When Your Work or Life Falls Apart

Go Back to Basics

In normal times, we take many things for granted and we very often take chances and try to stretch our capabilities to accomplish tasks, projects, and goals we’ve never done before. Those are all very bad ideas when things start to go wrong.

  • Take nothing for granted: Verify every fact. Test every component. Double-check your calculations. Look hard for potential problems before they can occur, and take steps to eliminate or ameliorate their consequences before they can impact you.
  • Simplify: Reduce the number of tasks, projects, and goals you’re striving to accomplish. Focus on one essential thing at a time. As much as possible, look to replace complicated choices and solutions with simpler ones.
  • Slow down: Whatever your normal pace for thinking, feeling, choosing, and acting, cut it in half. Taking more time for every action and reaction will allow you to be more deliberate, to avoid more errors, and to perform closer to your most precise level.
  • Take fewer risks, or none at all: When the forces of nature are working against you, it’s smart to reduce your dependence on a fair deal, good luck, or the usual odds.

Don’t Hide

The natural tendency when things start to go wrong in your work or your life is to cut back your involvement, your initiative, and your readiness to engage. That’s precisely the wrong way to behave.

Look to Connect with Others

A great way to make your own work and life better is to take steps to improve the work and life of others. But while your world is falling apart, don’t offer others your ideas and suggestions. Instead, place yourself under their direction. For example, ask to help them with simple tasks they may not have time for, or take on supportive tasks that will allow them to do their best at more important responsibilities and opportunities.



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Robert Moskowitz

Robert Moskowitz


Robert Moskowitz is a successful, award-winning writer and consultant, and the author of “How to Organize Your Work and Your Life.”