We’ve all been there. We’ve all been in situations where we’ve tried to get something done, and we failed miserably. We tried our best, but we didn’t succeed. We gave up and went on to the next thing.

It’s a pretty common occurrence, and it’s easy to get discouraged when we fail. We’re told to “keep trying,” but what if you can’t? What if you just don’t have the ability to do anything else but try?

You see a setback as a failure and you can’t start moving foward. If you manage to keep going, you may accomplish less or nothing at all.

And this is what we want to prevent.

How to Prevent Setbacks

Well, you have to make a choice. You can either let the obstacle bring you down and make you feel like you can’t do anything, or you can choose to see the setback as a challenge.

Step One

However a setback occurs, refuse to see the obstacle as a failure to get you back on track. When you decide this, any setback whether it was on your part, on someone else, or in a system, it will not stop you from your goal. With this you can prevent it from becoming a roadblock, and actually increase your productivity. 

Step Two

Look at the setback as an opportunity to do better the next time.

If you have made an error in your work, the best approach is to correct the error and move on. Do not try to cover it up as it will bring more roadblocks to your full plate and you cannot afford that. Nor can you allow it to stop you.

If you fail to correct it and move ahead, you may find yourself dwelling on it. You may beat yourself up about the mistake, obsess over it, or overthink it which only causes more poblems.

These behaviors are never useful and will prevent you from getting things done. They will also cause you to feel bad about yourself. Worst of all, it can lead you to feel incompetent.

This is obviously not the way to get it done.

Viewing Obstacles as a Learning Experience

Viewing each setback as a learning experience is a much better approach.

You can tell yourself that you are capable of doing better, and capable of doing more. As long as you look at setbacks this way, instead of as failures, they will not prevent you from moving forward. Correct the mistake and learn from it, and move ahead.

When you have developed this pattern, and make it a regular part of your work life, setbacks will not stand in the way of your career. 

Roadblocks are Normal But We Can Overcome them

One of the biggest roadblocks to productivity is the approach that many people take to them. If you see a setback as an epic fail, then you have limited your productivity but it can go as far as preventing you from doing anything.

Setbacks occur in all areas of life. Regardless of what type of job you have, you have experienced them either on a regular basis or occasionally.

Setbacks can occur from making mistakes, from not being adequately prepared for what you need to do, or from unexpected problems which are not anyone’s fault. The way you experience and view a setback determines how it will affect you and your productivity.

Setback Example

Let’s say that you are working on a project to write a book. And you have spent hours pouring over your notes, researching various topics, and you have outlined the structure of your book. After spending all this time on your outline, you come across a problem that has occurred during the writing process and you realize that it needs to be re-written.

This is where many people see their book as lost.

They become paralyzed and refuse to write anything new and instead they give up. They think that since they spent all this time, they should be able to simply start writing again and complete their book.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. The reason why people get stuck after they have a setback is because they see it as a failure. Let’s not let that be you.

Productivity for Busy Professional Series

You can go to the main page of this productivity series here, all professional articles here, or other articles below:

  • Don’t Let Setbacks Get You Down!
  • Be Goal-Oriented
  • Organization to Productivity
  • When You Need to Delegate for Productivity
  • Avoiding Burnout
  • Supplies are a Factor when it comes to productivity
  • A Positive mindset to stay productive
  • Resisting negativity
  • Productivity with You Coworkers
  • Reward Yourself for Your productivity accomplishments
  • Resist Overextending Yourself
  • Destress
  • Setting and Ranking Your Priorities
  • Communication Skills
  • Productive Strategies are Appropriate Everywhere!


My articles categorized into 3 areas: adventures, professional, and inspirations.
I also have a few guides:
Goal Setting Guide
Ultimate Guide to Choose the Right eCommerce Platform
Productivity Strategies for Busy Professionals




Cathy Gray

Cathy Gray is a natural adventurer in her personal and professional life. She adapts to overcome while maintaining an infectious laugh that will make you smile.

Professionally, Cathy currently works for an industrial hose and hydraulics company. While she was a green-horn in the hose business, she spearheaded the company’s eCommerce site from the ground up from a blank canvas to live and selling within 6 months. She continues to grow the company’s online and digital presence while increasing sales year over year.