Focusing in on the smallest details can be the difference in plateauing or climbing higher in life. Photo courtesy of internets_dairy. Licensed under CC BY-2.0.In my last week of my internship here in Austin, I’m going to feature one last piece of advice that I’ve gained this summer from my boss. One afternoon, we were reviewing a video package edited by one of the editors. She kept replaying certain sections of the video and told me to listen to the audio carefully. After doing this several times, she explained to me that the editor who had made the package had cut a few corners with the audio of the video. To me, the shortcuts were unnoticeable, but to her trained ear, they stuck out like an air horn.

This episode taught me two things. Firstly, I have a lot to learn. Secondly, shortcuts are not worth taking. They may help you in the short run, but they usually bite you in the ass in the long run. Now, perhaps you are now thinking, “Um hello, this is HackCollege. You know, the site that helps you take shortcuts to make life easier.” To that I say, no, this is HackCollege, the site where we show you how to work smarter, not harder. Sure, we have some shortcuts to get through tedious, frustrating stuff, but the shortcuts we offer still get you the same result. The shortcuts you shouldn’t take are those that leave you with a less complete product.

(For more on what hacking college really means, see Shep’s wonderfully worded article here.)

My boss told me to only turn a project in when you are truly proud of what you have accomplished. Go the extra mile on your work, really pay attention to the details because that is the difference between the people in management positions and those who are being managed. If you do just enough to get by, you’ll find yourself plateauing in your school work or job. However, if you really make that effort to do the best that you can, you will excel among your peers, come out on top, and be more likely to move up in the ladder.

To end with, keep in mind this quote from Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden: “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”

How has being detail-oriented helped you in classwork or at your job? Let us know in the comments!

[via Lifehacker]