Proofreading is important. We all know we should proofread everything
we write, but we all are busy.
I remembered this last week when I posted a blog that was repeated. Yes, you read what I wrote, and then you could immediately read it again, because it was there twice. You may be thinking “how did that happen because it must have seemed so obvious.” This is true, but the explanation I could provide doesn’t matter, only that it happened. And many of you emailed me to let me know it happened.
Of course, I immediately went and fixed the problem. The fact is that I should have looked at the draft one more time and it wouldn’t have happened.
I have been working on trying to proofread everything I write, starting with email. Every time I slow down and do so, I find an error to fix or something I want to revise to sound better. It’s better than reading my original email after someone responds and seeing something I should have or likely would have revised.
Proofreading is another way to invest in yourself. You are putting something out there on which one or more people may be judging you or sizing you up. You want to put out the best written work you can, so proofread what you wrote one more time before putting it out there.
When I was younger, clichés such as “The days are long, but the years are short” kind of bugged me. As I aged, I learned that clichés are clichés because they generally are true for most people. I am reminded of how quickly time goes by each week when Shutterfly sends me an email with a few pictures and a subject line such as “Your memories from this week ten years ago.” Then I look and see much younger versions of me, my wife and our children, friends and families, and fun travels from the past.
My point isn’t to lament the passage of time, or of aging, but to consider it in a different light. I think how fast time goes by in the big picture makes setting goals and planning how to reach them that much more important.
I encourage you to make a plan. It can be for a year, six months or whatever time frame works best for you. You may combine personal and work related goals in a single plan or have different plans, but writing down your goals makes it more likely you will reach them. In doing so, you should turn your goals into SMART goals (this can easily be Googled) with action steps to reach them. This is the first step. Many people do this and then don’t look at their plans again.
For most of us this alone won’t help us reach our goals because you need to keep your goals in mind – yes, the cliché that comes to mind is “out of sight, out of mind.” Instead, you need to keep your plan where you will see it regularly. This could be a printout on your desk at home or work (or both), or as a file on your computer’s desktop where you will see it every time you start it up. Or maybe use it as the wallpaper on your computer monitor as a reminder.
Then, and this is big, you actually need to review it regularly. This allows you to see where you are and adjust steps or goals, if necessary. You can make it a part of your routine on whatever time frame you think works by setting calendar items or tasks so you are reminding yourself to review your plan. If you try this, it likely will become a default activity you make time for, which is the definition of investing in yourself.