Details are your friend (really)

I generally consider myself pretty detail oriented. In fact, I know some of my friends/siblings would complain that sometimes I’m too focused on details – especially ones that don’t matter (well, at least to them). (And I’m sure some of you are thinking, but I find small errors on this site all the time. I do re-read, but don’t catch them all, as I can’t devote too much time here.) Because of this, I’m always so disappointed in myself when I do something dumb where, had I followed my normal personality/routine, it could have been easily prevented.

Like yesterday, when I sent off a version of a paper to my supervisor to have him check it over. Only to find afterwards, that I hadn’t included the bibliography. In my hurry to change the name of the file, I recompiled just once (I use Latex) and forgot to add in the bibliography again. Oops. Not only that, but I also feel kind of stupid when he finds errors like an extra ‘the’ or ‘has’ where ‘as’ should be. And I have read it over and done a check.

However, I suppose it’s as my friend said:

That is proof that more eyes are good for editing as we often get mired and miss things.

On the plus side, between some edits by my supervisor and another couple of passes myself, the paper is even better than it was originally (and still within the required page limit). And it’s been submitted – so at least that version is out of my hands. However, it’s also a short version of a longer paper I need to work on, so it still needs work…

But, these instances always remind me that it’s important to take care and focus on what you’re doing. That hurrying up and just getting it done is a recipe for errors and mistakes (and stupid ones).

I find this rings true for most everything in life. It’s invariable that if I’m trying to be as fast as possible while grocery shopping I miss important items (like milk). Or if I don’t bother to actually check out a climbing route before starting then I find myself holding on desperately searching for my next hold. And, the most common and frustrating programming errors are generally caused by this – forgetting closing brackets and semi-colons, ugh.

It’s also worth thinking about these things, because, if you’re like me, you invariably end up pointing out when others mess up. And, if you do that, you’ve to realize that people are going to do that to you, too, if you aren’t careful.

So, like the old adage says:

Measure twice, cut once.

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