“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”
– Mark Twain
Getting crushed by the daily grind?
You are not alone. A recent Gallup poll showed that 70% of Americans hate their jobs. The scale of dissatisfaction is similar, and sometimes even greater, in every corner of the world.
“If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”
– Bruce Lee
Dislike, disinterest, and hatred, like limits, spread into all aspects of our lives. But what sort of way is this to spend our precious existence?
It is no surprise that the top regrets of the dying involve such things as doing what we really want to do (rather than what society expects of us), finding our true passions, taking risks, and touching and inspiring other people’s lives.
One way to break out of the rut of an unrealized life is to learn from those who have realized their dream jobs and actualized their heartfelt goals. How did they succeed? By remembering and reminding themselves of these ever important tips.
1. You are responsible for your life
“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself.”
– Jim Rohn
Not your boss, not your co-workers, not your parents, not your friends, not your partner. No one else thinks your thoughts. No one else has your emotions. No one else has your ideas. No one else has your dreams. No one else has lived your life.Advertising
If circumstances aren’t ideal, then you are going to have to be the one to make the first change.
Action: Take stock of your situation.
Get a pen and paper and ask yourself the following questions; How do you feel about all aspects of your life? Don’t try to sugar coat anything; face the reality of the pain and write it down.
How do you feel about your working life? Your family life? Your social life?
This exercise will help you get clear on where the problems are, and what you don’t want to continue into the future.
2. You can make a change
“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.”
– Benjamin Disraeli, former British Prime Minister
If you are waiting for the right time, you may be waiting a long time! Making big changes can be intimidating, so why not start by making the best of the circumstances that you find yourself in? Start wiggling, and you will find that you have far more wiggle room where you are than you realize.
Action: Make a small change.
This could be anything from going to a different place for lunch, to joining that gym you were thinking about. Even the smallest change can remind you of your power to change conditions, as well as make life more enjoyable.
3. Face your fears
“Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with course and rough dress, saying to yourself the while, ‘Is this the condition that I feared?’”
– Seneca, Roman Statesman
Often we live on auto-pilot, unconsciously motivated by our latent background of primal fears like starvation, homelessness and abandonment. Fears that, in truth, are highly unlikely in our age of the world.
We are no longer living in small survivalist groups in the desert, but alongside millions of other people in the midst of industrial levels of production and social safety nets.
Action: Remember, what is the worst thing that could happen?
What are you afraid of? What is the nightmare scenario that you want to avoid? If you took a risk to follow your dreams and failed, what would happen?
Take the time to think about these worst possible outcomes and write them all down. Later, review them and work out what you would do in those hypothetical situations. You will be surprised how the energy of worry turns into the energy of resolution to overcome.
To first conquer fear, we must first define it.
4. Avoid distress, seek eustress
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
– Neale Donald Walsch
Lifestyle designer, angel investor and New York Times bestselling author Timothy Ferriss – of The 4-Hour Work Week fame – advises us to recognize the difference between distress and eustress.
Distress, is the kind of stress which brings us down, disempowers us, and makes us ill. Being abused, unappreciated, overworked; all that kind of stuff. Eustress, on the other hand, is to distress what euphoria is to dysphoria.
Eustress is constructive stress; the kind of stress an athlete encounters during training, a businessperson experiences during continuing education or a musician during performing. It is the stimulus necessary for vibrant growth.
Action: Discover where you are not getting enough eustress.Advertising
In what areas of your life are you not challenged? Or not growing through lack of action or experience?
5. Reconnect with your passion
“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
What would you do, if you could get paid to do anything? Our passions are often muted, buried beneath of a lifetime of being told “what we must do” and of telling ourselves “what we must do”.
Those who have their dream job are invariably coming from a different place. What do I like to do? What skills do I want to use? What am I good at?
Action: Write down your dreams.
If you were guaranteed not to fail, what would you do with your life? Don’t worry about practicality, just write down the fantasy. Time, money and circumstances are no object.
6. Set goals
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”
– Tony Robbins
One of the primary causes of drifting aimlessly is lack of just that; aim!
While refusal to set goals can offer a psychological crutch against failure, it equally provides a barrier against success. Want to visit Timbuktu? Get a ticket to Timbuktu. Want to achieve something? Set it as a goal!
Actions: Create a set of goals.Advertising
Look at your written list of dreams. Convert them into a “Be”, “Do” and “Have” manifesto. What would I like to have? Who would I like to be? What would I like to do?
They key here is that “having” is not the first point. Instead, “being” and “doing” come first. When we are being who we really are, and doing what we really want to do, the having comes naturally.
7. Time waits for no one
“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.”
– Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee’s death at the young age of 32 underlines this point, as does his life of exceptional achievement. Thankfully for the world, Bruce Lee didn’t waist his potential, and we are all enriched because of this. The opportunities you have today may not always be available – so begin!
Don’t put it off ’till tomorrow. Take at least one concrete step towards one of your goals today.
8. Avoid Adult Onset ADD
“It’s time to have fun and let the rest follow.”
– Tim Ferriss
What is ADD? Adventure Deficit Disorder. Like hating your job, a disease that affects far too many adults today. But thankfully, it is curable! The prescription is simply to do more interesting and exciting things. After all, what motivates us to find our dream jobs but the things that they allow us to do?
Action: Have more fun!
The best way to avoid the backwards mentality of “I’ll grit my teeth and bear my job until I can afford to do cool things” is to actually start doing the cool things now. In this way, we can break out of the limpet survival mentality and reconnect with the passions that really drive us.Advertising
Pick anyone who has realized their dream jobs and ask if their path of success measures up to these eight points. Tony Robbins? Bruce Lee? Tim Ferriss? Oprah Winfrey? Steve Jobs? Even Confucius? If it works for them, it will surely work for you. Good luck!
Featured photo credit: www.flickr.com via flickr.com
Published on January 7, 2021
How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details
Some people see the trees for the forest, and some see only the forest, meaning they lack strong attention to detail. But even if you’re one of the people who take a macro rather than a micro view, true professionalism requires balancing both.
If focusing on the fine points is not your forte, you will benefit from training yourself to pay attention to details. You will profit by saving yourself time, effort, money, and credibility.
Table of Contents
Why Training Yourself in Attention to Details Pays Off
You add value to your organization when you make the effort to ensure that you performed your work thoroughly and effectively. This is why job postings often list “attention to details” among the required skills.
When you present your supervisor or client with well-completed, high-quality work the first time, it maximizes your value and minimizes wasted time. Detail-oriented people are also more adept at catching mistakes that could lead to costly blunders.
Moreover, attention to detail is an indicator of possessing other in-demand employee qualities, such as organization, thoroughness, and focus. In some professions, such as accounting, engineering, medical research, and more, you can only excel if you have trained yourself to pay attention to details.
In other professions, possessing strong attention to detail is the very quality that will get you promoted to a position where you will be asked to consider the big picture.
Finally, if you are the “go-to” details person, everyone else on the team can relax a bit. They know the project is in good hands and will likely throw you more projects as a reward. This will ultimately lead to your advancement.
3 Important Aspects of Becoming More Detail-Oriented
Here are the 3 important things you need to learn if you want to remedy your lack of attention to detail:
- Respect deadlines
- Understand the work-flow plan
- Build in time to mess up
1. Respect Deadlines
Deadlines lend all projects a finish line. One smart idea is to take the given deadline and work backward from it, calculating when your piece of the project is due. Then, if you stick to the proscribed schedule for completing the mini-projects that you have, you will never miss a deadline.
One important note on this: It is smarter to stick to the deadline and turn in work that merits a “B+” than to blow the deadline with “A” work. Chances are, through revision and suggested changes from others on the team, you can bring up your B+ work to an A later. But if you disregard deadlines, you will lose the respect of your boss and fellow teammates.
2. Understand the Work-Flow Plan
Your team is developing work in conjunction with other teams who have projects and deadlines of their own. When you grasp the whole work-flow plan, you may be able to either add insight to the greater project or to your own smaller piece of it that others at the firm will consider valuable.
3. Build in Time to Mess Up
You can expect that “what can go wrong will go wrong.” Don’t overpromise on deadlines. Something likely will mess up, but when it does if you built in the time to fix it, those around you won’t freak out.
Chances are, you already give your attention to several details. Take heart. You can do this! You can overcome your lack of attention to detail and become more detail-oriented.
For starters, consider this: Most people take the time and put in extra effort into the activities or undertakings that matter to them most. Training yourself to become more detail-oriented can mean adopting a similar pattern of behavior.
Apply the same attention you give to your appearance. Are you a meticulous dresser? Do you pay attention to how you pair patterns and colors, and how you accessorize a particular outfit?
This is the same system to use when you lack attention to detail with your work. Give every item careful consideration so that each one contributes to the perfectly pieced-together whole.
Assemble the ingredients the way you do when you cook. Cooking and baking from scratch require close attention to details as you measure and add each ingredient in sequence, and you time everything so that the meal comes together at the same time.
Similarly, your work product requires you to gauge whether all the ingredients have been added and that your final product is delivered on time.
Organize your business network like you do your social contacts. If you follow a broad base of friends and acquaintances on social media, you can apply similar skills to stay up-to-date on details associated with business acquaintances.
When you meet somebody who could be influential to your career or a resource for improving your skills, follow that person on social media. Respond to their posts to keep the lines of communication flowing.
12 Tips to Help You if You Lack Attention to Detail
Teaching yourself to take note of important details involves sharpening your perceptions and thinking ahead. The following tips will help you adopt these practices. Master these habits when training yourself to become detail-oriented.
1. Learn to Listen Well
You will pick up relevant information and needed nuance when you apply the skills of active listening. In conversations, train yourself to make eye contact, give your undivided attention to the speaker, and ask pertinent follow-up questions.
Training yourself to pay better attention to details in conversations includes learning to fully concentrate on what others have to say. If you find it hard, there’s no harm in taking notes on what they say.
2. Pay Attention to Social Cues
Make a point of noticing body language and facial expressions that provide insights into how others perceive a situation. Social cues offer details that give you an understanding of how words and actions impact others. The infamous character Michael Scott of the television show “The Office” epitomizes the consequences of not paying attention to others’ body language.
3. Follow Rules
Rules and protocols usually come about from lessons learned and are put in place to avoid further mishaps—whether from a safety or efficiency standpoint. If you’re given step-by-step procedures to follow, check them off as you go. Also, return to the rules at the project’s end just to make sure you adhered to them all.
4. Take Notes
Note-taking is a way to boost your retention and gives you something to refer back to when you need to keep track of pertinent details. You will also heighten your focus as you listen for relevant information. Review your notes shortly after the meeting or conversation and highlight the content that you intend to apply.
5. Prioritize What Needs Your Attention Now
When you have a full slate of work that demands your attention, take a few moments to sort assignments from most to least urgent. Keep a calendar, spreadsheet, or project planning software up-to-date with schedules and deadlines to help you stay organized.
As you tackle each urgent assignment, give it your full attention so no details are missed. Give yourself ample time—especially if you tend to be someone who waits until the last minute—as rushing can make you overlook important details.
6. Have a Detail-Oriented Assistant Check Your Work
If you lack attention to detail, then it makes sense to seek help from someone detail-oriented. If you have this option, take advantage of it. Two sets of eyes are better than one. Just be sure to credit your assistant for their help once the project is completed.
7. Learn the Rules of Writing Well
English is a difficult language, and grammar, punctuation, and spelling can all sabotage you unless you pay attention to detail. When in doubt, look it up. Free to use website services such as Grammarly can help.
8. Proofread Before You Hit Send
Nothing is perfect in its first draft. If you lack attention to detail, then put in the extra effort before submitting things. Before you send off any written work, check carefully not only for misspellings and incomplete sentences but also for improper tone, inappropriate colloquialisms, and inconsistent formatting. When your written communications are error-free, they will have their intended impact.
9. Minimize Distractions
It is impossible to stay focused when colleagues carry on conversations nearby or your mobile notifications ding you throughout the day. Do your best to limit distractions.
If you are working where there is a lot of noise or side activity, try wearing noise-canceling headphones or seeking out a quiet corner. Disable your notifications when you need to focus, and resolve to only check them after you have completed your assignment.
10. Take Breaks
It may sound counter-intuitive to stop and take a walk, but it’s necessary. Walk away from the screen. Moving from one task to the next across the span of your workday is a recipe for brain fatigue. Give your brain a recess time when you come to a natural stopping place or after you complete one project and before you start the next. These short pauses are necessary for sorting through all the details needed for coming up with successful solutions.
11. Make Time for Reflection
At the end of a workday, take a few minutes to go over the day’s events in your mind. What was said or relayed in conversations? What is the status of the projects you worked on? What else occurred that you should pay attention to? Could there have been any details you might have missed that you should address tomorrow?
12. Keep a Detailed To-Do List
This simple organizational tool is your best ally for getting your work done on time and for paying attention to the details. If you are pressed for time (and who isn’t?), write your list to coordinate with dayparts.
Allot a certain number of hours to complete each task, do it, and then check it off. Nothing feels more rewarding than completing all the tasks on your list. But if you can’t finish them, then carry them over to the following day.
Details may seem small, but they can become a lot larger when they are overlooked. If you know you lack attention to detail, commit to training yourself to embrace the many facets that can help you consistently excel in the tasks you set out to accomplish.
When you begin to catch your mistakes in advance or apply the tidbits of information you gathered from paying close attention, you will know that you have trained yourself in the fundamentals of becoming detail-oriented. After that, you should start hearing the phrase “Great job!” more often.
More Tips on Boosting Your Attention to Detail
- 7 Simple Habits to Improve Your Attention to Detail
- How to Improve Focus: 7 Ways to Train Your Brain
- 10 Things Only Detail-Oriented People Do
Featured photo credit: Cristina Gottardi via unsplash.com
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