The importance of anticipating failure← Back to blog
You try to finish a task quickly by rushing or cutting corners and nothing turns out the way you planned. Does this sound familiar? It happens all the time, you leave the house a few minutes late, you get in the elevator and when you get to the ground floor, you notice you left the reports that you needed for today. You go to the supermarket to pick up four things that you need, but you do not have time because at six you have a meeting, even still you decide to pick up the items from the supermarket: and when you get home you notice that you forgot half of what you had set out to get. It is a classic case for people who live by an endless fixed schedule between office time and other obligations.
Doing things quickly and at the last minute only achieves two things: stressing you out more than necessary and having things turn out nothing like what was planned; that is to say, in the end, everything goes (normally) wrong. You can have a lucky day sometimes, or even two or three. But be careful, life is a culmination of unexpected events hiding behind a tree just waiting to jump out. Below we will give you a few tips to either avoid or face the day to day difficulties that come up and complicate our lives:
- Do not leave for tomorrow what you can do today (or maybe you should). The saying is correct, but not always. Although it is important to get tasks completed, it is also important to do them thoroughly and meticulously. Sometimes, for the sake of finishing a project, we do it quickly and poorly. If you have time (if you actually have time, not just a few minutes), do it. If you do not have time, wait until tomorrow to do it. However…. We all know about the story of the ant and the grasshopper, right? Do not rest on your laurels!
- Shake off unexpected events There are around every corner, ready to catch you off guard when you least expect it. It is common knowledge that you cannot avoid unexpected events, but you can minimize their effects or be ready to deal with new situations. A clean jacket in the office for if coffee spills, a backup copy of the very important reports, backup files on the work computer, or simply having extra deodorant in the last drawer in your desk can be a lifesaver.
- Always have a plan B. Related to the previous point: always have a few backup plans up your sleeve for those unexpected desperate moments. Keep in mind that everything in life is susceptible to turning out wrong, or at least, turning out in a way that is neither bad nor good. When you have a presentation, think of everything that could happen: the computer battery dying, the projector not working, unexpected questions and not knowing how to answer. When you have a meeting, try to stay ahead of what is happening and always have an alternative plan on hand to stay out of trouble.
- Do a good job from the beginning. What is the reason of doing something badly and half-heartedly if you know you will have to do it again later? This happens way too frequently. We leave the most complicated tasks or the tasks that we do not like to do for last: running numbers, footnotes, statistics, etc. Try to do everything right from the beginning and you will see that everything runs more smoothly. Keep in mind that if you leave everything for the last minute, or the most complicated things, unexpected difficulties can occur. And that is not good for you.
- Ask for help and leave your pride behind.. Sometimes our pride does not let us ask for help. And this happens in every environment, the work environment, with our families, etc. If you do not know how to do something or if you are lacking information go out on a limb and ask someone who can help you. Do not just go in circles that do not lead anywhere. The earlier you learn to trust in other people, the earlier they can help you.
This advice may not be the cure-all for work stress, but it can surely help you realize that things actually can turn out well if we think of everything that can happen and look at our projects from all angles. Without resorting to extreme pessimism, it is important to know that everything can turn out very well or very badly. So, do not leave things until the last minute and get ahead of failure.