7 Ways to Be Productive.

Benefits of Being Proactive

When people are proactive, they tend to thrive at work and they tend to be more satisfied with their careers because they take action across their career stages and therefore experience more growth in their careers, according to the Journal of Vocational Behavior research. In addition, people who are more proactive tend to benefit by being promoted to leadership roles and making more money, based on research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.

7 Ways to Be Productive.

Be Concrete, Realistic Goals

Taking action is great, but only if it’s calculated and focused. This is a great way to keep yourself motivated and moving forward. If you set goals that are out of reach, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and are much less likely to be motivated to continue working towards your goal.

 

Instead of telling yourself to lose all of your extra weight within a month, set a goal to swim or run a mile each day. 

Make sure that your goals are what you truly want. For instance, your goal on paper might be to get a raise at work, while you truly want to prove your parents wrong. 

Pick a Single Important Task and Do It Now.

If you’ve been putting off something big, get started this instant. Having a never-ending list of tasks to complete can be overwhelming, and it’s likely to cause you to run from one task to the next without ever actually completing one. Instead of trying to do everything at once, focus on the things that are most important and aim for accomplishing those.

 

If your to-do list consists of things such as cleaning out the closet, taking the car to get inspected, and reorganizing the bedroom, you should focus on the thing that is most important — getting the car inspected.

Accomplish One Minor Task Every Day

Staying on top of the small things keeps them from piling up. By taking care of regular day-to-day tasks instead of putting them off, you’ll create less stress for yourself while also making sure those small tasks don’t turn into a larger problem. A little effort up-front could save you from a larger crisis later.

Pay particular attention to preventative maintenance, whether that means checking the fluids in your car, restocking your pantry, or setting aside a bit of money in savings each week.

Let Go of the Stuff outside Your Control

If you can’t control something, dedicating energy to it is a waste of time. It’s useless to spend time worrying about things that you can’t actively change. Use your energy and motivation to work on tackling tasks that you know you can accomplish. This will allow you to get much more done while feeling more positive.

 

For example, if you’re stressing out about your son’s grades at school, you can’t make him get good grades. However, you can help him study for tests, make sure he’s getting enough sleep, and encourage him to take his grades seriously.

Take Action.

This is perhaps the most quintessential of proactive behaviors. In addition to checking the context and making plans, you’ll also want to take ownership and dive in. When you see problems, take initiative to recommend solutions. When you have responsibilities, follow through and complete tasks.

Seek new learning and explore new career directions—and then take a class or build a relationship with a mentor who can help you grow. Offer to contribute on a project which is related to the career you want to develop, and take on responsibilities which interest you and on which you can add value. 

All of these will help you craft your job today and your runway to what will come next.

Persevere.

Another key element of being proactive is to persevere despite obstacles and barriers. Stick with things, even when they’re challenging. Demonstrate grit and resilience as you push through.

Also be willing to change course when you must. If things don’t go as plans, reflect, learn and adjust for the next time.

Seek Great Leaders.

Research in Frontiers in Psychology also shows that leaders have a bearing on your ability to be proactive. Seek out leaders who give you opportunities to expand your role, allow you to influence how you get things done and empower you to make decisions. These help build your confidence and competence.

 

If your direct leader doesn’t provide this kind of autonomy or empowerment, look for mentors or coaches who do—and assess these traits in the leader for the job you choose next.

Take Initiative Instead of Waiting for Help.

Why wait on other people when you can do something yourself? You are the only one who can accomplish your goals and fix your problems. While there are people in your life who will support you, you need to rely on yourself to achieve success. Start taking initiative and embrace the challenge when you run into problems.
Instead of placing the blame on someone or something else when a problem arises, take ownership of the issue and work towards solving it yourself.

Reflect on Your Actions.

Monitoring whether you’re making progress can help guide your next move. Every once in a while, stop for a minute to reflect on what you’ve been doing. If you aren’t reaching your goals, think about how you could perform tasks more efficiently and come up with a new plan.

Create a plan, checklist, or routine to accomplish the task. Look for steps in the process you can eliminate, consolidate, or shorten.

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