The art of flying an airplane is in many ways the art of attention management. In the cockpit, as in life, pilots inevitably experience unexpected distractions that draw their attention away from the central task at hand.
A strange noise, an equipment failure, unexpected turbulence, a near miss with a bird, or even a sick passenger has captured the attention of many a pilot at a critical time, say, in the landing phase, and as a result something in the expected and necessary flow of operations (e.g. putting the landing gear down) was missed. Shaking off the distraction, the pilot then asks himself (as I suppose we all do on occasion), “Now where was I…?”
Attention is a precious and limited resource. You only have so much of it. What you do with it determines the course of your life. Learning how to deal with potentially costly interruptions can save you a lot of time, money, and heartache in the future.
In my experience, costly interruptions are least expensive when they are dealt with promptly and without delay. Moreover, they tend to resolve more completely when I don’t sacrifice my entire attention to the distraction. That can be challenging depending on the severity of the interruption, but making the conscious decision to measure your attention once the initial shock has cleared can go a long way to keeping you on track.
How do you deal with the interruptions in your life?