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This Is How You Know You Made The Right Career Choice

This Is How You Know You Made The Right Career Choice

They say if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. So when we’re young, we imagine that having the perfect job is like skipping around on clouds and rainbows every day. Even on Mondays.

But then we grow up and enter the real world. While you don’t dread going into work each morning, having your dream job isn’t exactly what you thought it would be. And people who constantly gush over how fabulous their job is seem fake or naive. Still, seeing that sappy career love causes a part of you to wonder: Did I make the right career choice, or is there something else out there that I would like more?

It’s time to silence that doubt once and for all. Or at least to time to find out if you’re on the right track. Here are seven signs that you made the right career choice and that you truly love your job. If you have at least four of the seven covered, consider yourself lucky:

1. You’re confident in your abilities.

How many people can do what you do as well as you do it? No one else has the exact skill set you bring to the table. And you know that. So when a problem or challenge comes across your desk, you dive in with enthusiasm. You don’t wonder if someone else might be better equipped to handle things. You’re the man – or woman – for the job.

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But that doesn’t mean there’s not more to learn. You want to continually develop your skills and abilities. Growth means pushing yourself to be better than yesterday, even if it’s only a small improvement. After all, you have goals to meet and while you’re not there yet, you’re confident you’ll get there one day.

2. You “own” your work.

From the achievements to the mistakes, you stand by everything you do. Not just because you’re proud of your hard work, but because you can see how it impacts your co-workers and the organization as a whole.

Every new project excites you and you can’t wait to put your stamp it. Even if it’s a small task, there’s value in everything you do. And most importantly, your work is a part of you.

3. You love the question, “So, what do you do?”

For most people, their answer is short and sweet. I’m a lawyer. I work in advertising. But not you. You could go on for hours about what it actually means to do your job. From the big picture to the little details, every duty and responsibility is interesting to you, even if it’s not to anyone else.

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It’s not that your profession defines who you are, but that it’s something you love. So you can talk about your career with the same tireless enthusiasm as some people talk about their favorite football team or TV show.

4. You don’t daydream about leaving civilization behind and going to live in the woods.

Part of disliking your career choice is also hating the very idea of work. People who don’t love their job don’t just dream about finding a better one; they long for a life where there’s no work at all. That’s because they don’t understand what you do: that the right job is rewarding and fulfilling and doesn’t make you want to run away from all responsibility.

Your mind doesn’t wander to thoughts of what it’d be like spending your days doing whatever you want. Because you’re already doing just that.

5. You can overlook the bad days.

There’s no such thing as a “perfect” job. Every career has its ups and downs, but what’s important is that the rough days don’t feel like they are wearing you down.

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Even if a Monday morning is hard, by the time Monday afternoon rolls around, there’s a smile on your face. And if you go home every so often feeling exhausted, it just takes a good night’s sleep – and maybe a nice glass or two of wine – for you to feel refreshed and ready to go back to work. Overcoming tough obstacles is inspiring, not disheartening because everything will be worth it in the end.

6. You’re constantly looking to go above and beyond your job description.

Sure, it might not really be in your job description to do everything you do, but you’re motivated by the entire process. Plus, trying new things is how you learn and that’s really why you like to do all those little extras.

You ask your co-workers if there’s anything you can help them with, even if it means going outside of your comfort zone and doing something unfamiliar. But to be honest, the challenge is exciting.

7. You like the people on your team and in your industry.

Being surrounded by like-minded people not only makes you feel like you fit in, but also pushes you to do better. You can bounce ideas off each other and work together without the drama that haunts other workplaces.

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And the camaraderie isn’t limited to your office. When you go to industry conferences or read industry blogs you think to yourself, “These are my people.” But that doesn’t mean you’re all the same, just that you’re united by the same passion.

So, what’s the verdict? Are you in love with your job and confident you made the right career choice?

Featured photo credit: gags9999; Flickr via flickr.com

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Published on January 7, 2021

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

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.

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:

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  1. Respect deadlines
  2. Understand the work-flow plan
  3. 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.

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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.[1]

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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.

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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.

Final Thoughts

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

Featured photo credit: Cristina Gottardi via unsplash.com

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