I recently learned about a Japanese term called Shisa kanko. In Japanese train stations, workers add to their duties both a description of what they’re doing and a physical gesture, usually pointing, to help improve their performance. The system is said to reduce workplace accidents by 85%. I gather that as people employ both movement and speech, their brains engage more effectively, which makes mistakes less likely.
It reminded me that my family and I came up with a sort of make-shift version of the technique that featured in “and hold on to your shorts.” I’ll wait while you remind yourself what that was all about.
In the current chaos that surrounds me, I’m not sure there are enough gestures, calls, or physical contortions (eyebrow raises? something sponsored by the Ministry of Silly Walks?) that could combine to help me stay focused. I tend to start out well, but soon enough find myself staring vaguely, sometimes at whatever I’ve picked up, often at the mess around me. I’m up to my neck in all manner of physical clutter, but also by questions and uncertainty–should I keep this sweater after all? Where am I going to pack this tray? What happened to the other fondue fork in the set? Where’s the missing belt clip to the walkie talkies? Didn’t I already sort this pile?
I don’t mind doing routine work–I can pack dishes in boxes, or haul stuff from here to there. The trouble I’m currently having is that I can’t seem to stay focused well enough to corral the work into a manageable shape. It feels just like herding cats, a notoriously unsatisfying project.
Lining words up in a coherent order is very much more to my taste, but I’ve probably done enough of that for today. Turning my thoughts to King Henry V’s famous rallying cry: Once more into the breach–