How to Move On After a Bad Day

A look at what Internet sages have to say about making mistakes.


A confession: I fouled up just about everything I did yesterday. The reason is fairly simple. I am not a great multitasker, and I find that facing multiple deadlines is something akin to glancing up Mount Everest before the climb.

On busy days, I scramble to make to-do lists as soon as I sit down at my desk in the morning, believing this to be my greatest organizational weapon. But as soon as things start to veer from those written mandates (for example, I finish writing the story, which was on my to-do list, but I forget to fix the links on the story, which was not), I begin to lose my head. By about 10:30 a.m. yesterday, if you had asked me to do A, B, and C—there was a pretty good chance I'd do A, but the likelihood dropped precipitously when it came to B and C. (Not a matter of willingness, of course, but of memory.)

So, in an effort to stem my losses and find a better way to work, I scouted the Internet this morning for some wisdom. Here are some things I found:

On taking responsibility for your mistakes, from Michelle Yozzo Drake:

It takes a LOT of willpower not to run in the opposite direction of my mistakes. I fight the urge to run away or to blame someone else all the time! But then I challenge myself to run toward my mistake instead. I own up to it, face the fallout head-on, and do my best strategic thinking to mend the situation.

On creating to-do lists, from Little Red Suit:

I have two lists—one of projects, one of tasks. Most of the tasks have to do with the projects. I revise and print my task list at the start of each day so I'm starting out fresh. The projects list I look at once a week to make sure I have written down tasks that move each of my projects forward. I also put spur-of-the-moment stuff on my task list. So far, this has saved me tons of time and helped me keep working on all priority-level projects and tasks.

On working smarter, from Dumb Little Man:

As new projects arrive or circumstances change, we may feel compelled to jump to a new task before we finished the previous one. Unless it is an absolute emergency, avoid this behavior. You interrupt your progress and train of thought, making it difficult to pick up again where you left off with any efficiency. Lack of efficiency only adds to the amount of time it will take you to finish.

On getting over yourself, from What Would Dad Say:

Everyone can work harder at work. This is a fact. You should give yourself a bit of a pep talk. If you ever played sports at any level—this is the workplace equivalent of the halftime or pregame speech. I never had a single coach who played the "pity us, ain't it awful" game. Give yourself one of those brutally honest talks today and bust your [behind].

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