It may sound depressing to take time to think about how things didn't go very well for you in the last month, quarter, or year, but John Caddell explains over at the blog The 99 Percent that one of the best motivators to eliminate careless mistakes and embrace a productivity system that works for you is to stop and think about those errors you made that you know shouldn't have slipped past you.
Image: Neil T.
Caddell explains that no one wants to think of themselves as sloppy, but all of us make careless mistakes that we would have seen if we had more time, energy, or weren't so busy. He points out that even as we demand excellence in our work, we still have to manage ringing phones, stuffed email inboxes and competing priorities at the office.
To avoid those simple errors, he proposes taking an hour to sit and reflect specifically on the things that didn't go well and jot down the errors you know you wouldn't make if you had a second chance. We've discussed how keeping a work diary can help with this process.
Then, instead of trying to just put more effort into things — which usually doesn't work, at least not for long — embrace a personal productivity system (or tweak the one you have) to give yourself room to check for those errors. Add more mail filters to your inbox, or learn to say no in both professional settings and personal ones. Before you can make those changes however, you have to take stock and think about what went wrong first.
Do you take time to think about your mistakes as well as your successes, or do you prefer to just blow past them and move on to the next task? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Break Bad Patterns by Taking Your Errors to Heart [The 99 Percent]