I recently wrote an article on how the millennial generation (my generation) devours new technologies and is focused on getting tasks accomplished in a fast, agile way. From my own experience, I want to offer some advice that could apply to anyone in a world where people want things done as quickly as possible, and where deadlines are becoming shorter. My recommendation — we all need to take a moment and slow down.
By nature, we’re programmed to get things done as quickly as possible; this ranges from answering emails as soon as the notification window appears, to preparing documents and sending them along as soon as they’re complete. We even (too often) buy the pre-packaged 11-minute skillet dinners that contain all necessary ingredients because we don’t have time to read through a cook-book. What I have learned over the years is that it is worth slowing down and taking a couple of extra passes to ensure everything is correct. Here are a couple of ways to work on taking extra time to accomplish tasks:
Review, Review, Review. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to always take that additional moment to review before hitting the send button on an email, or before finalizing any document.
There have been times when I’ve considered content “final,” only to proofread it once more and find both major and minor errors. In the end, it may add an additional one minute, or 15 minutes to your day, but your deliverables will be more satisfying when no one is asking you to change a mistake and re-send a document.
You Don’t Need to Answer Right Away. Throughout my years of work, and especially at Farland Group, I had a habit of answering an email as soon as I received the notification that a new note was in my inbox. There would be times that I’d forget to include a full response, leading me to send a follow up email.
I’ve learned that it’s okay to sit on an email for a bit — the sky isn’t going to fall down if first, you finish what you’re currently working on, and then respond. Take the additional time to think about what you want to say, write it out and review before hitting send.
Time Management. Every morning, I have a running list on my computer, and in my head, of everything I need to accomplish for the day. However, when things and requests change on the fly, that list takes a backseat.
Up until recently, I was determined to get every item on my list done so that I would feel triumphant at the end of the day. But — we never seem to get everything on our lists done — so the non-pressing matters wait for the next day. That’s where managing your time becomes so important — it’s crucial to work and personal time. I now spend my day determining the things that absolutely need to get done, versus doing as much as I possibly can.
In a world where we are moving as fast as we can, take the time to slow down. While my generation is a repeat offender of getting things out the door as quickly as possible, we could all use an extra minute to review the quality of our work.