My typical a.m. routine, before starting my work day, is exercising outside at the start of early morning traffic. Consequently I often have the frightening perspective — at stop lights — of watching crazy driving habits. So this is a plea to you to NOT be engaging in one of them!
Here’s what I see! People eating breakfast, drinking coffee; applying make up; reading a newspaper folded over the steering wheel; and the BIG DANGER: talking or texting on the phone!
First let’s dispel the myth of multi-tasking. You truly can’t do more than one thing at once well — or thoughtfully, successfully. If you doubt that statement, google the research on multi-tasking! Thus the question is what would you prefer to do — one thing at a time — successfully? How about staying alive, injury free, making it into the office all in one piece?
A few weeks ago, I watched an individual at a stop light be rear-ended by a driver either texting or talking on the phone, not looking WHERE GOING and banging powerfully into the back of the car waiting for the light to turn green. So was the message worth the hours and expense of insurance, repairs, likely injury, and obviously not getting to work on time? Doubtful.
And my plea is also personal. Several years ago I was t-boned in an inter-section by a man who ran a red light while talking on the phone. It demolished my car…injured me….and made me painfully aware of how many people are driving while DOING SOMETHING ELSE.
Consider how you may have been trapped in the belief that you are different from all the other careless multi-tasking drivers. What makes you accident free? NOTHING….absolutely nothing except the possible belief that the rules don’t apply to you? If the only bad thing that’s ever happened while driving is spilling coffee in your lap, consider yourself truly fortunate. There are many who are, instead, seriously injured, and perhaps dead!
AND go back to asking: what am I doing? What am I accomplishing? What did I do before I had a cell phone? What did I do before I rushed so much I had to eat, drink, apply make up, read the paper, check emails or respond IMMEDIATELY to a text message? I’m suggesting you had a more peaceful existence!
We are, indeed, an increasingly stressed culture. Consider making the contribution — to others as well as to yourself — of slowing down — on all levels. A challenge I give my most stressed clients is to try to drive at the speed limit. It’s amazingly difficult for most. AND it’s a good test of “what you are doing.” Do you really get to your destination by driving faster? Doubtful. So the “rush” is contributing to your stress level — your distraction.
And the truly important question: what’s stressing YOU so much that you feel the need to do other things while driving? I suggest, if you aren’t totally offended by “my lecture” that you take a look at what or who is your big source of stress and then reflect just a little on how you might start to make changes/manage what’s causing you anxiety, depression, even physical challenges. You do deserve to slow down — to feel better — to actually embrace a leisurely start to the day. And if you want to analyze your stress, try my book: YOUR PERSONAL STRESS ANALYSIS. AND if you think it would help, talk to someone. You can always ask me questions. Take care of you!