I need to slow down at work so I don’t make mistakes

A reader writes:

I’ve recently switched jobs, and I’m loving my new job so far, but there’s one thing I am struggling to adapt to in my new workplace: the speed at which I work. My previous 3 years were spent in a job where the workload was impossibly high and I would be interrupted every 5 minutes by demanding clients. In order to get everything done before deadlines, I would often have to work through lunch breaks and stay late in the office to get time to concentrate. Even with this extra time, I would need to work at a very fast pace to get tasks done, which led to mistakes being made and details not paid attention to. This wasn’t just an issue for me alone – it was an organization-wide problem and common to all staff in the same role.

My new job is very different. The workload is more than manageable, and largely free of interruptions. I have enough time to complete my work within office hours, and I can take a full hour for lunch without even looking at my inbox. There is no pressure to complete my tasks as quickly as possible (as long as I meet deadlines), but I am still racing to get my work done as if I were at my old job.  As a result, I am finishing my work much faster than expected. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I am aware that I lose accuracy at such a speed.

Can I train myself to slow down?  I’m not aware of any large mistakes having been made due to my speed, but I know I’ve slipped once or twice on small details and I don’t want to get a reputation for not paying attention.

You can read my answer to this question — along with answers from three other experts — over at the Fast Track blog by Intuit QuickBase today.

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