Help me fight carelessness.

I just can’t help being so careless. I try not to, but that is not enough, I forget certain things. I failed the road test four times already, and this shit has got to stop.

Any advice. For the careless part.


I could, for a nominal fee, follow you around and say mean things to you and hurt your feelings everytime you do something careless.

Would that help?

Sine me up. Im all abbout acurracy!

Mindfulness meditation?

Classic Buddhist meditations in mindfulness might help cultivate more awareness and offer a systematic way of bringing yourself into an important moment with full prescence and concentration.
Might work?

My boss is careless and I’m not. She thinks it’s some special talent that I have and she lacks but it’s not. I’m just as careless but have built routines into my life to keep my carelessness on the inside where it belongs.

When you leave the house go over in your head what you have to do when you’re out and make sure you have the things you need. Don’t say “I have that in the car” and move on with your list, make sure you have it in the car. Pretend you have a faulty memory and never trust it.

Try to think about what you’re doing and nothing else. I imagine you haven’t passed the driver test because of careless driving errors. Next time you take the test just think about the driving, not the testing official, not all the other tests you took, not dinner or the kids. Tell yourself what to do in your mind. “Stop at the sign”, “look left the right then left” “turn”… listing things in your head keeps your mind from wandering or getting ahead of what you’re doing. Pretend you’re and idiot and need step by step instructions from yourself for everything.

I just know the times I make the most careless errors are when I’m trying to do more than one or two things at a time. Just keep your mind on one thing and it should improve.

You sound pretty young, yes? Well, it’s great that you’re trying to tackle this problem now. As a 30-yo struggling careless person, I can tell you that it’s best to solve this now rather than later! Right now, you have schoolwork (presumably), maybe a job or sports or whatever, and this driving thing to work on. Later, life will only get more complicated, and it will be harder to solve your problems when you have a career, mortgage, house and yard, two kids, bills, and a couple of cars to maintain–and a lot more to lose. So good on ya!

My suggestion is to start trying to be more thoughtful in everything you do. Before you leave in the morning, stop, take a breath, look around, and think about whether there is more to do and if you have everything you need. Do this before you leave class, before you leave school, and so on. It takes two seconds to do, and saves lots of time and trouble.

Write stuff down! Make lists for yourself and post them where they will hit you in the face. Write down your schedule, everything you have to do, and so on.

Make areas for yourself: if you have a hard time remembering what to take with you in the morning, get a little table where all that stuff goes. Post a list above it that says “Monday: gym clothes and trumpet. Tuesday: math notes and karate bag.” That kind of thing. Get binders to store all your paper junk (like ideas you saw in a magazine, projects you want to do, sheet music, all that stuff), and boxes for your small junk that hangs around.

Keep extras of things you use a lot and put them all over. I use pens and scissors, so I have them in every room. I have two bottles of sunscreen; one lives in the car and the other in the house. Stuff like that.

For the driving, I’m not sure what you mean. I’m kind of thinking that you’re having a hard time remembering everything you’re supposed to do in the car, and so you’re making turns too fast and forgetting to do all the checking. So I’m suggesting that you try to become more careful in all of your life so that the new habit can seep into your driving mentality.

I’ve found that my life is easier when I pay attention and put effort into organization and trying to go a little slower so I can make sure I don’t forget things. It takes less energy and thought in the long run, it turns out, so my mind is free for other things that are more interesting. It has only taken me about 29 years to figure this out, so please learn from us slower types and get your life in shape while you’re young! :cool:

So the answer is to take it slow? :dubious:

What if I want to be fast and not careless? Is that possible?

I know there is no need for speed on the road test, but in other parts of life there are. I failed the last test because I missed a stop sign. Failing the test 4 times can really make you start thinking.

I think paying attention to what you’re doing is the answer. Developing habits so you do the same activities the same way each time, as much as possible, also helps.
You can be fast and careful but the faster you want to go the more you have to concentrate on what you’re doing. You might find that you do everything faster once you start being less careless. If anything you can recover some of the time now spent looking for lost things and going back for forgotten items.

With driving, habits are huge.

You drill methodically until you do it the same (right) way each time.

This works while you are taking the test.

Also habits work during your driving career for when you are distracted, when you are tired, when you are stressed, when you are being hijacked by an armed robber, when you get old, and on and on.

Habits trump “being smart” or “having quick reactions”.

I don’t think you can be fast and careful until you’re used to being careful in the first place. It takes practice to be careful, so you need to take it slow at first until you get good at it. Once it’s an ingrained habit, it’s easier and more reflexive–just like driving. :wink:

Aside from being careless…there are simply people who should not drive.

Maybe you are one of them?

We all know people who should not drive. Most manage to get a license and terrorize everyone the know.

You don’t always have to be slow to avoid being careless. However, in general you have to be slow first for awhile until the important things to be careful about become second nature. With this driving thing, there really are not shortcuts. Slow down and be careful. You failed the test 4 times. My cousin got his license, then got in 4 accidents within one year. If you think your situation was a pain…The result for him was that driving became prohibitively expensive (due to insurance costs) for several years. For grins, ask your insurance agent how much your rates would go up after 4 accidents. So after working hard to buy a car and earn his license, he still couldn’t drive. And if you think his situation was a pain, think of the people who get in serious accidents…

All of this to say, don’t think the time spent driving slowly and carefully is a waste. Master the basics, then after a while it will become second nature and you’ll go about it at normal speed.

Another example is public speaking. We often admire people who can get up in front of a crowd and say something intelligent and moving on the spur of the moment. The truth is those people may not have rehearsed that particular speech, but in the past they have probably rehearsed other talks many, many times. This has taught them how to organize their thoughts verbally in a way that makes it second nature.

To summarize, to be able to do something spontaneously and well, you will have to invest some time doing it in a slower, more methodical manner while you really learn the skill.