My wife often makes fun of me for getting sidetracked and forgetting where I’m headed when I’m driving. I’ll be cruising along and miss a turn or even drive right past our destination. On long trips, I sometimes look at the road signs and think, “I don’t remember driving that last 30 miles.”
While that probably doesn’t happen to you, I bet you experience something similar during a normal week. One day you look at your calendar and think, “how is it already Friday?” Where did those other 4 days go? You’re pretty sure you lived through them, but if you think back, you can’t exactly remember what you did each day. Am I right?
I’ll let you in on the secret as to why our days tend to run together: we spend most of our time in reactive mode instead of proactive mode.
Reactive mode doesn’t always mean ‘taking care of emergencies and problems.’ You’re “reactive” if you’re:
- working on tasks that you’ve procrastinated on
- avoiding work that you don’t want to do but is vital to your progress and success
- spending time on meaningless activities instead of advancing your business
- having no plan at all to start the day
How much of your day is spent in these four categories? If we want to have a healthy, growing, successful, fun to work in business, we must spend the majority of our day in proactive mode. Here’s three techniques to help you get focused and become proactive.
#1. Write everything down.
It’s funny how we “forget” to do something when we don’t want to do something. “Dropping the ball,” as I like to call it, is the result of disorganization and procrastination. You can eliminate disorganization very easily; write everything down in ONE place. No little sticky notes or pieces of paper scattered all over. Get a three-ring binder or spiral notebook and keep ONE sheet of paper with a list of all your tasks for the week. Every time you get a new task, write it down immediately on that sheet.
Bonus tip: In my e-course on productivity, I offer a “productivity sheet” to use on a weekly basis that will help you organize your work and life tasks, all in one place!
#2. Start ahead of time.
Procrastinating, or not giving yourself enough time to complete work, leads to more procrastination and time spent in reactive mode. The deeper you dig your hole, the harder it will be to get out. You can avoid this cycle by starting projects ahead of time. Once you get all your “pain in the butt” work done, you’ll have more time to spend in proactive mode, working on things that you’re excited about and help you grow.
Think about this: success is nothing more than a compilation of doing many small things right over a period of time. The faster you get to work on doing those many small things right, the faster you will achieve the success you’re looking for.
#3. Follow up on status and details.
Don’t mark anything as “done” until you’re 100% sure it’s taken care of. Follow up with your client, your employee or your spouse about the task in question. Make sure no details were missed and that everything is resolved. By doing this, you’re reducing the chance that it will come back to bite you in the future. The more future problems we can eliminate, the more time we can spend in proactive mode.
With these simple steps, we can start to take control of our days and spend our time being proactive. Don’t allow your days, weeks and months to blend together anymore!
When you’re serious about taking control of your days and making the most of your time, consider purchasing my e-course “Scheduling Your Day Like a Pro.” It is an easy to implement, step-by-step process to help you get organized, become efficient and start seeing actual results in your business and life.