How can I stop being careless ?

Nikitin
How can I stop being careless!?

When I do math (and sometimes other things), I often fail to think things through, thus finding a wrong solution. I often do things waay too fast. An example: an hour ago I was completely sure that "obviously" f(x)=x*sin(1/x) should go towards 1 when x--> 0, because f(x) goes towards 1 when x--> infinity... I shamefully forgot that sin(1/x) will never become bigger than 1, regardless of how big or small x is...

Other times I often find and use a complicated and time-consuming method to solve a problem, instead of the more obvious simple one.

Is there any decent strategy to amend this problem? Anyone else have experienced this issue?

LastTimelord

I often scan over my work quickly after I'm done to make sure there are no obvious errors.

Staff Emeritus
Homework Helper

When I do math (and sometimes other things), I often fail to think things through, thus finding a wrong solution. I often do things waay too fast. An example: an hour ago I was completely sure that "obviously" f(x)=x*sin(1/x) should go towards 1 when x--> 0, because f(x) goes towards 1 when x--> infinity... I shamefully forgot that sin(1/x) will never become bigger than 1, regardless of how big or small x is...

Other times I often find and use a complicated and time-consuming method to solve a problem, instead of the more obvious simple one.

Is there any decent strategy to amend this problem? Anyone else have experienced this issue?

The best strategy to amend this problem is to practice a lot and make sure you get good feedback. These kind of errors usually end once you develop more experience.

chaoseverlasting

I think that's experience based. It will take you some time until you become 'wise' enough. I know it sounds like a load of crap, and it may just what you're thinking, but I do mean it.
You'll get it. Just keep at it like others have said.

Jack21222

I've never found a way to get rid of it completely... only to minimize it. The other posters are right, experience will help. But, one key point is to not get discouraged when it still happens occasionally.

mathsciguy

This thread is relevant to my interests, I also have the same problem. Even though I've solved lots of problem it would still strip me off points from exams (which is pretty hardcore since I'd always cringe after the exams thinking how could I have answered the whole thing the other way around), it's pretty frustrating. God, I hope I would not fail the class from this.

I_am_learning

Don't rely on your intuition. Use standard processes, no matter how trivial the problem looks. That can help a lot.

mishrashubham

Yep that happens. Sometimes I mis a little negative sign there or differentiate 1/x to log x whem I am in a super duper hurry (although this isn't excusable I know). The best strategy IMO is to concentrate on the individual steps and not rush with the problem before making sure everything is correct.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member

I've never found a way to get rid of it completely... only to minimize it. The other posters are right, experience will help. But, one key point is to not get discouraged when it still happens occasionally.

Indeed. Having a strong emotional response every time you do a little screw up is counterproductive. Plus it blocks creativity, IMO.

Jimmy Snyder

You've come to the right place. For a small fee I will show you exactly how to stop being carelesss.

Gold Member

Lolololol Jimmy

r4z0r84

I'm a IT Technical Support Officer, my entire job is just problem solving, a major part in problem solving is exactly that, find a solution or work around that works for now, then later find a much faster way to get the exact same resolution. One of the best things i had ever started to do was write everything down, when i knew something worked i wrote it down, so if for any reason the same problem reaccurems at a later date wether it be next week or 6 months down the track i always can use the fast solution, there is a few things i did to help my memory.
i used http://www.lumosity.com for like 3 days i enjoyed it but not enough to pay for the service so i implimented the same thinking stratergies into simple games to play with a notepad or on a computer's notepad.
one of these was memorizing pi to 250 decimal places, or making up algebra equations then working them out.
i originally could quote pi to 250 decimals the first day i was attempting to remember them all, now i can only recall accurately upto 28
3.1415926535897932384626433832*37950210 my brain added a 3 and then missed about 10 digits and added a 0 on the end. but i know the above number off by heart. fair party trick i guess but it definately helped my memory.

In terms of memory though, i can remember a number through use of patterns and grouping but in terms of peoples names i never seem to be able to remember them until about the 8th time I've seen them unless they mean more then just an associate, and i recall there name straight away.

I personally think memory and problem solving comes back to how important it is to one self, if your life is on the line you will work out problems and find solutions at a much faster pace, same with if you really enjoy what your currently doing.

To stop being careless take care in what you are solving, for example i could fix a computer in 10 seconds but miss click and in tern then have to spend another 30 minutes trying to work out what the hell i had done before my client can use their computer, basically don't stress and work at your own pace, if your confident go nuts and do it as fast as you possibly can that's fine as that's what i do majority of the time, so i agree with everyone else, it really just comes down to experience, after you remember everything you do you don't have to work anything out anymore.

Homework Helper
Gold Member

It's a common 'feature' of ADD to rush through things and fail to focus on time consuming tasks. Not saying that's you but you might notice some other common ADD tendencies.

Once you recognize your difficulty, that being you "...fail to think things through...," or "...do things waay too fast," you have achieved something significant. You are self aware. You know your tendencies and you can react to them. I think you are in a good position to deal with this now that you have identified your major issues. Lucky you... I think.

mathsciguy

Indeed. Having a strong emotional response every time you do a little screw up is counterproductive. Plus it blocks creativity, IMO.

Now I'm curious about how the 'veterans' here in PF handle their screw ups (if you guys ever had) during their college days. I didn't know it could be pretty frustrating, it's like you know you understand what stuff is going on but you just can't pull it of during times when it counts.

I hope I'm not hijacking this thread by asking this, but I think this is relevant.

Homework Helper
Gold Member
Dearly Missed

The importance of practice is in developing SUB-conscious control mechanisms that will weed out an infinite number of "false choices" before your conscious brain has to tackle it.

In the same manner as the grand master in chess who does NOT think through "all" possibilities, but that the only possibilities that surfaces to his conscious mind are the intelligent choices he has to ponder over..

Nikitin

thanks.. I have this problem with talking before thinking too.. I will think about this. thanks again. It's encouraging to hear that it'll get better with experience!

Gold Member

Silly mistakes are probably one of my biggest weaknesses and I was talking to my maths teacher about it and she recommended working on 2 bits of paper, 1 for the solution and 1 for working out.

Basically she said to start and write out the problem on the solutions page, then go over to the working out page and figure out how to get to the next step of the solution (this could be a bit of factorisation, integration or whatever you need to do). Now write this answer on the solutions page.

Then just rinse and repeat until the problem is done. Basically by keeping your solution and working out separate it helps to both keep your solution tidy and organised but it also compartmentalises the distinct steps of the problem and helps keep you focus on the step at hand.

Although I haven't had too many longer questions to try it, the idea in principle seems quite good.