Headshot of Connie Hazendonk next to text that says "Skills for Success: Attention to Detail."

The Importance of Attention to Detail as a Salesforce Admin

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Welcome to another post in our “Skill for Success” series. In this post, we’re focusing on the key admin skill of having attention to detail. Let’s dive in!

Attention to detail might come across as one of those buzzword phrases that recruiters and companies use when looking for new employees. It will most likely be brought up frequently during interviews or yearly reviews. But what does it actually mean, and how can I, as a Salesforce Admin, prove and develop this skill?

In this blog, I will outline what is actually meant by attention to detail and go through some of the key areas where you can prove and improve your skills.

I learned the importance of attention to detail from a previous manager. Thanks to her diligence, frustrating as it was at the time, it is now deeply ingrained in my day-to-day work. Inconsistency in field placement on different page layouts? Not on my watch. Inconsistency in naming throughout the org? Not on my watch. Being late for meetings? Not on my watch.

You can start to see a pattern here. Attention to detail is present throughout everything you do as a Salesforce Admin. It’s something that requires constant focus, but once you’re good at it, you’ll be known for it.

What is attention to detail?

Attention to detail is probably one of the least flashy skills but it’s a crucial one to develop as a Salesforce Admin. It’s more than just making sure you have no spelling mistakes—this skill is about your thoroughness, accuracy, and focus.

Years of diligence continue to improve my attention to detail. Like regular exercise, the little efforts over time make a big difference. It’s now at such a level that I can become quite annoyed when I see official documents and presentations with spelling mistakes, inconsistencies in design, and just lacking that polished touch. I’m often the go-to proofreader of documents, as well as someone who keeps teams on track to complete tasks at hand and deliver within set time frames.

Attention to detail is something you need to practice on a day-to-day basis. Let’s walk through some examples of how you can hone this skill as a Salesforce Admin.

Why is attention to detail important for Salesforce Admins?

Proofreading and design work
This is all about being consistent in your writing style, using correct language and grammar, and fact-checking your work. Practicing attention to detail is relevant for not only the Salesforce org you maintain but also your daily communication, like chats, emails, and presentations. Nothing is as frustrating as going into a Salesforce org and finding spelling mistakes in help text or inconsistencies in capitalization.

Time management
This is about managing your workday to ensure you have sufficient time to complete tasks without making mistakes. Good planning is important. As an admin, you’re involved in all kinds of plans and deadlines. Knowing how much time you have, how long tasks take, and where you’re dependent on others is important for a good plan.

Within time management you also focus on meeting participation and structure. If you have 15 minutes to demo the latest features for your org, then make sure you can do it within that window. Being able to deliver good content on time is important.

Organization
How do you structure not only your workspace but also your mind? Reducing visual distractions so you can focus on the tasks at hand is probably the easiest part. However, structuring your tasks by complexity and urgency is a bigger challenge. Knowing what needs to be done by when and not feeling overwhelmed requires dedication and focus. We all occasionally experience the last-minute rush to finalize a project or meet a deadline. But in not giving yourself sufficient time, errors can—and most likely will—happen.

How can I develop my attention to detail?

Quality is key
First of all, manage your workload. Unfortunately, we don’t have the power to clone ourselves yet, so there is just one you. And you only have so many hours in your day. Everyone will tell you that their request needs to be done now and is very important. But we all know that’s not always the case. Learn to say no. Be able to say, “I can do this, but I can’t do this now.” Find solutions that work for both you and the person requesting your expertise.

Limit distractions
If you have a challenging task and need to focus, make sure you do not get disturbed. Find a meeting room to work in. If you can’t, listen to some non-distracting music on headphones (classical/opera is my favorite). Over the years, I’ve found that if I need to write and proofread important documents (like emails or training materials), working from paper works better. It means you can scribble notes, go back and forth between pages, and spot inconsistencies quicker.

Take your time
Take regular breaks. This is even more important if you work from home. Break your day into sections and make sure to walk away from your desk, stretch, get a drink, and, if possible, get some fresh air. Perhaps use a mindfulness app to practice deep breathing. If you need do to something really taxing, try to spread it across multiple days.

Plan, schedule, and track
Each day, assess the tasks at hand as well as any activities you need to attend, like meetings. Start blocking out time in your calendar when you need to focus. Keep track of how long you spend on your tasks and how these fit with the timelines you have. Sometimes, it means working backwards from a given deadline to the present and understanding what you need and can do by which date. Sometimes, if you have the luxury, you can plan your time forward and give a delivery date that suits your schedule.

Find a good way to track your tasks and how long you spend on them. Of course, you can use a Salesforce org to do this (check out this example), which makes it easy for other people to give you tasks and see the status of their request. If you don’t want to use a Salesforce org, Outlook or Excel can also be useful, as well as paper notepads.

Over time, I found a combination of resources works best. I have Outlook/Calendar to track any deadlines I need to meet and any deliverables. I also use a big whiteboard to track my weekly tasks. Visualizing your tasks on a daily basis really helps you stay focused.

Multitasking is for non-important things
You can’t write an important email and chat with colleagues at the same time. That’s when things go wrong and you make mistakes. This doesn’t mean you can’t chat with colleagues, but when you have an important piece of work to do, let your colleagues know you need peace and quiet for however long you need to complete it.

The problem with multitasking is that you can’t focus 100% on any task at hand. This, without a doubt, leads to less than perfect results. Especially with many of us working from home, it’s easy to be distracted by children, partners, pets, and household tasks. Make sure you plan your day carefully so you know when you have time to deal with distractions and time to focus.

The best advice I can give to hone your attention to detail is to check, check, and check again. Get into this habit for everything you do, from writing a short update post, to composing emails, to creating training materials. Everything you do as an admin needs that extra check.

Take these three steps to build your success:

  1. Explore the new Salesforce Admin Skills Kit to learn how to represent your skills when applying for admin jobs or preparing for performance reviews.
  2. Share these skills on social media using #AwesomeAdmin, and tell other admins three skills you’re going to commit to developing this year.
  3. Revisit admin.salesforce.com next Tuesday for the next blog post in this series!

Resources

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