By Cheryl Scheir
I usually feel like I’m pretty “on.” I take on multiple assignments at the same time, work them hard, toss them in the air to examine them for quality, juggle them with other assignments, and produce, on all levels.
Except, sometimes I’m not “on,” and I usually don’t realize it until I blow it.
Luckily, I’ve never blown it royally. I think I came close one day when I insisted I was still the server in a tennis game, when my serve was actually 2 games ago. (Big, big cringe). Usually, blowing it looks something like:
Mailing a letter without a stamp
Goofing up on an address or check name (still sorry about that, Dakota!)
Sending an old draft instead of the latest/greatest draft
Blipping on the fact that there’s a laundry basket in the Zoom view behind me
Failing to pass over a draft by the due date that I had completed a day before the due date (this happened just yesterday--ugh)
Honestly, since the tennis game thing, blowing it is a red flag to me that I’m doing too much. I’m multi-tasking in excess, forgetting that multi-tasking isn’t something that my brain can really do without shorting something else on my very valuable attention. (See the Psychology Today article Why You Can’t Multi-task) When it happens, I need to do more than mop up the mess and bounce back from the embarrassment. Also, I need to:
Forgive myself and get humble, saying to myself, “Even I have my limits”
Apologize for blowing it; that’s not a sign of weakness, just a recognition of reality
Clear the decks of anything that’s unnecessary or non-urgent
Get my head straight, usually by listing out everything I’ve got going on using a calendar or planner
Get some small, do-able tasks done, reassuring myself that I can do something
Remember: the measure of your capabilities is not whether or not you blow it. Take it from me: you will blow it. The real measure is what you do after you blow it to make sure it doesn’t happen again (at least not for a while).