In a world of multitasking sometimes preparation takes two steps back.
I travel for my work and have to make certain everything that I need is in my suitcase, in my workbook, in my purse or on my person. A friend has a check-off list for her travels, but I don’t go to that extreme, and yet…. I have arrived at my destination and not been 100 percent prepared. What happened? Obviously, I was doing too many things at the last minute, not paying attention to detail and thinking that I’d either packed an item or made copies of my work. This trip is no exception.
Being prepared does take a check-off list if you want to be 100 percent before you leave; therefore, 100 percent when you arrive. My attention span goes from right on to all over creation. It’s amazing to find myself one-quarter of the way through a project and then jump up to do something entirely different, then swing into something else. ADD is alive and well in Corporate America…and my office.
Before I left yesterday these are the things that I needed completed before I left: 1) workbook, 2) PowerPoint, 3) thumb drive, 4) clothes, 5) all the other essentials for over-night stays. What did I forget? 1) a copy of the latest changes to my PowerPoint, 3) jewelry, 4) socks, 5) mouse. Now none of these would ruin my day, it just points to a rushed take-off; no excuse. Right before I left I was on the phone talking about an e-book and I just bypassed a second look at my materials, my desk, my dresser and my suitcase. Have you ever arrived unprepared?
Do you dawdle because you think you have extra time? Then you realize you’re rushing around at the last minute berating yourself for not having this or having completed that! It’s a wonder we ever get all the things accomplished and all our work completed. Three-fourth of the time no one knows that we’re “unprepared.” We make the tasks look brilliant, our presentations smooth, our organization flawless! If people only knew. My motto: No one knows your script!
You have sat through presentations and thought that everything about it was spotless, but the presenter was worried about multiple aspects, none of which the audience even cared about. If we bring attention to our faults, failings or incompletions, then people take notice, but otherwise they are oblivious. No one today will even think about my earrings, couldn’t care less about the copy of my PowerPoint slides, never even consider that my wireless mouse is sitting quietly on my desk ready to be packed, or that I am not wearing socks. (The audience won’t see below my waist for the most part. I want them to pay attention to my words, their workbook and the PowerPoint. Why do I care about the non-essentials?)
My preparation for the class is all that counts. I’m more than certain that I’ll deliver value-added information, helpful writing tools and tips, a fun-filled day of training and 100 percent of Dee. These are the stats that will stay with the audience, not what I look like, not that I have handwritten notes on my PowerPoint copy, or that it’s 33 degrees outside and I don’t have socks on!
What I wasn’t prepared for were the typos on my PowerPoint that attendees brought to my attention. Mind you, I’m glad they did! But, I’m conducting a writing class and I shove the point home about 100 percent-error-free documents. Whoops. There’s no excuse for the little – yet glaring – typos, and yet, there they were. (Now corrected.) I’m human, I make mistakes!
Preparation for every day is always fun, and maybe a challenge, but we do the best we can with what we have at the moment. When we forget something, when someone points out our errors, when we have to “wing it,” or when we mess up, it’s all minor compared to our health, family, friends and welfare. It’s also how you deal with it. Do you go with the flow, or do you build dams that prevent you from moving forward? It’s up to you.