How to Move on from Your Mistake and Feel Productive Again

You’re not perfect.

At some point, no matter how careful you are, you will make mistakes. And when you do, you will feel like a fool. You will wallow in self pity. You will feel like you’ve brought everyone down. These feelings of guilt isn’t good for you. You’ll end up making more mistakes and less productive.

So, how do you move on?

Here’s what I did.

Accept the universal truth: you can’t change the past.

You know this is true.But still you find yourself thinking about the past. The past, especially the shameful parts of it, play in your head like endless TV commercials. This is even magnified when we make a mistake.Recently, I made a huge school related mistake. I miscalculated the time I had left to complete a final paper. I was lucky that the mistake didn’t have a huge consequence. I was saved by my teammates. The paper was still submitted on time despite my blunder.

Inside, however, I was in a turmoil.

If there’s one thing that I hate the most, it’s the feeling of being useless. Luckily, I had my chance of redemption. And in the last minute, I was able to contribute towards the completion of the paper.As a writer, I have a natural tendency to be neurotic and dramatic. But then at one point, I got tired of it. I was tired of feeling inadequate. I was tired of feeling bad for myself.
Nowadays, I focus more on the things I can do in the present moment. As someone who is very concerned about productivity, thinking about the past is a waste of time. I know you it will take months and years before you can move on from the past, most especially if you were hurt or if you hurt someone. But if you do your best to focus on the things that you can do now so that when you look back in the future, you would be proud of the person you used to be.

Recognize that you’ve made a mistake.

For me, it’s easy to accept my mistakes. I think I’m very apologetic to a fault.
On the other hand, some people like to play the blame game. The problem with this is that it prolongs your agony. Passing your mistake to someone else makes the problem worse. If you work with a team, your time will be spent resenting the person who made a mistake. And the person who made the mistake is in denial. You all hit a wall. No one takes action.

In the event that you make a mistake, be brave enough to own it. People actually respect those who own up to their mistakes.

Find ways to correct your mistake.

Now, that you’ve recognized that you made a mistake, the next step is to take action. Is it still possible to correct the mistake you’ve made? For example, if you’ve missed the deadline for your report, can you ask an extension?
If it can’t be corrected, find other ways to make up for it.

While most of the mishaps in our lives can be fixed, there are instances when we can’t. Did you accidentally upload an embarrassing video of your friend on YouTube that unexpectedly went viral? It’s pretty hard to come back from this, right? But for sure, there’s a way that you could make up for it. There’s probably no way that you could stop people from sharing the video. But you could issue a public apology. You could apologize to your friend and find ways to make up for your
mistake. Give her a free massage? Supply her with a year’s worth of ice cream perhaps?

Yes, you can’t undo the past.

But there are things you can do in the present to still come out as a winner.

How to get back to the productivity train

Going back to my earlier example when I made school related mistake, I felt devastated. Because of that one mistake, I felt so unsure of myself. That day, I also had deadlines for work. But I can’t seem to do anything right because I was too focused on feeling bad. My conscience kept nagging at me.
If you find yourself in the same situation, here are some productive things you can do:

•    Focus on the solution instead of the mistake
•    Execute the  solution
•    Have a system in place to avoid similar mistakes in the future
•    Be kind to yourself

How do you handle your own mistakes? Please do share your experience below!

Irene Chan

Irene Chan

Irene Chan loves two things: communication and technology. With this tech blog and her role as Head of Communications at Veems, she believes she has the best job in the world. 🙂 Besides those two things, she's also crazy for coffee, dogs, and zombies.Follow her on Veems to get tips and fun updates from her geeky life.
Irene Chan