When is Autopilot a Bad Thing?


I recently laughed to myself about an old scene from the movie Airplane. At one point, they turn on the emergency autopilot, and a funny blow-up pilot with a hat ends up flying the plane. It had me thinking about the concept of autopilot in our lives and how it can help or hurt us.

Marshall Goldsmith, the top executive coach in the world, and Barack Obama both talk about how they put their daily wardrobe on autopilot. They both own multiple pairs of the same shirt and pants they wear every day.

This isn’t for everybody but what works for them is that there isn’t a second of wasted time or energy that goes into figuring out what to wear. It is just automatic!

Many people have their morning routine on autopilot and simply follow the rails of a well-established process that sets them up for the day.

And then, of course, outsourcing is a form of autopilot. For example, you can outsource your calendar management and social media posts. Subscription services or other service providers can even handle everything from your laundry to your meals.

You can even autopilot procuring your pleasure. For example, I have a service that sends me small-batch coffee from around the world every month. I don’t have to think about it, and I quite literally get a world of variety. It’s amazing.

The less time and energy you put towards things you don’t personally need to be focusing on, the more bandwidth you have for what is truly important in your life.

When you leverage your ability to put the right things on autopilot, it allows you to fully engage with the things that should never go on autopilot, like spending time with your loved ones. Communicating with the people you count on for business. Connecting with deeper meaning or being engaged in something you are passionate about.

Again, the whole point of autopilot is to set you up for full engagement with the things that matter most. So, what parts of your life cost you precious time and energy that could be put on autopilot?

You don’t have to do it all yourself when you can autopilot the right stuff and set yourself up for a life of ease, joy, and productivity. If you would like a little help, that’s one of my specialties.


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