An Aviation Must: How to Pick Up on the Details
As we've discussed in our previous blog post "5 Tips for Surviving in the Aviation Industry," the devil is in the details. A small detail missed in aviation can cause a domino effect that could lead to a much larger issue. And issues in the field can cause life-threatening situations, making it crucial to recognize things that are out of place. But for some, noticing the little things may not come as naturally. But don’t worry! We’ve got a whole list of ways to condition your mind to pick up on the details.
Know Your Role
The better you know your job, the more you’ll notice the fine details of your work. Aside from normal training, look for opportunities to put in more time or get extra training. And don’t be afraid to ask questions. The more engaged you are, the more you will retain. Doing this will further your familiarity with the details of your job, so you'll know if something is out of place.
Organized people take good notes, meet deadlines, and pay attention to details. So, how can you become more organized in your position? For you, this could mean developing your own checklist, aside from the one your job requires. You could keep a mental list or use a journal if you can’t remember. Doing this in your personal life can be beneficial as well. Keeping track of your tasks, whether professional or personal, will give you the perspective you need to see things clearly.
Manage Your Time Wisely
Good time management skills are important in any job and especially in aviation. When you’re in a hurry, you’re more likely to cut corners, make mistakes, or let important details go unnoticed. If you’re pressed for time, or your workload is more than you can handle, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It doesn’t make you weak. It makes you smart.
Develop a Routine
Having a good routine can help you train your mind to notice when something is out of place. But beware. Becoming too comfortable in your routine can cause your mind to go into autopilot. And in turn, it could cause you to overlook a small, but critical detail. Find a good balance that works for you.
Distractions in the workplace can cause you to miss things. Doing things like, putting your phone on silent and limiting conversations, can keep you from missing important elements of your job. Sometimes our own minds can be a distraction. It’s easy to get lost thinking of all the things we need to do at work or at home. But it’s important to keep your mind clear in order to focus on the job at hand. That’s why getting organized in your personal life can help you professionally.
Do NOT Multitask
When you’re multitasking, your mind is trying to do two things at once, which can cause you to miss the specifics. Instead, give every task your undivided attention to ensure you don’t miss anything. If you have an idea or concern that pertains to another task, write it down and address it once you’re finished.
Get Enough Rest
Getting the right amount of rest at night and throughout your workday can be imperative for maintaining a clear and sharp mind. Not getting enough sleep or working too long on a project without a break can cause your brain to get foggy. When you notice yourself becoming distracted or growing tired, it may be time for a breather. Aside from scheduled breaks, sometimes it’s important to walk away from a project to gain clarity. This is especially a good idea if you're getting frustrated.
Make Quality a Priority
In aviation, it’s easy to let the pressure of a deadline rush you through your work. But, it’s important to always rank quality over speed. Because, as you know, this could be the difference in a life or death situation. And if rushing causes mistakes that must be fixed, you’ll end up costing yourself more time in the long run.
Get Some Exercise
Your body isn’t the only thing that needs exercise. Your brain does too! Doing attention-improving exercises is a great way to sharpen your mind.
Some examples of these exercises are…
- Memory Card Game: Lay all the cards face down and try to find the matches. See if you can remember where you last saw the match to the card in your hand.
- What’s Wrong with This Picture: This game can be played in two different ways. Look at two similar pictures side by side and pick out what is different about them. Or look at a picture and try to find all the mistakes.
- Memorize an Image: Look over an image and try to remember as many details about it as you can. Then, flip it over and try to write down everything you can remember from the image.
Bonus: If you have kids, you could play these games with them. You’ll workout your brain while getting some quality time with the family.
The truth is, it takes time to condition your mind to pinpoint the specifics. But once you do, like anything else we practice, it will get easier. Training yourself to be more detail-oriented will not only help with your professional life, it will help with your personal life as well. In this industry, the details could save your career or even a life.
Whether you're new to aviation, or you've been at it for 20+ years, we challenge you to go out and put these tips to the test!