How to Avoid Mistakes at a Job

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Thanks to the fallible nature of humanity, every one of us has made mistakes; in fact, we often learn a great deal from our missteps, developing strategies for avoiding similar errors in the future. And since every business is run by humans, mistakes also occur in the workplace and are as varied as innocuous typos to $10,000 miscalculations. Yet generally speaking, the fewer mistakes you make on the job, the better: Blunders at work can affect the bottom line, productivity, and ultimately, your employment status. However, you can take proactive steps to avoid some common mistakes on the job.

Things You'll Need

  • Motivation
  • Pen and paper
  • Concentration

Learn to Mitigate Mistakes on the Job

  • Gain a clear understanding of your job responsibilities. Take the initiative to schedule a meeting with your direct supervisor so that he or she may outline your responsibilities and tasks; detail company policies regarding the company dress code, hours and absences, the chain of command, web and e-mail procedures, etc.; introduce you to other staff (especially members of the key departments with which you’ll need to work); explain deadlines; and clarify what is expected of you.

  • Bring a pad and pen to meeting and take copious notes. This not only demonstrates your commitment to doing your job well, but also gives you something to reference at any time to avoid making procedural mistakes you’ve already discussed with your manager, as well as the need to ask questions about things that were already explained to you.

  • Check, double-check and check again. One particularly obvious way to avoid mistakes on the job is to review everything you do carefully before turning it in. Take a quick break from the project you’ve just completed, and then take a few moments to review your work. Delivering error-free assignments saves your boss a great deal of time, and also highlights your capabilities.

  • Slow down. Even with a deadline looming, forcing yourself to take “mini-breaks” every hour can clear your head and refresh your mind, allowing you to be far more effective and alert. Take between three and five minutes to stand up and stretch, do a lap around the office, gaze out the window, or focus your attention on something beautiful. The less panicked you feel, the more productive you are.

  • Avoid too much socializing or gossip. No matter how good at your job you are, one common mistake is spending too much time socializing with, or worse, gossiping about, coworkers. While occasional, brief and friendly discussions are acceptable, avoid getting mired in office politics, spending too much time in the break room or visiting other workers’ offices. And never participate in office gossip—doing so will only paint you as a busy-body who’s can’t be bothered with work.

    The same is true for social networking sites, personal calls or even cigarette breaks. If every time your boss passes your office he sees you doing anything but work, you can be sure he—and everyone else in the office—has taken notice.

  • Maintain a healthy work/life balance. In challenging economic times, employers typically have the upper-hand: Workers are willing to do just about anything to stay employed, including working excessive hours, assuming additional responsibilities and performing tasks well beyond their job description. Inevitably, this lifestyle imbalance takes its toll, increasing the odds of making an on-the-job mistake. Don't underplay the importance of striking a good balance between work, family, friends and other activities you enjoy—you'll find yourself far more productive in the end.

  • Photo Credit Girl on her workplace working image by Angel_a from Fotolia.com taking notes image by Charles Jacques from Fotolia.com clock image by Christopher Hall from Fotolia.com young family image by JulianMay.co.uk from Fotolia.com
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