school this morning for something and when it was time to pick him up, I decided to try out the walk. I timed myself and it took ten minutes for me to walk there. I wasn’t sure how he would feel about walking home, since I didn’t prepare him ahead of time, but he was VERY excited!

We laughed. We told our silly knock-knock jokes. We stopped to look at things, including a spider web that was covered with dewdrops. I was so engrossed that I forgot to take a photo, but this photo looks very much like the web we saw. When we reached our street, he wanted to race, so we ran down the street. He won.

The walk home was a good example of single-tasking. I was able to focus on the walk and on Kepler, and I didn’t have to ask him to wait until I could look. I was able to be in the moment with him. AND we got in a walk, and a run, too!

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Keep Calm and Drive Safely

aid451454-v4-900px-Pay-Maximum-Attention-While-Driving-Step-4-Version-2Buddy this was me today. Eyes on the road, hands on the wheel. Which, BTW, is the slogan I came up with a long time ago to reduce texting and driving. But “don’t text or you’ll have a wreck” or something like that is what is up on the signs here.

Whether or not you text and drive, and you surely shouldn’t, and I can say that even if I have done it because it’s still true, many people use their cellular devices while driving. Just a few of the reasons you might have your phone in your hand: it buzzed and you wonder why, you get a call, you need to get directions, you want to find a new song on your music app, you are looking for something and need to ask Siri where it is, you have information relevant to this trip on your phone’s notes app, your book on tape suddenly turns off and you wonder why, you need to know the weather where you are going, you’re in a tight race to win an auction on eBay.

Today I decided not to use my phone for anything while I drove. There were two legs to the trip. Leg 1, no phone. Leg 2, I was distracted by my phone.

I guess when they put radios in cars, this was about all there was to it:

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Is YOUR radio that simple now? Nope. Look at the buttons on the above picture. Five good-sized buttons your fingers can feel without looking. You can easily count over if need be. There are only five choices. The radio probably wasn’t very distracting when it looked like this.

Today, quite a few radios are digital and have a plethora of buttons and dials, which all have more than one function, depending on how you hold your mouth. In my car, the radio is actually a distraction, which is why I tried driving without it today.

What a nice experience that was. No disturbing news about major politicians tweeting out new rules and regulations and fits of pique. No blaring commercials about once-in-a-lifetime (once-this-week) car sales or hormone treatments or scalped event tickets for sale (THREE THREE THREE ESS EEE AYE TEE). No temptation to change channels or modes or bands or cds.

I noticed a big difference in the experience of driving when I focused on driving. I looked at the cars in front of me, and noticed where they were beside me. I easily saw the minivan who was creeping into my lane.

Remember what I wrote yesterday? Multi-tasking actually adds cognitive stress with every switch and this accumulates and can eventually lead to fatigue, overload and burnout. What does this do to us as we drive? Maybe this is part of the reason for road rage?

Another distraction in the car can often be children, at least in my car. I haven’t tried driving attentively with a child in the car, but I daresay there will be adjustments to make in order to pay the best attention to the road ahead.

I recommend you try an experiment wherein you intentionally drive attentively. Dedicate yourself to the task of driving. What distracted you while you drove? What did you do with your phone while you drove? Did you miss out on anything while you were driving attentively? Leave a comment and let me know what you discover.

Today’s post addressed my first objective: become aware of what is distracting me from what/who is in front of me. What have you become aware of that is distracting you?