If you’re interested in time management, you probably find yourself driven toward perfection, or at the very least, success. And how we measure success within the results-driven workplace often leaves little room failure or mistakes.
But as multi-millionaire inventor and businessman James Dyson points out in a recent guest column at Wired magazine, individual failures are the keys to increasing your overall productivity and success. He has a point.
Dyson says it took him an incredible 5,127 prototypes over a period of 15 years to finally get to his cyclonic vacuum cleaner right. He worked long and hard and personally invested a great amount of sacrifice that finally paid off.
He claims that each mistake, and the incremental improvements he was able to introduce were necessary for getting the end result, and it’s his belief that failure, and the ability to learn from it, is crucial to any creative endeavor.
While Dyson offers an extreme case of failure followed by success, even applying his theory to small scale projects can help you improve the way you work and your end result:
Give yourself ‘wiggle room’ for mistakes. Unlike Dyson’s starving artist approach, most businesses have budgets, schedules, and revenue streams that must be maintained. While it’s important to meet the bottom line, managers and entrepreneurs should always anticipate inefficiencies, mishaps, and accidents outside of your control.
Whenever possible, give yourself more time than you think it will take to get a task done.
Always look for an upside. Dyson points to Thomas Edison, who was able to create a number of unintended inventions while on the working toward something else. While your missteps might cost you money or time or in the short term, stay on the lookout for new opportunities, new markets, and new skills you’ve acquired or used in the process of falling short.
Becoming more productive is a long-term goal that requires you to be forward-thinking, even when short-term problems can start to seem overwhelming.