How to Become More Detail-Orientated & Efficient at Work

Being detail-oriented and efficient at work not only helps you perform your job functions well, it also endears you to your boss and your colleagues. Knowing how to prioritize, delegate and track progress can help you stay on top of your job responsibilities while also reducing the stress that can come from poorly managed work habits. While some people are naturally predisposed to these traits, there are ways to develop and polish these skills if you feel you’re lacking.

Know Your Role

Part of being efficient is in fully understanding the expectations of your position. Read through the fine print of your job description and ask your manager if you need help mentally prioritizing tasks and responsibilities. Your boss may tell you that "A" job function is far more important than "B" job function, in which case you can focus greater energy on the areas your employer deems most crucial.

Get Organized

Everyone organizes in different ways, so develop a system that works for you. This may include color-coding files and folders, creating "To Do" lists, setting electronic reminders for appointments or using a virtual assistant app. Task-tracking and project management programs can also be an asset for ensuring you’re managing your time wisely through advanced planning. Once you have an organization system in place, use it faithfully.

Keep Detailed Records

Keeping detailed notes and records can make you more detail-oriented and improve efficiency by reducing the amount of time you spend looking for the information you need. Consider using a daily filing system with agendas, meetings and appointment notes. Summarize everything at the end of the day to ensure you’ve stayed on task, and make note of items that carry over to the next day for action or follow up.

Manage Your Time

Time management is perhaps one of the most important elements of being detail-oriented and efficient at work. Whenever possible, ensure that the time you allot for meetings or work tasks doesn’t exceed the time frame you’ve established. If you do run long, push a less crucial task to another time slot so you don’t get further behind as the day progresses. Feeling squeezed for time can result in mistakes and sloppy work product.

Engage the Help of Others

If there are portions of your job that can be farmed out to others in an effort to make you more efficient, take advantage. For example, interns can take on routine filing and correspondence issues, while an assistant can handle appointment scheduling and follow-up. If you work in a group environment, you may find a colleague who has a lighter workload and is able to free up some of your time by taking over tasks that are not essential to your position.

Check Yourself

Conduct regular self-assessments to determine how well your efforts to be efficient and detail-oriented at work are doing. Have you overlooked projects, missed deadlines, made mistakes or otherwise run behind? Continually tracking where you are and where you want to be will help keep you focused on this ongoing professional development effort.