I’m constantly watching for omens. Maybe it’s because I work in a rather capricious field, where even the sagiest of sages will acknowledge the disconnect between success or failure, and the quality of work.
Then again, maybe I’m just weird.
Whatever the reason, I’m always on the lookout for warning lights. Here are 7 signs which could tell you there’s a sticky wicket ahead:
You’re way over-extended. When you’re juggling multiple priorities and deadlines, you’re much more likely to make mistakes and sometimes drop the ball – or deadline – completely. The question is, what will break when you do that?
You’re losing things. It could be a receipt, a proposal draft, a check, an order form or anything else which you should really be keeping track of. This probably happens because you don’t have enough time to put things away, or you’re too distracted to remember what you did. Neither bode well.
Mail is piling up – in your inbox. I’ve noticed that when my life is starting to go off the rails, I don’t have enough time to go through my e-mail like I should. My temptation is then to go through and delete great swaths of it. This is dangerous, because vital bits of communication can get swept away by hasty housekeeping.
Mail is piling up everywhere – and so are other things. I’m not exactly a member of the Clean Desk Club myself, and I’d never claim to be neat. But I have noticed that growing disarray on my desk and in my personal belongings generally means I’m struggling to hang in there – and skating dangerously close to losing.
You seem to be accident-prone. If you’re always dropping things, or knocking them over, maybe it’s because you’ve got big piles of stuff all over your office or home (please see above). Spilling stuff, tripping and bumping into things can be a sign you’re not paying attention, and that’s how lots of messes – and problems – get made.
You’ve never considered the possibility of something going wrong. Let’s face it, something can always go wrong. If you don’t entertain the possibility, you can’t prepare for the eventuality. This will make it even harder to recover when the unthinkable, or inevitable, happens.
You never stop thinking that something could go wrong. Although wishing won’t make anything so, dwelling on doom and gloom won’t help your prospects. Just as being unrealistically optimistic isn’t helpful (please see above), always thinking the worst can make you close yourself off to opportunities.
These warning signs are pretty obvious. But just as I’m not sure what a sticky wicket really is, I often don’t know what manner of calamity – big or small – is headed my way when I see them.
I’ll report back when I’ve figured this out. Or do you have any ideas?
by Danielle Dresden