Working hard isn’t the same thing as working fast, but most of us have been conditioned to think that the faster we’re working, the better, even if mistakes are being made in the process. It’s easy to see how that line of thinking can become a problem in the world of business.
No matter how quickly work is being done, it’s not worth anything if it’s full of mistakes.
Working too quickly increases the chances that you’ll make a mistake, but working slowly and staying focused on the task at hand improves your accuracy. On that note, here are 3 reasons to start working slower.
3 Reasons to Start Working Slower
In the story of the tortoise and the hare, the tortoise won not because he was fast, but because he just kept moving. The hare made mistakes because he was concerned with speed, and in the end, it cost him the race.
One reason it’s hard for many people to start working slower is the cultural value we place on speed and quick results. We feel like we’re not giving our all to our jobs if we’re not working at a supersonic speed.
We have to actually retrain ourselves to start working at a slower pace, and training takes time. But as the next 3 points will show you, the improved quality of your work will make it worth it.
1. Working slowly helps you recognize and avoid mistakes – Working slowly will help you start to recognize when you’ve made a mistake in your work and avoid more mistakes in the future. Mistakes happen easily when you’re working fast for a few reasons:
- You spend less time on the task overall (no proofreading or error checks)
- You’re working so fast, you don’t notice you’ve made a mistake
- You’re stressed and not able to focus on the task
By slowing your pace and taking the task one step at a time, you’re naturally going to catch errors you might have skipped over if you were working at a faster speed.
2. Tension and stress make you less productive – Working too fast is stressful, especially if working at that speed is necessary because of a looming deadline. The problem is that being tense and stressed out while working quickly nearly guarantees that you’ll make more mistakes.
The more mistakes you make, the less productive you are overall. If you can start working on a project a little sooner than you have in the past to give yourself more time to spend on it, you’ll turn out better work and feel more relaxed doing it.
3. More time spent = Better attention to detail – The more time you have available to spend on a project or task, the more attention you can afford to give to it. It helps to have a checklist of things to review to make sure you don’t miss any important details.
Your checklist might look like this:
- Proofread entire blog post
- Double-check sources
- Read through after 20 minutes
- Mark post off in calendar
When you find that you have a little time to spare, spend 10 minutes on the checklist. Giving that much more attention to detail results in higher quality work without mistakes.
Being able to avoid unnecessary mistakes, feel more relaxed while you work, and pay more attention to detail are all good reasons to start working slower. If the slower pace feels unnatural at first, keep at it. Working slowly is a habit you’ll develop, and once you notice the improved quality of your work from working slower, you’ll be motivated to continue.