In my previous blog, I wrote about the two fundamental behaviors: Be Early and Be Accurate to which all fellows must commit if one wants to be good at their job in their host organizations. The writing inspiration is drawn from my reflections which I’ve found myself doing more frequently these days as my extended fellowship is coming to a close.

What I recently been reflecting on, and that which I should stress in this writing is that between the two fundamental behaviors being accurate is more important than being early. Being accurate is about more than just having the right number on your excel spreadsheet. It is about providing the right information at the right time in the right format My day-to-day experiences in my host organization over the past 16 months or so taught me that it is far better to be a bit slower and more accurate than a bit faster and wrong. It is essential to understand this and to live this.

How? Here are some pro-tips to do that:

Breathe in, Breathe out.

Take a deep breath. Haste makes waste. Create a trigger or a cue to remind you to slow down and double check your work before hitting send. Create your own mental checklist of things that could go wrong and don’t let them go wrong. This could mean making sure the attachment is actually attached (Yes, I failed to do this over the course of my fellowship at Heartland Alliance International but keeping a tally stick helped me prevent it from reaching over five) or me that your document is formatted to print on one page.

Ask and you shall be clarified.

Your ability to deliver good work is wholly dependent on your ability to get inputs and clear direction. If you don’t understand something, as questions until you do. Make sure that you are 100% clear and sure on what it is that your superviso actually want.

Be an early-ier Bird.

They say that the ‘early bird catches the worm’. I say, an earlier bird not just the worms but an hour or work in peace and quiet that is worth two hours in the office when other people are there – when meetings are happening and you’re distracted. Showing up at work at the same time as everyone else is a ticket to mediocrity, so with an extra hour to spare, you can:

  • Read and reply to all emails that are outstanding
  • Review your calendar and prepare for how the day will go
  • Have time for any last minute prep
  • Review your to-do list
  • Send-out emails reminding people what you need from them
  • Read your favorite website undisturbed.

More than beginning to build the perception that you are a top performer, it pushes you to be more organize. I like to keep thing organized and usually go by my day using a today calendar – the first on my agenda is “Organize my day”.