Let’s take a break from being perfect to discuss 5 work related things I really SUCK at!
Well, this post is absolutely the opposite of what was etched out on my schedule for the week. The IDEA was to talk about work related tools that help me kick-butt. But, rather than focus on that I started thinking about the things I don’t necessarily kick-butt at it. You know, because as much as I’d like to be awesome at everything…there are some things I’m not inherently a pro at.
Hence the new title, 5 Work Things I SUCK At! Seems like it might be a nice of change, doesn’t it? To talk about personal pitfalls. Think of this as my ‘I’m Human’ post. As in, the post where I confess five things I could definitely work more on…
#1 Work Thing I Suck At: Sticking to a Schedule
I’m great at creating editorial calendars. Yet, I’m absolutely rubbish when it comes to sticking to the schedule I set for myself. I’ve tried making lists and buying fancy notebooks but I can never stick to the schedule. It’s not such a bad thing though, really…because I’ve come to realize that some of my best work and most successful articles, posts, etc. come from a place of spontaneity. When an idea pops into my head, I like to run with it right then…while my inspiration is HOT. That means, my calendar is a series of crossed out scribbles and arrows moving things around and basically reworking everything on the fly.
That said, I think having an editorial calendar and a communication plan is essential for success in any form of marketing, blogging or communications. The key for me is to think of it more as a guide, than a rule book. It’s there to keep me moving in the right direction, but when inspiration strikes it’s flexible enough that I can deviate from it without worry. (My Sagittarius-ness is really showing here, ha!)
#2 Work Thing I Suck At: Proof-Reading
Honestly, I think anyone who ever writes anything is pretty bad when it comes to proof-reading their own work. In fact, that’s why publishers and printers have full-time “proof-readers” employed to correct the mistakes we skip right over. (A career I’d absolutely suck at.) Turns out, my fast-paced mind sees what it thinks is there…and as such, my mind clearly thinks I’m immune to typos. #Wrong
As lovely as it would be to turn everything I write for work or Dream in Lace to a professional proof-reader to review — I have developed a few strategies to correct my own mistakes.
- Reading out loud is a sure way to catch any awkward language or typos. It slows my mind down helps make any errors stand out
- Read in reverse. It’s very awkward but that helps make any typos scream at you
#3 Work Thing I Suck At: Patience
If you haven’t caught on from item 1 and 2, my mind moves quickly and can easily dart from one thing to the next. That’s great for me, but makes it really difficult when having to work around other people who are not as quick of a worker and unable to quickly shift-gears. This was a difficult lesson when I graduated college and hit the work force and it didn’t take me long to realize that what I can wrap up in a day usually takes someone else about two or three days.
As adult-ing means getting along and efficiently managing your schedule around others, I’ve learned that I need to have three or four (at least) other things in the works that don’t rely so heavily on others’ input. That way, when I finish that task and am waiting another person’s piece – I have several things to keep me busy in the meantime. Also, if all else fails, I’ll take a deep breath and proof-read once more my writing…ha!
#4 Work Thing I Suck At: Training and Explaining My Process
For me, I’m very self-motivated and when I need to learn something. I proactively take advantage of Google, video tutorials and use trial-and-error at length. Why? Because I firmly believe you only thoroughly know and understand something after you have experienced it yourself.
Fortunately, being a self-motivated and largely self-taught individual has pretty much worked out well for me 100% of the time. Unfortunately, that puts me in a position where I’ve been called upon to train others.
It’s a difficult thing, training…and while I’m not inherently good at it, I diligently work on getting better. Why? I find there’s value being a mentor or developing good training practices. I’ve created countless step-by-step visual guides. I’ve sat on the sidelines as my trainee messes something up, to take them step-by-step through how to piece things back together.
In some cases I’ve had to train one person. In other cases I’ve had to train full staff teams. In neither case is it easy, but taking time to figure out how each individual approaches routine tasks is key for me to build a game plan. I think to be a great trainer, you have to put yourself in that person’s shoes and understand where they’re coming from to better direct them to where they need to go. (Call Forbes and Oprah, I think I just had an ‘aha’ moment!)
#5 Work Thing I Suck At: Walking Away
I once shared an office with a lady who worked from 8 am till 4 pm. As soon as that clock struck 4, no matter what she was doing, she would stand up and leave. She could be mid-sentence, mid-email, mid-printing, mid-anything…it didn’t matter. She was out the door.
Her relationship with work was SO different than mine, that it actually fascinated me. Other coworkers would gripe about it. They’d sneer that she was uncommitted or maybe lazy…but for me? I found it inspiring. She was the exact opposite of me, to the point where I couldn’t help but admire her for it. You mean, you can actually leave with something unfinished? WHAT??? Mind-blowing.
I’ve left work dehydrated and starving more times than I can count, unable to tear myself away from my desk for even a couple minutes to get a drink of water. I’ve routinely left work long after dark, come in on the weekends, snuck work in at home, been up in the middle of the night, slaved over a mailing at 11 pm…whatever it takes. Unlike said co-worker, I simply CAN’T walk away. I like bookends. I like completing a project, no matter how much time it takes…to be able to start project #2 the next day or come in fresh on Monday morning.
I accept that I’ll never be one to leave work asap, but I darn well commend those that do! Work projects don’t hang over your head like a cloud the way they seemingly do for me. Your ability to say ‘That’s it for the day, bye!’ and walk away is so NOT the way that I operate and I salute you.
What areas at work to you struggle with? I’m curious to know!