In aviation, the consequences of distracted behavior range from annoying to tragic.
1. DON’T be a slave to your cell phone
Yes, the cell phone is a useful tool, connecting pilots and maintenance technicians to information and support resources. But many operations are banning personal cellphone use in the cockpit, on the flight line, and in the hangar. Doing your job safely demands 100 percent of your attention.
2. DO be aware of your power to distract others.
Most guidance on avoiding distractions focuses on limiting interruptions to your work. Have you thought about how often you distract others? Support your colleagues in their attempts to focus on the job at hand.
3. DO treat any interruption as a reminder to go back two steps.
When you are interrupted during a procedure or checklist, go back two steps before the interruption occurred before you resume the task. This will help you to get back in the groove and ensure that all steps are completed with your full attention.
4. DON’T engage in chit chat during high-workload tasks.
The free-form, unplanned nature of social conversation means that it occupies a lot of your attention. Be aware of how this could negatively affect your performance when high concentration is required. Human beings are social animals—keeping conversations brief and to the point requires discipline.
5. DO be assertive when others attempt to distract you.
When a friend, co-worker, or manager opens a conversation about a nonurgent topic while you are engaged in a task or procedure, be willing to say, “Can’t talk right now—I’m in the middle of something. I’ll come and find you when I’m done.”