Life in Auto-pilot


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Early this morning, I was to cook my breakfast. I thought of cooking egg, so, from the living room, I went to the kitchen. For a few seconds, along the way from living room to the kitchen, I thought of my meeting, which was about to start in 30 minutes, so I computed in my mind how fast I should eat. As soon as I realized I’m in the kitchen, I came back to my self and stared at the surroundings. I forgot why I was there. I had to ask my wife what I needed to do in the kitchen.

Short-term memory loss or ulyanin is what we would normally call it. Labelling is not, however, my purpose for writing this. I want to talk about how we sometimes do things in autopilot. This has happened to you, right? You take a bath without being mindful, the next thing you know is you are already dressed up and ready to go. This is our brain working on the subconscious.

The brain is like a computer, it programs our routine, if it detects that we are doing a routine, it switches on autopilot mode. There is no problem with the autopilot. However, it is important to be aware that being in autopilot can affect our productivity and decision-making. Countless of information have been recorded on people making errors in their decision because of the autopilot mode. There was this video of a man who walks into a closed door and bumps his head. Someone who is not in autopilot will see the reflection and will notice that there is a glass door in front.

It is good to have a routine but living a life on a routine may not be that fun. Here are some of my suggestions to get off the autopilot mode:

1. Have a goal everyday.

2. Use a different route on the way to work.

3. Take a mindfulness pause during the day just to breath

4. Do not eat the same thing everyday.

5. Call a friend

6. Do one thing at a time. So have a notebook beside you always to keep your thoughts.

There are countless of ways to get out of the autopilot mode. As soon as you catch yourself on that mode, stop, tell yourself that you need to be more mindful. That is also another clue that you are doing many things at the same time.

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