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10 Steps: Improve Your Attention to Detail

Working virtually is growing at an exponential rate and with that, daily work styles are changing, too.

Distractions lead to procrastination or rush completion of projects and tasks. Distractions have a higher likelihood to occur when working virtually and unfortunately, attention detail can suffer which hinders the quality of our work.

With a competitive job market, producing excellent work is imperative. In fact, it is career defining. Overlooking details can be extremely costly to clients or your employer, and in some cases, even detrimental. It is important to be cognizant of deliverables and be open to constructive feedback.

You can improve your overall attention to detail by using a few strategic planning and structural review techniques. Quality work can bring you the competitive edge that you need!

Step 1: Take Your Time

Don’t rush. For increased accuracy, take a moment and a deep breath before starting a project. Make sure your mind is focused on the project or task in front of you. Understand what your end goal is and what you are looking to accomplish throughout the project before diving in. Ask yourself, what does impressive and quality work look like when it comes to this task? What is important to the overall success of this project?

Step 2: Little Things Matter

With today’s technologies, misspellings, grammatical errors, formatting and typos should be near non-existent. These mistakes may seem insignificant, but they add up, and they matter. If correct spelling isn’t important, how can your boss or a client be sure that the larger project is important to you as well? Check and re-check or utilize corrective tools to your advantage! Nothing should go to a client or your boss without being thoroughly checked using a technology like spellcheck or Grammarly.

Step 3: Jot Down Goals

Write it down. Electronically or physically, it is up to you. Make sure you comprise a list and utilize an agenda. When you write something down, you are nearly 45% more likely to accomplish this goal, then if you did not put it on paper.

Step 4: Be Organized

You do not have to have a spotless workspace, but make sure everything is tidy, organized and updated. Plan your calendar in advance. Have a visual of all looming deadlines. Stay organized by using calendars, color coding, alarm notifications and time blocking.

Step 5: Quality Over Quantity

Finding the right amount of time to complete a project may be difficult. Some people work at a fast pace, while others work slower. Evaluate a project upon assignment and determine how much time is a reasonable expectation for completion. Make sure your boss or client knows your timeline to solidify expectations. Speeding or rushing through projects to seem fast will likely compromise the quality of your work. Producing an accurate and polished deliverable is always optimal!

Step 6: Be Present

In a world of ever-growing technologies, it is easy to get distracted during the work day. It is easy to get lost in one’s work, especially when you are virtually working on a computer all day long. Take a few moments during your task to take a step back and look at the work that has been done so far. Look to see if there have been any errors or if you have gone off your directed path. Mindfulness is about being aware and awake rather than operating unconsciously.

Step 7: Ask for Help

It is not a real expectation to assume you have every skill set in the book. Or that everyone of your skill sets is at expert level or well-developed. If you are unsure of your work, always ask a colleague or a mentor for help. Even a quick cursory review of your work may provide valuable feedback into future projects.

Step 8: Stay Educated

Staying educated today does not always mean going back to the classroom. It can mean that you attend trainings, start your own passion project, conduct research, listen to podcasts, network on LinkedIn groups, find a mentor… the list is endless! Remaining in the forefront of today’s technological advancements, news updates and training programs will allow your mind to grow and expand. Enhancing your cognitive ability aids with the growth and improvement of your attention to detail.

Step 9: Review

Take 1 minute to review your work upon its completion. Place yourself in your client or bosses’ shoes. Review your list of goals. Did you accomplish everything? Is your work clear, organized, professional? If you are unsure, compare to other completed project and ask yourself if this measures up or does this go above and beyond?

Step 10: This is Long Term

Improving your overall attention to detail will not happen overnight or in a matter of hours. It is something you will have to work at over time. Start small by re-reading each email before you hit send. Check that everything you want to say is clear, concise and contains no grammatical or spelling mistakes!

Making permanent changes takes time, and that is okay! The overall improvement to your quality of work will pay off.

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