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4 Steps to Fixing Major Work Mistakes

4 Steps to Fixing Major Work Mistakes

We all make mistakes. Chances are, you’ll not be able to get through your career without making at least one—major or minor. The hardest part is first, admitting that you’ve erred, and then knowing what to do about it. When you make mistakes at work, don’t react right away. Take a deep breath and weigh your options. Here are five steps to help you recover and get yourself back on track.

1. Own your mistake.

There’s no getting around this one. You goofed. And everyone is going to know. There’s no point in trying to hide it, especially if other people will be affected by your gaffe. The sooner you take the blame and let people know what’s going on, the sooner the problem can be rectified. Don’t just say you did it and then walk away. Pull the Band-Aid off and get right down to damage control.

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Seek help if you need it. It may seem like a better idea to quietly fix it yourself, but the odds are you’ll miss something. It could be a more pervasive mess-up than you thought, or you could mess something else up in the process of trying to fix it. Be honest. Own it. And apologize. Then put yourself out there in the trenches until you set things right. People will respect you for your honorable behavior.

2. Get creative.

After admitting your mistake, don’t just sit there and wait for your boss to tell you how to fix the problem. Draw up an actionable plan right away by determining the best way to do some damage control and then act on it immediately. When disclosing your snafu, have a few suggestions as to how you plan to fix the problem. Offer the best solution first to make the situation seem less dire. Show you’re in control. You’ve already learned from your mistake, and you’re already working to fix things. It doesn’t mean you’re not going to get yelled at, but it might mean your boss will take note of your character throughout the situation. Handle this well, and minimize the damage, and you might maximize your boss’s good opinion.

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3. Forgive yourself.

Seriously, everybody screws up every now and then. Don’t beat yourself up too hard. For one thing, it’s a waste of time. For another, if you’re too busy gnashing your teeth, you won’t have time to learn from your mistake. So forgive yourself. Turn this failure into a life lesson, and use it to help make you better at your job. Use it to help you grow. Debrief yourself, alter your course to avoid similar fudge-ups in the future, and then move forward.

4. Straighten up and fly right.

Even if you did all of the above, you’ll still have to earn back trust. Start small—get all your smaller projects off your desk, with efficiency and precision. Log these minor victories in quick succession. Then move on to bigger ones. Go the extra mile as often as you can. Little by little, your boss will be so charmed that he’ll forget what happened last month—he’ll be too busy reveling in the quality of your work this month.

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You’re going to mess up eventually. What matters isn’t when or how, but how you choose to handle yourself in such situations. When in doubt, choose honesty, integrity, and good hard work to pull things back together. At the most basic level, your mistake means nothing. When you own up to your mistake and take action, your mistake actually help you to grow and become a better person. Don’t let your mistake shake you up. You got this!

How do you recover when you make mistakes at work? We want to hear from you!

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Featured photo credit: Shutterstock via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

I imagine that like me, you say that you never have enough time and that you just cannot cope with 60 dozen things all at once.

How on earth do you get out of that spiral?

Many people never sit down and look at how to work smarter, rather than harder and even longer hours. But not you, you’re smart enough to try to learn effective ways to work.

So how to work smarter not harder? Here are 12 smart ways you should be following:

1. Improve Your Time Management Skills

Easier said than done? Well, no actually, because there are a few simple rules that can really help you to manage time better.

For example, when setting up a top priority task, you need to switch off the phone and ignore your email first. Then you need to abandon any ideas of multitasking as that will slow you down and ruin your focus.

Finally, set a reasonable deadline and do everything in your power to meet it.

“When you’re born, you’re born with 30,000 days. That’s it. The best strategic planning I can give to you is to think about that.” — Sir Ray Avery

2. Speed up Your Typing and Use Shortcuts

These days we’re all keyboard slaves. So why not speed up your typing and try to get rid of the two finger syndrome. In fact, when you save 21 days per year just by typing fast!

This is exactly what I am doing now, so I cannot honestly say I am practicing what I preach!

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But help is at hand. Try some of these apps and games to help you type fast: 8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

Using shortcuts on the keyboard is another time saver and can speed up your work.

For example, press F2 to rename a selected file, while CTRL + I will put selected text in italics.

There are so many of these. If you make the effort to learn them, they really can be helpful.

3. Learn How to Use Productivity Tools

It is well worth downloading all the useful tools and apps that can highly boost your productivity. Take a look at these 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools and install whatever fits your needs.

Now that is really a great way of working smarter, not harder.

4. Use Your Phone Wisely

Instead of writing emails, sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone and talk to the person responsible. It saves time, especially for important or urgent discussions.

If that colleague works in the same office, it is even better to go and talk to him or her. It gives you a break, you get some exercise and you actually make human contact which is becoming quite rare in this electronic world.

5. Keep a Tab on Your Tabs

If you are like me, you might well find that you have a ton of tabs open at the top of your browser.

In order to find the one you want, you have to search for them as they are off screen. Having all these tabs open slows down your browser too.

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One solution is to use OneTab which can keep a neat list on the screen of all these tabs when you want to quickly get to one of them or you want to remind yourself which ones you have open.

6. Use a “To Don’t” List

We all know about to do lists and I find that they are generally great. They give me a great sense of achievement as I cross off the tasks done.

But often, I find that we are doing non-essential tasks or ones that can easily be postponed. That is why many people recommend the to don’t list.[1]

Some people prefer to savagely prune the to do list while others prefer to have two separate lists, to do and to don’t. You just have to work out what works best for you when you are trying to save precious time to become more productive.

7. Expect Failure and Fight Paranoia

When failure rears its ugly head, some people get a bit paranoid and fear that this may become a trend.

Projects will go wrong and failure should be expected rather than feared. Learning lessons from failure and analyzing what went wrong is the best way forward.

“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” — Richard Branson

And here you can find 10 Great Lessons Highly Successful People Have Learned From Failure.

8. Be Concise

Rambling on at meetings, in emails and even when introducing yourself to new clients can waste a lot of people’s time.

One way is to practice and sharpen your “elevator speech,”[2] which tells people in 30 seconds or less why they need your skills and how they can benefit from doing business with you.

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Just think of the many situations where this could be useful:

  • Making new contacts
  • Talking about yourself at a job interview
  • Meeting people at conferences or parties
  • Phone calls to new clients

9. Ask the Right Questions

“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” — Naguib Mahfouz

How do you get feedback? The secret is to ask the right questions at the right time.

When you do this, you are gathering the information you need to help in decision making. This will save you time and you will be able to cut meetings to a minimum.

Forbes magazine reports on research that they carried out on asking the right questions.[3] When that happens, the positive effects are increased by 400%. There are also other benefits in staff motivation and a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.

Lifehack’s CEO Leon has shared about how to ask for feedback to learn faster: How to Learn Quickly And Master Any Skill You Want

10. Learn as Much as You Can

You should always be on a steep learning curve. Look at your skills profile and determine where you need to fill a gap. Talk to important connections and network in your niche.

Keep up to date on trends and developments. It is a fact-changing world. When an opportunity arises, you will be the best equipped to seize it because you have never stopped learning. Just another way of working smarter.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

11. Look After Your Greatest Resource

No, your greatest resource is not time. It is YOU.

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If you do not get enough sleep, exercise and relaxation, you find that you become less and less productive. You begin to work longer and longer hours, which is the exact opposite of what you want.

What you should be doing is making sure you are in the best shape. It is useful to remember that you need a break of 15 minutes after every one and a half hours of work.[4]

Taking breaks and getting fresh air and exercise is one of the best ways of working smarter, not harder.

12. Don’t Fall into the Trap of Working Smarter and Harder

As a society, we are obsessed with doing everything smarter so we are more efficient and we save time all around.[5]

But the most important thing to remember is to accept when we are ready to switch off that computer and not fill up the time with even more work!

The Bottom Line

The key to greater productivity is to work smarter, not harder. Working smarter saves precious time and energy for the things that really matter — your life goals, your personal growth, your health and your relationships.

Stop working for more hours and start working smarter!

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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