Everyone has had the experience of driving somewhere familiar then suddenly realizing they didn’t remember the drive.
That loss of focus is called autopilot, and it can be as dangerous at work as it is on the road.
One technique to keep yourself out of autopilot is becoming a sort of fortune teller, safety consultant Tim Page-Bottorff told Safety and Health Magazine.
Start the day with a question: When and where will I be likely to go into zombie mode? What time do I go on autopilot? What would be the most dangerous situation to be on autopilot?
These question can raise awareness of potentially unsafe situations and send a mental cue to zap yourself back into the moment.
On the job, in the car or even cutting up vegetables for dinner — wherever you tend to zone out, try the STOP technique:
Stop what you are doing.
Take a deep breath.
Observe your surroundings.
Proceed with awareness.
Anything that interferes with situational awareness puts people in danger, whether they are driving or climbing a ladder.
Talking on a cellphone or wearing headphones are common distractions that can be dangerous.