Being proactive can be super difficult at times when it seems like I have a thousand and one things to do. Trying to get a jump on things when feeling overwhelmed is a big undertaking and sometimes I’d rather just go to Starbucks, read an issue of InStyle and call it a day. But then absolutely nothing would ever get done. The standard definition of proactive that everyone knows is getting something done before it’s necessary and career-wise taking the initiative do get things finished without being asked.
I think though, being proactive can show up differently in different people. I know I have a habit of just waiting- if I know I have one big pending thing to do I’ll wait. Wait for what? You tell me. Just the anxiety of this looming assignment makes me nervous and instead of springing into action sometimes I’ll finish other small tasks I have or wait. Yeah, I know. So for me, being proactive means making a list of all the things I have to do and instead of procrastinating- which is an ever present force in my life- getting a jump on things when I have free time. Not necessarily finishing the whole task beforehand, but getting a head start because I know it’ll help later down the road.
This is coming into play for me right now almost daily. When I’m literally just trying to take it day-by-day and keep my head above water going above the call of duty and starting things that are due 2 weeks from now is just a faint signal on my radar. This is where preparation is necessary! I’ve found that sometimes being proactive can come in the form of just simply being prepared. Making sure I have all the dates of when things are due, have outlined what I need to do and made an effort to conceptually begin thinking about it can be enough sometimes. Even further, like with this blog, when I get a thought about either one of my papers or am inspired for my next blog post I take the time to right it down. This makes tasks so much enjoyable for me! Doing them in steps and having time away from the material to think and revise is so much more relaxed.
Lastly, one of the most important things I’ve been working on is if the task takes less than ten minutes I need to do it right then! Why put off something until later, when I could literally finish it right now and feel the satisfaction of checking it off my to-do list? I’m learning that as daunting as it can be sometimes to take the extra time to overprepare and be proactive, it can be so beneficial and save me a headache in the future!