One of my major productivity challenges is that I have a difficult time learning lessons from my mistakes the first time they happen. I’ll get an idea in my mind for how something should work, and then when it doesn’t go as planned, I take little or no notice that my procedure was flawed.
Here, let me give you an example: I’m currently working on an article for a magazine. According to my calendar, I should have been working on this article every morning this week from 8:00 until 10:00. So far this week, I have yet to work on the article between 8:00 and 10:00. This is the busiest time of my day. I have been interrupted with important endeavors every time I’ve tried to work on the article. But, did I adjust my schedule to work on the article at a different, less chaotic time? Nope. Not a bit. For FOUR DAYS this block of time hasn’t worked for me and this article, but I haven’t done a single thing about it. Instead, I’ve stayed at work an extra two hours every evening to get the work finished.
This is what I should have done: On Monday evening, before I left work, I should have rearranged my schedule for the next day so that I could try working on the article from 2:00 to 4:00 in the afternoon. If things went well, then I should have rearranged my schedule for the remainder of the week. If they didn’t go well, then I should have tried a different time slot for the next day.
To help overcome my inability to learn lessons the first time, I have devised a new strategy for the end of my work day. I’m going to keep up with my practice of preparing my desk and materials for tomorrow’s work day, but I’m going to add a routine before this process.
I’m going to take five minutes to ask myself questions and evaluate my work that occurred during that day:
- What processes went well today?
- Why did those processes succeed?
- What processes didn’t go well today?
- Why did those processes not succeed?
- What changes can I make in the future to turn these non-successful processes into successful processes?
How do you analyze your work to keep from making the same mistakes repeatedly?