Skimming. Speed-Reading. Scanning. Whatever you call it, chances are you do it all day long. With Summer winding down and the busy-ness of Fall ramping up, the speed of everyday life seems to ramp up as well. Slow down tad. Chances are, you’re spending more time correcting mistakes that could have been avoided by doing the task correctly the first time. It’s one of those paradoxical life-mathematics equations… Increase your efficiency by reducing your speed. At least, until you become a super-hero-expert-level-pro. In the mean time:
Take Time to Save Time:
- Proof-Read– Are you sure you want all of your customers to see that you misspelled your company’s name? Typos are embarrassing at best, costly and misleading at worst.
- Read directions – Anyone who has ever had to re-do an assignment or ruined a product by putting it together wrong the first time knows the pain that can be avoided by this one. Go ahead, swallow your pride ;-).
- Read the entire email – It’s surprising how many questions get asked despite being already being answered in the email that was just sent. Save yourself and the other party some time. (related post – Dumb Questions Do Exist)
- Read the attachment – See above. Attachments are usually there for a reason. Usually.
- Preliminary Research – Meeting a new customer/client? Google ’em. Doing a unique project? Look it up. Using a new product? You get the idea. There are very few reasons to go into anything blind these days. Help yourself out in the long run by taking a minute to educate yourself first!
- Take Notes/Making Lists – How to remember/avoid needing to look up information later, write it down as you think of/discover/hear it
- Think Forward – Think of this as proof-reading for the future. Take a few minutes to think about how things are going to play out and proactively address potential issues and challenges.
- Notice the “Big Picture” – Step back and look at how all the little things you are doing fit together. Is it a good picture? Or are there areas that need some TLC or a little extra paint?
I recently tried to do a task too quickly and ended up needing to follow up with about five extra emails and a couple bonus phone calls to clear up the confusion that ensued. I caught my error before anything “bad” happened and got everything straightened out, but the confusion would have been avoided by my taking an extra minute in the first place. Chalked up as a life lesson 😉
While it is true that we don’t have time/don’t need to allow EVERY thing we read, write, and do to marinade in our brains while we absorb the fullest meaning, it is probably also true that we do need to soak more than we currently are. There has got to be a happy medium in which we are the most efficient. Here’s to striving for and achieving balance!
Ready to step off the soapbox now,