You have just entered the Accident Zone! How’s your stuff?

You might well ask, “What do you mean by stuff”?  Good question.

In the context of this article, stuff refers to a part of our Error Prevention training where we discuss your mental and physical capacity to do your job at any given point in time.

Moreover, the more stuff you have at any moment, the more likely that you will do your job well and without making a mistake.

Something happens to all of us during the day.  Our stuff diminishes due to factors like fatigue, stress and lack of nourishment.

Consider this typical day and how our stuff is affected:

We awake after a good night’s sleep and our stuff is in pretty good shape.  We eat breakfast and increase our stuff.  We haven’t thought much about the tasks ahead, so our stuff stays high.  We could be successful doing just about any task at this point of the day.

And then things start happening.  We need to drop the kids off at school on our way to work and our daughter is running late.  We have an important meeting first thing in the morning, so we rush a little bit on the way to school and definitely on the way to work.  Stress is building, and our stuff is decreasing.  We are taking chances that we would normally not take.

As we go through the morning at work, tasks come and go, our nourishment is decreasing and so is our stuff.  We still have enough stuff to do our job well, but we need to increase it for the afternoon.  When we have lunch, we boost our stuff.

Then comes a surprise deadline on a task that of which you were unaware. This is on top of our other jobs, so our stress starts to increase significantly, and our stuff decreases rapidly.  We are in a situation where the tasks we need to get done require more stuff than we have.  We are in a Mistake/Accident Zone.

We somehow get through the Zone without incident and are pretty low on stuff when we drive home.  Perhaps the drive is pleasant and uneventful, so we relax a bit and our stuff increases. And we can handle the evening dinner and family activities just fine.

Our stuff fluctuates during the day.  It happens to all of us.

But remember that Mistake/Accident Zone?  That is a risky place to be.  It is where calculation, programming, executive planning, clerical, and sales mistakes are made.  It is where machinery breaks, products get produced incorrectly fires and explosions occur, people get injured or worse.

Wouldn’t it be good to check your stuff when you sense that you are entering the Mistake/accident Zone?  You can.

You can us a handy checklist that we call IMSAFE.

I = Illness

M= Medication

S= Stress

A= Alcohol/Drug

F = Fatigue

E = Eating or Emotion

If you’re well-rested, well-fed, and not taking any medication for a cold/flu, and you don’t experience any surprises, you’re probably going to navigate through the Mistake/Accident Zone pretty well.

On the other hand, if you are experiencing a bit of flu, taking medication containing alcohol, haven’t eaten well and didn’t sleep well, you better be extra cautious in the Zone.

If you use the IMSAFE checklist when you sense that your stuff is low, you might just avoid a serious mistake or accident.

So – again – How’s YOUR Stuff?

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