I Never Knew I Was Bad With Details
Yup, it’s true. Right-brained people are big picture thinkers and tend to be horrible with details. But until I learned that, I actually thought I was detail-oriented, enough that I put it on resumes!
Throughout my life, I’ve been prone to sloppy mistakes — the kind that drive the details people crazy. This was particularly true in the army, where attention to detail should be the army motto (it’s “This We’ll Defend”). There’s nothing like missing that a document had the wrong year on it and a boss accusing me of lying about it.
So I overcompensated, to the point where I took a DISC test and was labeled a perfectionist, and I’m not one. I don’t have trouble letting my work go once it’s done, which is a common perfectionist trait. Nor do I endlessly revise sentences, trying to make them perfect. But I would go back over everything as soon as I wrote it and fix the typos and omitted words. I’d recheck work many times over, and still miss typos that had other people berating me.
Then my job changed. I’d been running the audio visual support for a senior manager’s conference room. It required a tremendous amount of attention to detail because if I made a mistake, it would have the scrutiny of an unhappy senior manager. No one wanted to be around her when she was unhappy. When it happened, all I could do was nod my head numbly, walk out the room, and search for a way to tighten the control again.
But when that job ended, it was like a tidal wave washed over me and carried away all the debris from efforts to control the details. Overnight — and it was really overnight –the control was gone, and I couldn’t do it again if I tried. But with it came an immense relief.
But now I’m having different troubles with details. I got a critique back on my first two chapters, and a lot of the comments were on elements that are details to me. It’s not a matter of tracking them — it’s just that I’m very sloppy with them, and I don’t see them as easily as someone who deals better with them.
Does anyone have any suggestions on how to work with details? I need some help before they drive me crazy!