Success Rule #15 – Be Proactive

Plan ahead; anticipate the unexpected, take steps to prevent problems before they occur. Success at work, home, or at school is not living in crisis. Even firefighters only spend 3 to 5 percent of their time fighting fires. Instead spend more of your time doing things that are important – value added – when they’re NOT urgent. Relationship building (spouse, children, co-workers, boss, and customers) is important, saving and investing is important. Divorce, juvenile delinquent, getting fired, failing a class, no money for retirement – your marriage, family, job, school and retirement – all still important but now they’ve become urgent matters. Do you take your spouse for granted? Is the only time you know what’s going on in your kids life is when they’re in trouble? Have you let your boss, co-worker, customer or professor down again? Are you still renting because you can’t afford the downpayment for a home? Can you not retire because you have nothing to retire on?
This Labor Day weekend I will be meeting my nephews in NW Georgia for hiking and relaxing at a nice mountain vacation rental. I kept the cost down to a minimum so it wouldn’t break their bank and at the same time hold them responsible for some of the expense. I set it up several weeks earlier so they could pay a little at a time on-line. But do they plan, prepare and prevent emergencies from popping up. Of course not, they’re college students. It’s their first time renting a house between 5 roommates. Rent is covered, but then there’s those pesky utilities, dishes, garbage bags, other house cleaning supplies, oh and Ramen Noodles.
Are you preparing for retirement? What have you done to prepare for your next promotion? How are you helping your employees so they can plan ahead and prepare? Training, delegation, recognition and discipline?

Here are a few tips to help you be proactive.

TIP – Use a To Do List. One life-one list. Multiple lists create opportunities for missing something on the other list. This does not preclude having a task list for specific projects-we’re talking apples and oranges.
TIP – Keep your list with you at all times. Get rid of the post-its, backs of envelopes and scraps of paper stuffed everywhere. I like the black and white composition note books from any office supply store.
TIP – If you think it, Ink It. Write it down. If you thought about it, it was probably important. If it turns out it’s not – no harm / no foul.
TIP – Schedule your priorities on a calendar weekly (instead of prioritizing your schedule). In other words identify the things that are important first, block out time to accomplish them, and let the small stuff get done as the opportunity presents itself.

You can get it done. Plan, Prepare and Prevent.

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Dannielle Blumenthal

Thanks for posting this. To expand on the “write it down” – I try to get everything into Google Tasks and then go through the list frequently. Not everything that you put in the task list, actually has to get done. it’s as important to eliminate low-priority or unnecessary tasks as to add new ones.

Charlene McTier

Thanks for the tips and re-igniting the fires of what’s important. “If you think it, ink it.” — great tip! Only 3 more quarters left this calendar year. Enjoy it and make it your best.

Anthony Tormey

Charlene, glad you liked the If you think it, ink it tip. Like Dannielle to better have it written down and removed versus not have it written and missing a deadline.

Dannielle, your comment reminds me of aNewsWeek interview of Hillary Clinton and Henry Kissinger and where Kissinger states, “One of the problems of government is to separate the urgent from the important and make sure you’re dealing with the important and don’t let the urgent drive out the important.”