Road Today - - Guest Column -

Life is so busy th­ese days that multi-task­ing is a nor­mal part of our day. We all do it or try to do it and I hate to say that many multi-task badly even when they think it is go­ing well. The truth is it doesn’t re­ally mat­ter what you are do­ing whether it is try­ing to get your ca­reer go­ing, work­out at the gym, or get to your desti­na­tion on time, you have to fo­cus.

This is eas­ily seen on the road on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. Those driv­ers are called ‘truck stop driv­ers’ where they ba­si­cally go from truck stop to truck stop, wait around to run with other driv­ers, and take their time get­ting to their desti­na­tion. At the end of the month they are the same driv­ers com­plain­ing they are not mak­ing as much money as their coun­ter­parts in the in­dus­try.

I re­cently saw a guy at the gym that was try­ing to mul­ti­task while work­ing out. He was on a ma­chine an­swer­ing his email and phone mes­sages. As I continued do­ing my work­out rou­tine he sat on the one ma­chine on his phone. I worked out on three ma­chines while he worked out on one ma­chine be­cause he was an­swer­ing email. One of us had fo­cus!

I shouldn’t have to men­tion dis­tracted driv­ing as the sta­tis­tics alone will prove my point. Even those that think they do it well or ar­gue that it is le­gal to do can look at the sta­tis­tics to know that multi-task­ing doesn’t work in this area. I don’t talk on the phone while driv­ing be­cause I have found for my­self that my at­ten­tion wasn’t there when on the road. If you don’t be­lieve me then re­al­ize that if you con­tinue to prac­tice be­ing dis­tracted while driv­ing it won’t be ‘if’ some­thing will hap­pen it will be a mat­ter of ‘when’. What does fo­cus mean? Does it mean that you only do one thing and for­get ev­ery­thing else? Of course you need to do dif­fer­ent things; the trick is to fo­cus on one task at a time by im­prov­ing your time man­age­ment skills. That means plan­ning out your day, week, or month so that you cover the im­por­tant items that you need to ac­com­plish. So let’s take a look at how that can im­prove the sce­nar­ios men­tioned above. Let’s look at the truck driver sce­nario above. Driv­ers only have so many hours per day that they can drive or work. If you have ever been run­ning with another driver that likes to stop a lot, or has lots of time to get to their desti­na­tion you know it can be a slow process. They stop where and when they feel like it with­out any fo­cus. They still get to their desti­na­tion, but not in the most ef­fi­cient man­ner. Now com­pare that to the times when you run on your own, you plan out your trip, fo­cus on group­ing all the ser­vices you need into one stop and stop at sched­uled in­ter­vals. By op­er­at­ing that way you will see a tremen­dous dif­fer­ence in your ef­fi­ciency for the trip. Take the guy at the gym. Part of work­ing out is to get your in­ten­sity up with your ex­er­cises so that it helps to el­e­vate your heart rate and burn fat. If you work out do­ing the same ex­er­cises but fo­cus on your rou­tine, re­duce the rest phases be­tween ex­er­cises, you will get dou­ble the ben­e­fit from the work­out than an­swer­ing your email in­be­tween sets. With dis­tracted driv­ing there are too many ex­am­ples. View the sta­tis­tics, videos, and tele­vi­sion shows on the loss of life, dam­age to prop­erty, and those that have lost fam­ily mem­bers and stop driv­ing while dis­tracted. As we move into 2017 there will be even more noise com­ing into your world, mak­ing it even harder to fo­cus. It is up to you to de­cide which of that noise is im­por­tant to you and how you can have the best in­for­ma­tion to help you suc­ceed. Look at all the things you do ev­ery­day and find out the best way to pri­or­i­tize, or­ga­nize, and im­prove your ef­fi­ciency and you will see the dif­fer­ence in the im­por­tant ar­eas of your life. I wish you well for 2017.

Bruce Outridge Bruce

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