Being proactive means taking responsibility for your life and actions rather than just watching how things happen. It takes time since you have to consider your options, weigh alternatives and make your own decisions to achieve your goals. It means anticipating problems, seeking new solutions, and doing your best.
Reactive behavior is influenced by the environment and outside forces. It, on the contrary, means solving problems when they turn up, not wanting changes, and doing the minimum effort.
In my understanding, there are certain rules one should adapt to, to become more proactive,
1. One needs to have a to-do list : It is extremely important to have action items ready. Few tasks take longer than usual and for such scenarios, it is good to have a list of action items ready for executions. Of course, this needs planning and allocation to time and bandwidth to be in please as well.
2. Set small goals: Every time there is a new assignment/Project while it looks like a lot of objectives to accomplish, it is always good to have smaller goals and take baby steps towards the larger goal. This becomes even easier when we understand the scope of work required for each project.
3. One goal at a time: After the goals are set, this is where we need to focus more on one goal at a time and go in the series. It will be quite tempting to jump on to all the goals at once or preferring one over the other. it is always a good practice to go in the sequence as it gives a structure to the entire project and
4. Multitasking is a big No-No: This is debatable, but I will go with science, and it has been proven that to do things more effectively and efficiently one needs to make sure to focus on one thing at a time. If at all it is required to do multiple jobs, always go for the 90:90 rule, focus on more important things. Moreover, shifting between tasks is not recommended as it only drains your energy because one has to re-focus each time shifting between each task, while you do feel the sense of achievement as there always be some task pending.
5. Delegation and follow-up: If we are managing a team, delegating the right set of activities to the right individuals is also very important. We should know the strength of our team and the potential of each team member that can contribute to a particular task. At times just assigning tasks will not help, and continue to make follow-ups are key attributes for any individual who is looking to be more productive
6. Matrix to measure work: We often feel challenged to see our efforts take shape, this is where we need to keep an active dashboard or a goal sheet that helps us evaluate our work and keep track of the progress.
7. Have smaller meeting groups: If we are working in a corporate set up we do understand the importance to have a good meeting, while this is not useful to have a lot of members in the meeting because it may not conclude towards the end. If one needs to do a meeting with a larger audience it’s always a good practice to have a smaller series of meetings with the group. Always need to pick up the minds who can contribute in the meeting and whose suggestions can be fruitful.
8. Work on your abilities and potential: Everyone works differently and is gifted with a natural way of executing the work. I have seen people very effective in the morning hours and some towards the evening. It is important to understand what works best for you and make the best out of it. Identify the best 2 hrs of the day where you are most productive and keep the important tasks for this period.
9. Declutter work: Start with your dashboard, it is observed to a lot of us that our laptop dashboard is very cluttered. It just messes with your mind and always gives an impression of having too much work all the time, while it is not. On a day-to-day basis also, we need to keep decluttering our work and keep them away from our site. This way one can focus more on the important stuff and ignore things that are not important.
10. Exercise: Whether it is work or day-to-day affairs, unless we are fit we will never be able to achieve what we want to do. Pick sometime during the day at least for 1 hr and exercise. It will not just help you to stay supercharged but also to be more productive at whatever you do.