Sunday, August 21, 2011

But I Don't Drink!

Distracted driving.

We've all heard the term. Studies have shown that talking on your cell phone while on the road impairs a person as much as driving drunk.


I know this personally. Taking my morning walk dressed in a bright pink shirt, thus easily visible, I looked both ways and crossed the street.
A block away, I spied a car barreling toward the crosswalk.
 They will slow down. They have to see me.
The car roared up, slammed on its brakes mid-intersection missing me by inches, and only because I leaped from the iron jaws of death.
If I'd been pushing a stroller, this oblivious young woman would be defending herself in court.

You get my point.

Other than driving distracted being a very bad idea, doing anything with less than our full attention ends in less than satisfactory results.
Yes. I start a load of laundry and let it wash, while I check my e-mail for fifteen minutes. But I don't answer the phone or watch television when I'm writing. No distracted writing.

I call it, writing drunk.

We like to think we're saving time by multi-tasking. That talking on the phone, while unloading the dish washer, and stirring the pasta sauce for dinner is a great use of time. See how productive we can be?
I once believed that.
We may also miss an important part of the conversation, misplace utensils, and burn the sauce.

How's that multi-tasking working for ya?
Yeah, me too. Not so well. I had to search for the vegi peeler. The phone call took longer because I had to ask her to repeat, and the sauce was a loss. I had to toss it, incuring more expense and using time to start over. Ugh!

You can see this was a difficult lesson for me.
I love to feel busy and productive. When I decided to focus on one thing, I found I saved time.

This week, try focusing on one task and then move on to the next.
You'll feel more peace.
The girl who'd nearly run me down didn't feel any peace. She shook life a leaf once she'd realized what almost happened.

Distraction is imparement.

Jot down in your journal how you feel durring this week.
Are you distracting yourself from situations and thoughts you don't want to deal with?
Face them in your journal.

Where in your life are you driving drunk?



  1. I feel like I do a lot of chores driving drunk. Just ask my kids. I think we as moms have a lot on our plates so we try to do a lot or we get distracted along the start water boiling and then wash the vegetables and see that the kitchen towel is dirty so you put it in the laundry room, see that you need to do some laundry, start laundry, realize you need to use the bathroom, find there's no TP, go to the closet to get TP and bring it back to the bathroom, wash your hands and see that the bathroom needs to be wiped down, wipe it down, then head back to the kitchen because you smell something, come to find out that the water you started is all gone and the pot it turning black! Not that this is me, mind you. Just a thought. NOT-no, it's totally me!! I drive like this too. Kind of. I think of things and then miss my turn or forget where I'm going. Some days are worse than others too... :) Nice post, Sandy!

  2. Oh my stars! I'm so glad you're all right! They say kids don't have peripheral vision any more because they are always looking down and in one direction. You should know, however, I have failed this life lesson miserably. Practicing the 15 minute method more diligently (even put an egg timer in the entry so I can hear the "bell toll). Again, glad you're okay!

  3. Good point about distracted writing, Sandy.

  4. As usual, Sandy, you've given me something to think about. You're right that when I'm doing 2 million things at once that I halfway do everything. I'm going to take your advice into consideration next time I sit down to write. :D

  5. Thank you for this post! I am so sick and tired of allowing myself to multitask to the detriment of my attention span and my life. This is the nudge I needed to QUIT.

  6. Good points, all! I do chores drunk too LOL. And do stuff on the computer. My husband's really bad to talk to me while I'm on the computer, which is a problem if I'm doing the bookkeeping. Sometimes I just have to either grab the headphones, or tell him, "I need to pay attention to what I'm doing" so he'll shut up!

  7. As always,Sandy, great post! Your incident reminded me of a close call I witenessed with school starting. I sat behind a school bus wondering why the driver wasn't waving the little girl to cross the street. Then I hear the scream of breaks and watch as a car comes skidding to a stop well past the buses stop sign. Had that little girl been crossing the street, she would have been hit. Had that bus driver not been paying attention, had not recorgnized the driver of that car wasn't paying attention, they all would now be living with so much pain. A good lesson to remember. Focusing on one task at a time will always net better results.

    So glad you are all right.

  8. Just yesterday while baking I let my mind wander and plotted how to kill someone--in the literary sense! (I am a mystery writer, after all.) I was so involved I totally forgot to stir the chocolate chips into the cookies, and the bag was sitting right next to the oven. So my family ended up having "chipless cookies", which are not all that tasty.

    How clever of you to make this analogy. Enjoyed reading it!

  9. Great post, Sandy! There's lots of recent scientific research backing you up. For instance, a recent study showed the human mind can only hold four things in active memory at once. That's like having four cards in your hand. You have lots more on the table, but if you try to pick up five, you're liable to drop 'em all.

  10. You are right, if you try to do five things at once, you aren't going to do any of them well. If you are writing, well, it needs all your attention. Thanks for the reminder -- womena re told how well we multi-task, so of course we try to live up to it. Why?

  11. Sandy, this is amazing advice, I'm putting it to use RIGHT away! Thanks girl.

  12. Um... it begins the moment my eyes open each morning! I multi task all day. But you're right. It don't work out so good! lol Thanks for the heads up.

  13. I need to stop writing drunk. Ack! The distractions are killer. :)

    I gave you an award on my blog today.

  14. You are so right Sandy! I try to do so many things at once and none of them well! I am not a good multitasker. I can hardley chew gum and walk at the same time. This is a great reminer that we should not expect ourselves to do multiple things at once just to feel productive.
    Great post!