By Harold Taylor –
Proactive people are always looking ahead at future activities, projects and events and anticipating needs, problems and possible outcomes. Here are five weapons they use to tackle almost any situation.
1. Planners. Proactive people use planners as they are supposed to use them – to record future events and scheduled activities. By being able to view the future, they are able to anticipate possible problems and act before they can occur. Just looking at an event such as a meeting, in writing, sets your mind thinking about things you will need for that meeting.
2. Checklists. Proactive people make up checklists for all repetitive events or activities, such as meetings, travel, conferences, sales calls, workshops and interviews. These checklists are updated after every event. If anything was missed, it is added to the list so that it won’t be forgotten the next time.
3. Goals. Proactive people hold planning sessions with themselves and set specific goals for the future. They not only put them in writing, along with deadline dates, they schedule time in their planners to actually work on them. By doing this, they are helping to create their own future as opposed to reacting to unplanned events.
4. Long-range planning. Proactive people recognize that it’s never too early to plan and that planning too late causes crises and time problems. If the Titanic had started turning sooner, it never would have hit the iceberg. Small adjustments made earlier avoid large adjustments having to be made at the last minute.
5. Preparation. One of the most important weapons that proactive people use is their habit of preparation. In fact, it could be called a way of life. Proactive people wouldn’t think of making a telephone call without first jotting down the items for discussion or going to the supermarket without first making a list of the items they need. They don’t resent looking at a map before taking a trip or reading the instructions before assembling a swing set.
Proactive means to act beforehand. Taking action in the present will influence things in the future, perhaps even the future itself. So practice those habits exhibited by proactive people. Think ahead. Set goals. Schedule time for activities. Plan daily. Use checklists. Review results. And continually make adjustments to improve future outcomes. There is power in being proactive.
Harold Taylor is a bestselling author and time management expert. (www.taylorintime.com).