Weekend trips, camping, water activities, and barbeques abound. Who doesn’t look forward to spending time soaking up the sun (with sunscreen of course), spending time with friends and family, and enjoying warmer weather? These are reasons to celebrate and make the most of each and every weekend. 

Warmer weather is also the start of holidays with long weekends such as the Fourth of July. This is a time of celebration and drawing your name in the air with sparklers. 

What’s the catch?

We are terrible at multitasking. Take something as simple as texting and walking. An estimated 1,500 pedestrians were treated in emergency rooms in 2010 for injuries related to using a cell phone and walking. This is double what it was in 2005. We are also terrible at learning from mistakes apparently. Our brain and bodies can’t seem to do more than one thing at once, so when walking while using a cell phone, we are more likely to veer off course and overshoot a target. 

What does this have to do with the workplace?

We certainly hope you are NOT using your cell phone while walking around your workplace, but a cell phone is not the only way to be distracted. We can be as distracted by getting lost in thought. For example,  working on a specific task, but thinking about something different causes your attention to gradually shift away from what you are doing and into your thoughts. The result? Inattentive mistakes.

Doesn’t our mind wander all the time? 

Yes, it does AND it’s healthy to do so. What is not healthy is to lose sight of the fact that our mind will wander more when there is something we are looking forward to or distracted by…like a long holiday weekend. If you catch yourself thinking of the marshmallows and graham crackers you need to get at the store or the propane tank to refill before the weekend, 

Be mindful of what your attention is placed on. If the worst that can happen at work is that you miss a call or forget to submit a report then you are likely still going home in one piece. If you are an industrial athlete, you don’t have those luxuries.

Not keeping your attention on the task at hand can have harsh consequences for the industrial athlete. Keep this in mind as we head towards a holiday weekend. Keep your distractions to break times. Allow your mind to wander while you are not at your workstation. While at your workstation, focus on keeping your attention on the task and compartmentalize the mental wandering.