Excellence is in the detail

Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and died that distinguish one from another.” You will find throughout your professional and personal life that some people simply don’t “try hard enough” to be rigorous and complete. They rush to get a project done but don’t have the energy, focus, or time to really make it “perfect.” Of course, nothing is ever perfect and everyone makes mistakes.

If you don’t focus and try to pay attention to detail, your mistakes will define you. And that is a reputation you do not want in your life.

Details matter

Sometimes in our need to increase production, satisfy customer demands or simply due to our lack of knowledge of a better way, we look at what appears to be a basic case of service delivery without delving deeper into the real requirements for achieving an excellent aesthetic and functional result. Attention to detail is the ability to achieve thoroughness and accuracy when accomplishing a task. Details matter because they add up to a more efficient use of your time. When you are not paying attention you are making mistakes, wasting time, potentially wasting money and causing undue stress for yourself. It is really easy to get involved in too many projects at one time and suddenly having all the details of those projects start falling through the cracks. This can happen with things at home, at school, or even at work. Fortunately, attention to detail is a learned skill, and it’s one that you can definitely cultivate! You can improve attention to detail by using organizational tools, limiting distractions, and giving your mind the conditions it needs to focus.

Make a positive first impression

Paying attention to details is important for avoiding errors, maintaining efficiency, preventing injuries, making a good impression and analysing information. Professionals who are detail-oriented have an advantage in a variety of career fields. Making a positive first impression is part of the foundation for building professional and personal relationships. Attention to detail when meeting someone for the first time involves considerations such as physical appearance, body language and attitude. Noticing details also helps individuals recognize common interests and opportunities for collaboration. Detail-oriented individuals are preferred as employees by many businesses for their analytical and problem solving abilities. Attention to detail contributes to the capacity to foresee challenges and address them proactively.

Get organized

You will need to have organization in your life to have any hope of paying attention to the small things. This means having organization in your work or school life by keeping track of appointments and tasks that need to be accomplished so that you are not surprised when it is time to turn them in. Lists are one really useful way to be organized and to make sure that you know when and how everything needs to come together. You will be less likely to lose track of the details when you have them written out and kept somewhere that you see every day. Have a long-term list and a short-term (weekly or daily) list so that you are able to plan for things in advance. When the items on the long-term list come up, put them on your short-term list, but this way you won’t be surprised by anything in your schedule. Once you’ve completed an item on your list, check it off. That way you’ll know that you actually did do it and you won’t be in a dither trying to remember whether you’ve completed each step of a certain list item

Embody Good taste

An effective way to ensure you are able to come across as someone who has good taste is to keep up to date. Read high-quality literature and magazines that are considered tasteful, visit places that exude exceptional brilliance and innovativeness. Take time to watch programmes that grow your worldview and perspectives. That way, as if by osmosis, you will become both familiar and au fait with what may be very new. Being more aware of what is happening in the world of style, design and appearance has become a “must have” in the times we live. Many people make snap judgements about us with little or no time for further investigation. By delving into the realms of beautiful architecture, refined art, well-designed clothing, superior service delivery and elegant grooming, our aspirations become more sophisticated. We begin to learn new and different ways to embody good taste. Good taste teamed with good manners is an essential combination if we want to communicate in a sophisticated fashion.

Details shape our relationships

How we work with the details of life defines not only our days but also our capacity to love. Love happens in the context of the smallest of acts. Our feelings are interpreted through the multiple yet brief interactions that imprint in our frail memory and become the story we tell about who we are and who we love. The tenor of our voice, the softness of a glance, the patient waiting by the door, the listening of what has been heard before says everything about how we allow the details to shape our relationships and our heart. It is easy to confuse the idea of our relationship and the actual day-in-and-day-out details of relating. This is possibly the reason why so many relationships fail. We think our relationships should have this bigger-than-life reality that has the power to make us happy or feel appreciated or seen or loved. In reality, it is the small details of interacting that is the relationship. Remember that when you make mistakes or don’t dig deep you don’t only harm your own reputation; you waste the time of others. And in some cases, you could cost your organization a lot of money.

In almost every facet of life, there are details to tend to that communicate a message to people about their importance to you and/or how much you expect them to value what is about to happen. Lack of attention to details could lead to a negative impression whereas excellence in quality and preparedness could stir up a good feeling leading to greater receptivity.

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