• Melanie Koerperich

Being Proactive Instead of Reactive in 5 Simple Steps

It’s important to be proactive and anticipate or even head off those fires before they happen. Failing to plan ahead or be attentive to the current state of your affairs will leave you only having time to be reactive.  You will feel like you are constantly putting out fires that you never saw coming.  It’s a constantly stressful environment and it is problematic for not only how productive you are but also how your peers and clients perceive your work ethic.  Only having time to react to emergencies takes its toll on you and those around you. So, how do you change your reactive behaviors into proactive successes?

1. Proactive Understanding

Before you can make any changes you have to understand why you are reactive.  Do you find it difficult to make decisions? Is your work life in a constant state of emergency due to poor performance or outside influences? Are you a procrastinator? Do you have toxic people in your life that are preventing you from staying on track or encouraging you to ditch work for play? There could be any number or reasons that you are in constant firefighting mode.  Getting to the root of the why is the first step in making the change. When you find yourself in a high-stress situation that could have been avoided take some time to backtrack the steps that led you to your current circumstances. If you do this each time you may find that there is a hidden pattern that you weren’t aware of.

2. Time Management

Proactive people are masters of time management.  The more time you have, the more time you have to plan and anticipate any issues that may arise.  There are some basics of effective time management that you will need to master, including prioritizing, Here are some tips for effective time management.

3. Analyze and Make Changes

It’s important to look for trends in everything.  Once you understand where the problems are originating you then must analyze why are they happening? This is important for identifying what needs to change, what isn’t working, and where the dominos start to fall.  Take a look at the actions that continue to put you in a rough situation then take it a step further and find out how to make real changes.  If you are finding that some of those situations have a common factor, then that should be your top priority.  Start with the most common and head down the list.  Analyzing the path of events will help you start seeing problems before they start.  You know if you do x then y is bound to happen, so you change your path before you even start.

4. Think Before You Move

Sometimes it is as simple as some extra attention.  If you find that making fast decisions or decisions based on your initial reaction often leads to disaster, then you need to incorporate some restraint in your decision-making.  Knee-jerk reactions are often based on emotions instead of facts.  Those emotions also tend to change as we give more thought and consideration to the issue.  Take a deep breath and a couple steps back.  Don’t be so quick to make a decision.  Make sure it is the right one for you and your future.

5. Risk Management

Considering the risk involved in a situation is vital.  You don’t want to be surprised by the fire, you want to avoid it!  Always outweigh the risk and the gain before taking action.  Even if you decide to take the risk, knowing what could go wrong ahead of time will allow you to plan for what you will do if it does.  That means you’ll be standing by with a fire extinguisher and a no-fear look on your face.  That will not only make you feel empowered but will showcase your proactive skills to those around you.

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