3 Ways to Handle Failure
Shown above: On the Go Busy Gal Planner
What do you do when it all falls apart? How do you handle failure?
There’s something important you need to know right here and right now: you will have bad days. Things will fall apart. Even your best efforts will fail you. I hate to be the bearer of such bad news, but it’s important that you realize in advance that failure will happen.
This is where it’s so easy for us to cave. We either become convinced that we’re failures or that life will not allow us to stay on top of the plan.
How to Handle Failure: Give Yourself Grace and Record Successes
I’ve been at this point so many times, and I can tell you that giving up is never the solution! Instead, start by reminding yourself that just because failure hit you, YOU are not a failure. Give yourself grace in this moment. Recognize that you’re human and that there are always going to be things outside your control.
Only after you give yourself this grace will you be ready for the next step in learning how to handle failure. And that next step is this: take five minutes to open your planner and record what you did accomplish. Focus on the successes. You either didn’t plan or the plan fell apart. So, what happened instead?
Think about it, write it down, and recognize what you were able to accomplish in spite of it all. Do this every single day until you get back to a place where you can plan again. By the end of the week, you might see that things didn’t fall apart as badly as it seemed!
How to Handle Failure: Learn How to Catch Back Up
Of course, this leaves us with an important question: how do you catch up when you’ve fallen behind?
Remember that list of everything you did accomplish in your day? I want you to look back at that list and think about what’s missing. What is the biggest priority that should have gotten done today but didn’t? Write that down for tomorrow. It might only be one thing, but go ahead and write it down, then make it a priority to do that one thing.
It seems like an oversimplistic way to handle failure, but making note of that one priority helps you take a tangible step toward catching back up. Repeat the process each day as you jot down what you accomplished. You might be surprised to discover that one priority turns into three, and three turn into five until you find yourself caught up!
But remember to focus on the priorities. Some lesser things will need to slide and be restarted later. By focusing on the priorities, you make sure that the important things don’t slide.
How to Handle Failure When the Plan Still Doesn’t Work
You’ve given yourself grace. You’ve tried to refocus by jotting down what you’ve accomplished and redetermining your priorities. But somehow it still isn’t working. How do you handle failure when everything falls apart not only every day but also week after week after week?
There are several reasons why a plan might continually fail. First, you could be overscheduling. We all have that tendency. We pack our days far too full and leave ourselves little or no margin. Revisit the framework of your schedule and make sure that it’s not packed too tightly.
Maybe the schedule isn’t too full, but the timing is just wrong. What about a shuffle? Move a challenging subject to a different time of day. Change break time or lunch time a bit. Reconsider wake-up and bedtime routines. Sometimes a little shift in when things are scheduled is all that’s needed.
If it’s not the schedule, then it probably comes down to your priorities. Are they lined up? Are you prioritizing the right things? Or do you need to review and reprioritize?
When the plan falls apart week after week, don’t give up. Re-evaluate! Remember that plans and schedules sometimes need to be updated and refreshed. Take the time to play around with yours a bit instead of giving in to defeat.
Remember that failure will happen. It’s unfortunately an inevitable part of the journey. But you will learn how to handle failure well as you keep giving yourself grace, find friends who can encourage you along the way, and keep trying. You can do this!