Based in Washington, Ross is a general manager of a food safety company. His musings explore life, work and every moment in between.

Cognitive Tunneling

I took Friday off to recharge. It is amazing how much a three day weekend changes my ability to get things done, to connect with others and to relax. Laura and I have fallen into a pattern on two day weekends, Saturday for overdue chores, Sunday for next week preparation leaving very little time for fun activities or any excursions. It leads us straight down a repetitive path. Rinse and repeat. Next verse same as the first. This pattern and my work pattern have created some cognitive tunneling.

Cognitive tunneling is when you cannot see the forest among the trees. It is when peripheral information is disregarded while you focus on one specific piece of data, path, or decision. This video is an example. It happens all the time. We get so focused on what is in front of us, what we must do to complete one singular vision that we start to lose the big picture. In these scenarios we have committed to one singular mental model of what the outcome should be. The solution is to step back, find some space, and think through other perspectives and ideas. Most scenarios do not have a singular path forward but instead have multiple paths and solutions.

Three days off and I am now ready for the week. My vision has been restored, my priorities set, and I feel anxious to get started.

Goodbye to our 435xi

We are the product of our emotional state.