7 Ways To Improve Your Attention To Detail At Work

Attention to detail. This is an extremely important topic. So today, we are going to cover seven actionable ways you can improve your attention to detail right away. 

Strategy #1: Grammarly

It is free, it is easy. We have no affiliation with them, but we still love them. Grammarly visually highlights spelling and grammar errors while you are working across a number of applications from Gmail to Google Docs, et cetera. As a result, you no longer have to worry about remembering to run spell check when you are done with your work because it will already be taken care of, and let us be honest, for whatever reason, it is really hard to remember to run spell check. Even more importantly, there is nothing worse than having all your hard work go to waste because of a silly spelling mistake. 

Strategy #2: Text-to-Speech

This is one of my secret weapons. Now, in an ideal world, you would have a colleague review your work when you are done, but that is not always an option. So when a colleague is not available, I highly recommend you use Text-to-Speech software to double check your work. It is often free and what it does is it reads your work back to you. I guarantee that you will catch at least a few errors that you might have missed when reviewing visually. 

Robot: “Text-to-Speech is a lifesaver.”

Strategy #3: Checklists

This is a big one. Now for this one, I am just going to share for free the checklist that my team and I use on a daily basis. We have checklists for reviewing presentations, reviewing Excel in Google Sheets, steps to take for a meeting before, during and after, how to manage and track a project and of course, how to track tasks and to-dos. Now it is really important to note that the real value here is using the checklist on a daily basis. It is not enough to just know the items on a checklist. The value comes from going through it and checking each item off as you are doing and completing your work.

Strategy #4: Physical Review

Now this may seem old school, but I promise you it is an effective strategy, especially when the stakes are high. It is a favorite tactic of investment bankers and consultants, so there must be something to it. Even better still, get a red pen and when reviewing a physical document, mark things off even when they are right, just so you know it is done and good to go. A quick pro tip is to review one item across every page. For example, review all of your titles, then review all of your page numbers, then review all of your footers, etc. etc. Do not be afraid to print your document multiple times. Yes, we want to be mindful of the environment, but at the same time we do not want to take any unnecessary risks.

Strategy #5: Note-Taking

I can not stress the importance of this one enough. Work is not like school. If you forget an important point from a meeting, it is very unlikely that you can go look it up in a text book, so it is always better to take more notes than not enough. If you are ever in doubt, just take notes verbatim, word for word. Now with that in mind, the real win here is from developing a note-taking system. It does not need to be complex, but it does need to be consistent. As a great starting point, I highly recommend you come up with a personalized system for capturing to-dos while taking notes. So for example, I like to put TD, colon, before all my to-dos and then I highlight that line in bold. That way after the meeting, all I need to do is scan my notes to see what the next steps are.

Strategy #6: Automated Reminders

These can include reminders from your calendar, your to-do list, your phone. It does not matter what tool you use as long as you are consistent and you automate it. So, for any task you have to complete on a recurring basis, whether that is daily, weekly, monthly, I highly recommend you leverage Automated Reminders to make sure you are getting done what needs to be done. That way you do not have to expend any energy trying to remember what to do, and instead you can focus on the work.

Strategy #7: Task Management and To-Do Tracking

In today’s day and age there is always more to do than there is time. A critical key to being successful in any role is being organized, especially as it relates to tracking tasks. If you do not already have a task management system, I highly recommend reading the book Getting Things Done by David Allen. 

So to close things out, I want to share our fantastic quote from Stephen Schwarzman, the CEO of the Blackstone Group, “Excellence at work means one hundred percent on everything, no mistakes. Work is different from school and college where you can get an A with a ninety-five percent. That five percent of under performance can mean a significant loss for our investors. So while it is easy to think small mistakes do not matter, I guarantee they will add up over time. So the sooner you can improve your attention to detail at work, the faster you will succeed in the workplace.”

Appendix

Checklist Template

Checklist Template (Free): https://cutt.ly/QdGtHT0

Timestamps

  1. Grammarly (Spelling & Grammar) – 0:09
  2. Text To Speech – 0:39
  3. Checklists – 1:05
  4. Physical Review – 1:40
  5. Note-Taking – 2:18
  6. Automated Reminders – 3:02
  7. Task Management – 3:25

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