5 Second Rule (not the food one)


I spent two years working on the BP Oil Spill cleanup.  It was a beyond-educational experience and will always be one of those ‘bookmarked’ chapters of my life.

One of the interesting things about my time there was exposure to big-business.  My previous work has been in archaeology and education- so the oil and gas industry was very different!  There were methods and procedures for every thing we did.  It could be onerous at times but I see how effective they could be as well, for quality control and for safety.  It’s hard to communicate company wide standards across so many people every day but they had some effective methods for doing so.

Anyway, I’ve had a few weeks now where I really haven’t been on the ball, and have made a bunch of little mistakes; suddenly a phrase popped into my mind- ‘the 5 second rule’.  This was being repeated often at meetings for sometime after there had been a few, rather careless, minor work injuries.  The ‘five second rule’ is just that, whatever you’re about to do, think about it for 5 seconds- that’s it!  Cutting a box? Pause, and think about it for 5 seconds.  That’s all it takes to realize ‘gee, I oughtta do it this way, instead.’  It takes practice, but through the power of repetition you can start bringing the five second rule into play, whatever you’re dong- and it’s awesome!   It brings mindfulness to your actions throughout the day and helps prevent those careless little mistakes.

Short, sweet, and easy!