It’s the start of another beautiful day. On your face is staring a number of hours in which you can accomplish all the tasks that you’ve planned. Can you efficiently and effectively utilize this available time to do what you need to do? Or will you go to bed at the end of the day with a frustrated mind thinking that the hours you’ve spend in the day could’ve been a lot more productive?
The answers to these questions depend on your approach towards taking action. When you start a day, you’re presented with two main action-taking approaches. Firstly, there’s the reactive approach. And then there’s the proactive approach.
A reactive approach towards taking an action is an instantaneous approach. It refers to doing what you feel is the right thing to do at an instant moment. Instead of accomplishing important actions based on logic and priority, your main focus is to do whatever your mind tells you to do and simply triggering you into doing that task. This reactive action-taking approach is one of the most popular ones that people all around us are using today. The sad part is that, people with reactive action-taking approaches are literally destroying their productivity. Let’s check out a few examples.
An email inbox is a great example and a breeding zone for chaotic, unplanned actions. You may have a perfectly planned schedule for the day. And then suddenly, an email pops up telling you to do a task that you can’t avoid and thereby ruining your perfect schedule. People with reactive action-taking approach will react to this email by resolving it at that instant.
To be absolutely honest, not everyone likes to do all types of tasks. We all have our own preferences and priorities. Someone may love to write, while others despise the idea. You might be an avid programmer or someone who hates programming with passion. This is one of the main reasons to why people skip following the planned order in their to-do lists and reactively focus on items that they love to do instead of proactively focusing on what needs to done.
When you sort out an action proactively, you’re planning the time lying ahead of you and making a transparent plan of the tasks that you need to complete. Of course, a flexible routine is important in order to deal with unexpected events. Proactive action-taking features thinking clearly about each and every possible action and intelligent decision making for determining what needs to be done on a particular day.
The unfortunate reality is that in today’s world, more people prefer to choose reactive action-taking than a proactive approach. Switching your approach is not a difficult task and here are a few ways how you can do it!
Switching to Proactive
What should you do if all your actions taken throughout the day are labelled as reactive? You can change your actions from reactive to proactive following a very straightforward way.
Step 1: Trust Proactivity
This first step will provide you a mental shift to your existent beliefs. For transforming your actions into proactive, you must have faith in the whole system and trust that a proactive approach will be effective. If you’re still skeptical, you should try it out for a while and take a leap of faith. It’s a good idea to set a timeframe of 2 weeks. That’s about enough time experience the best outcomes of proactive action-taking approach.
Step 2: Make A Personal Action Plan (PAP)
A Personal Action Plan consists of three basic parts – main actions, minor actions, ghost actions. To make the entire process very simple, mark three main actions for every day and write them down. Focus on these main actions until they are successfully accomplished. Once you’ve completed the main actions, you can shift your focus to the minor or ghost actions. To start off, simply focus on the main actions. You can sort out the rest in the future.
Step 3: Focus Your Actions
Once you’ve identified the main actions for your day, what comes next is to start your day by working through each of them. Stick to a task until it is accomplished and reward yourself a short break for refreshment. Get back to work again and focus on the next task. Have a precise focus until all three main actions of your PAP list are completed.
Step 4: Avoid Reactive Triggers
Getting used to a new system might be a little difficult at times. You’ll keep falling back to your old routine. It’s important to avoid any sort of action taken reactively, just like staying as far away from your email inbox. When you have a PAP with three major actions on the list still left to do, stay away from the inbox until you’ve completed those actions. When you’re done with the tasks, only then permit yourself to peek into the uncertain world of email messages! Focus only on those three items that you’ve sorted out and do not allow anything creep into your mind before you’re done with these items. In fact, have the goal to have your main task completed by 11am. That will really keep you focused.
Step 5: Do Not Give Up
Since you’re not used to proactive approach, it might seem a little odd to you. Just because something feels odd, doesn’t mean that it’s not the right thing to do. Give it some time and you’ll start to enjoy it once the benefits start coming along your way. Stick to the system and do not give up. It’s perfectly normal if you slip back to a reactive approach at times. Have a strong determination and get back to being proactive. With time, you’ll have a better hold of things and a better control over your actions. Do you think Donald Trump, Barack Obama or Angelina Jolie are reactive? Of course not, these highly successful people are proactive.
Forget whatever you’ve done till this instant of your life. It’s never too late to develop a new lifestyle. You can reap the benefits and have a happy and productive life. You can’t change your lifestyle overnight, but as long as you follow these five steps and put the effort forward to change your approach, you’ll start realizing that being a proactive can truly bring out the best in you.