We all make mistakes, it’s human nature. Sometimes, if we can learn from them, mistakes are good, but it’s not good for anyone to keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Try these tips to help prevent making mistakes in the future.
Stop with the multitasking
When we multitask, we are not giving our full attention to either task, so remember what your parents taught you: do one thing at a time. According to the University of Southern California, when we try to multitask, we have to mentally shift gears every time we switch tasks, thus making us less efficient. Instead of trying to multitask, allow yourself a block of time (say 20 minutes or half an hour) to complete one specific task, then move on to the next task, and so on.
Complete a work plan
It doesn’t matter what you call it, checklist, work plan, process map, list all the steps required to complete a task. Then use it while you are working on the task and check it before finalising the work. An added bonus of this is that other people can pick up your work if you have to take time off unexpectedly.
Automate where possible
This is particularly relevant for boring, repetitive tasks – if we are bored, our minds tend to wander and that’s when we are most likely to make mistakes. Mistakes when copying data are particularly common, so try using something like PDF to Excel, for example, to remove the risk. There are online sites that will do this for you such as PDF tables.
Make sure you know what is expected
We all think we explain things perfectly but the person on the receiving end of the conversation has a completely different understanding of what we have said. So reflect back what has been said to ensure understanding. In addition, if you don’t know something ask. There is nothing wrong with checking and double-checking.
Check and double check
Review your work carefully before submitting it. It’s usually a good idea to take a break from something you’ve been working on before submitting it, especially if it’s taken a long time – it’s easy to become ‘word blind’ and miss things.
Follow these tips and it will help you become much more efficient and effective.