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Tag: David Allen

What’s the Real Emergency Room?

My summer job before I left for college in 1965 was the night admitting clerk in the emergency room in the Huntsville, Alabama county hospital – a facility built to support a few thousand in a small rural community but now taxed with serving hundreds of thousands, brought to town by the new Apollo missile program.  Saturday nights in the small emergency room were often pure chaos, with auto wreck victims lined up on gurneys in the hallway. Those shifts passed the quickest for me, and I slept the best, afterwards.

Crisis promotes a kind of serenity. Why do people commonly tend get into their “zone” then? It’s because of what the situation demands: appropriate engagement. Think about the last time you were in such a circumstance. What were the fundamental components of your experience and behavior? Immediate integration of potentially meaningful inputs; clear definition of desired outcomes; trust in your intuitive judgment; decisions about specific next actions and physical movement on the most critical; consistent recalibration of all factors as required; acceptance of what can’t and needn’t be done at that moment. Those are all core elements of triage, and, actually, appropriate engagement with anything. Put together they’ll get you into your “zone.”

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