Mystery shoppers must be be able to juggle several tasks at once. You have to stay undercover, have a great attention to detail and be able to remember the specifics of their job solely by memory. As a result, secret shopping can be challenging. Here are some tips for staying on task for you to fulfill your mystery shopping duties to the best of your abilities:

Know your goals before you go

One of the great things about mystery shopping is that you are essentially being paid to shop. For already busy people, like stay-at-home moms or college students, this is great way to save time and earn some extra money. However, this can also be one of the downsides. Sometimes while mystery shopping you can spend so much time browsing or buying things for yourself that you forget the task at hand. It may even slip your mind that you are working at all.

A tip for preventing this from happening is to know exactly what your job is before you go. Review your assignment so that it is instilled in your mind. Stay on track by doing exactly what you need to do when you arrive at the store. That way, you can accomplish your job first, and then focus on personal shopping later. It will save you time in the long run, because if you forget tasks, you’ll have to go back to the store to complete them.

Read your assignment out loud

Knowing your goals before you go is a great way to ensure you get your job done. However, perhaps one of the most difficult parts about being a mystery shopper is remembering your assignment. Because you are undercover, you are generally not allowed to carry notes with you into the store. For some people, this can make remembering the specifics of a job difficult.

To avoid forgetting tasks, try reading your assignment out loud beforehand. According to Dr. Art Markman, who wrote about production effect in Psychology Today, reading out loud can cause us to remember better. This study showed learners who were given a list and asked to read half of it out loud and half silently remembered the part they read out loud more accurately than the silent portion. This is attributed to a link in auditory-to-memory pathways, similar to visual cues. Therefore, try reading your assignment out loud to yourself right before you head to the job. You could even do it alone in the car where there are no other sounds to distract you. Then, hopefully, you won’t blank while you’re in the store.

Perform shopping assignments alone

It’s true that some assignments may require you to bring someone along, but more often than not you will be alone. Bringing a spouse, friend or even your children can be one of the many perks of mystery shopping. However, sometimes company can be distracting. Try to refrain from bringing people if you’re going to a store. These assignments usually require the most details in your reports. This can include anything from how you were greeted to the cleanliness of a section. The more focused you are, the better your reports will be. Companions can prevent you from noticing all the details about your visit.

However, the more you establish yourself as a serious mystery shopper, the better assignments you can receive. For example, one of your jobs could be to eat a restaurant. Here you could take a friend, a spouse or even the whole family. Know which assignments you should perform alone, and you can plan accordingly.