Slowing down and attention to detail

#1

Hi Everyone,

I’ve been having some problems at work and I wonder if any of you have some good strategies. My issues are that I’m not catching the mistakes I make in my work. I will double, triple, quadruple check my work but a co-worker takes one look at it and finds errors (including typos) that I couldn’t catch no matter how many times I went over the document. Any tips on how to slow down and check your own work?

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#2

Sorry. I do just the same. At some point it gets too boring and my brain just speeds through. Best solution is in my experience to get somebody you trust to proof read. And maybe return the favor. It is easier to spot mistakes, and make good suggestions to other peoples text. And more interresting to read it.

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#3

Yes, swapping work would be ideal.

Another option, if you can’t swap, is to check your work later, like after doing the next task. If it seems ‘new’ when you look again, you might be able to see what is actually there, and not what you intended to write. Of course, this is only possible if you can hold your work in some kind of draft folder, and you would then also run the risk of forgetting that it’s not sent… :scream_cat:

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#4

I’ve worked professionally (and successfully) as a document checker and translation verifier, and trust me, it’s ALWAYS WAY easier to find errors in what you didn’t write yourself. It’s not just a problem for you, but for the human brain in general, even for neuro-typical people. Maybe it affects us more(?), but I’m honestly not convinced. Some people just do that more than others, but it happens to everyone.

The problem is your familiarity with your own text. Because your brain knows the content, it lets you read it fast, by filling in the parts it knows, so your brain literally corrects the error before sending it from your eyes to your processing center. Your brain literally doesn’t get to see the errors… That’s why everyone, in any writing job, needs to have colleagues check stuff for errors, if it’s of any significance. (Hence my job as translation VERIFIER)

So it’s not just you, and yeah, it’s always a good idea to have a colleague check things for you, ADHD or not.:wink:

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#5

I’ve heard some writers will read their work backwards to help catch typos. Also, taking a long break and then coming back to it with fresh eyes.

If typos are a problem, then I always try to have someone else look it over before I submit it as done.

I had a job where they were very very aggressive about that sort of thing, and frankly, that was a super poor fit for me. My anxiety over not missing typos made me more likely to miss things. And the more anxious I was, the bigger the mistakes I made, and the more angry they got.

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#6

I’ve heard people swear by Grammarly- and now it plugs into Google Docs: https://www.grammarly.com/

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#7

Situational blindness… As Marodir said above the brain is super powerful and will hide blips in the information you receive if you are familiar with it.

One example is people with retina damage. If you damage a part of a retina in a few days you won’t notice the black spot in your vision unless you cover the good eye and pass an object into the blind section.

Another example is people that cross the same road every day the brain can actually remove whole cars and you will just drive out into the path. I have seen this effect first hand. Just up the road we can cross a highway with no fly over or traffic lights. Recently they redesigned the intersection to make it a bit safer by making the turning lanes longer. Before the change we had at least one serious sometimes accident a month and a couple each year being fatal.

After the changes went in we had no accidents for probably 6 - 8 months. Now the accident count is creeping back up the situation for those that cross the intersection regularly has become familiar and people are driving out into traffic did this once I didn’t even see the car that almost hit me my brain literally removed the car from my vision. Now I stop look down the road but I will then look back in the car at say the floor or the roof and then back at the road just so my brain gets to fully assess the crossing again.

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#8

Wish I had a suggestion, but this is a problem for me too, and I have not figured out a solution. It is also made worse by my dyslexia because I cannot spell and spell check does not always catch it.

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#9

I’m not going to lie, I was going to post about a similar situation happening in my work. I do graphics and it’s very much a multitasking job, and I find myself missing out on alot of small things. It’s also been brought up to me before. So I’m just hoping to learn more about how to more successfully multitask and most importantly FOCUS on our work down to the small details. Does anyone have any tips?

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#10

DISCLAIMER: This is a theory I just came up with that has not been tested. Use at your own risk.

I had a sudden burst of inspiration after reading this thread. The next time you are working on a task that requires attention to detail, make an intentional mistake and leave it in until the end.

I hypothesize that our brains see our work as perfect, complete, or done once we reach the end unless we spot a mistake. So when we go back to double check our work, our brains are not really paying attention because we “know” the task is correct. However, if one were to leave a horribly misspelled word in the middle of the document, the brain will be actively looking for the error because it knows one exists. The key would be to force yourself to review the entire document or project and not just jump to the part you know is wrong.

Again, just a theory. I haven’t had a chance to test this, but I figured I’d leave it here just in case. Not sure how you’d leave a mistake in a graphics design project that can be easily fixed later, but I’m hoping it is possible?

Let me know how this works/if it works! I’ll see if I can’t test it myself in the meantime.

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#11

Well, the first part of your theory is 100% correct, backed by Science ™®©, but leaving in errors to force the brain to check it properly… It’s an interesting idea, although I don’t know whether it’s possible to NOT just skip to that part, like you said… Still an interesting idea!

Another interesting idea would be to tell yourself that someone edited the document, intentionally spelling words wrong intentionally to mess with you, amd if you include at least one spelling error per page to make it seem more realistic, that might help focus more on finding errors. The number of ‘errors’ probably needs to depend on the length of the document, but it’s really a fascinating idea!

Where are the neurobiology PhD students who can’t think of a dissertation title when you need them?!

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#12

Uh, I accidentally checked that for you a while back. Kinda. I didn’t leave a mistake in order to find it later but, while customizing a web site for different browser sizes, I changed the text color with each size so I could tell more easily what viewport I was looking at at any moment. If it’s red, it’s 700-1000px etc.

I made a mental note to remove those extra colors before handing the site to the client and also told my colleagues to remind me, which they did, and I saw those extra colors several times and thought, right, I gotta remove those, and then I handed the site over to the client and guess what I didn’t do?

I actually signed into the project at home later that day to remove that. I don’t think he had the opportunity to notice. So no awkward conversations with the client, right?

Wrong. I also added a field called “nonsense” to the back-end to test for some functions that didn’t work right. I deliberately called it “nonsense” for it to stand out and remind me to remove it because I couldn’t possibly hand that to the client, right?

Yeah, so that awkward conversation did happen.

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#13

I so feel ya! I have found that taking a deep breath and “proofing” what I’ve done works or resist urge to do anything else until you finish the task. Keep trying!

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#14

You know, before I was diagnosed (which was only this past Thursday) I had no idea why I would work so quickly but not pay attention to small details or miss things when self-auditing. My boss would tell me to slow my pace down and I told her that I literally couldn’t no matter how hard I tried but could never really explain it to her. I ended up being put on a corrective action plan for a month because I was making too many mistakes. Partly this was because I wasn’t catching my mistakes and partly because I don’t remember much from training (it was so boring and I was working from home so there was no one keeping me in check with paying attention).

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