How many mistakes have you made today?

29/5/2012 |

stuart mckenzie productivity training

Many of us have grown up used to hearing phrases such as “If a thing’s worth doing, then it’s worth doing well”. We may be less familiar with a similar saying: “If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly”. This latter saying is a useful one to refer to daily as we strive to become more productive and/or creative in our work and professional lives.

One common reason for not getting things done is fear of failure – or making mistakes. So how do you let yourself make mistakes when understandably making mistakes at work could lose you your job or forgetting your partner’s drycleaning again is going to lead to yet another row? Firstly, it is important to pick and choose where and when we make mistakes. The wrong figures in a key report at work is probably not the place to actively allow mistakes. There are ways we can invite in mistakes or failure into our lives:

• Doodling – letting yourself draw badly on a scrap of paper is a useful daily practice. (Check out writer and painter Betty Edwards)
• Doing 3 pages of long hand uncensored free flow writing (Check out writer and movie artist Julia Cameron)
• Giving yourself time – set your own deadlines (ahead of any agreed with others) – to allow you and what you are doing to get it wrong (writer and psychologist Tony Humphreys)

There are many more tools and you can have fun trying to figure out which ones work best (or perhaps not so well) for you. What is important is integrating the concept of making mistakes as a natural part of getting things done as a daily practice – and watch your productivity/creativity begin to sore!

The Native Americans have a saying that to be happy in life you need to allow yourself 33 mistakes a day. How many have you made today?

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