In the last few weeks I’ve been really busy and haven’t always felt like I’ve had enough time to get everything done that I need to, or want to. Mostly, I’m feeling this way because I am in the midst of sale season. I have a small business called, Jen & Jocelyn, where I sell a line of skirts that I make with my friend, Jocelyn. At this time of year I am up to my elbows in making things. But there are still so many things for me to keep on top of at the moment, from my son and his school work, to my other business The Maven Circle. Making sure I’m being as proactive as possible is necessary to stay on top of everything. To keep up with my busy life, I’ve done a couple of things to streamline my tasks and be as proactive as possible.
First, I set up a carpool for my son. Initially, when I was setting up the carpool, plotting out the schedule, contacting people, answering questions and re-answering questions, I thought, “I don’t have time for this.” But I knew that a little extra work on the front end could save me a ton of time over the course of the year.
You see, when my son got into the arts focus middle school in town I was thrilled, until the realization of a 20 to 25 minute commute set in. For years his neighborhood elementary school was a quick 15-minute walk. Suddenly, I was looking at 1.5 to almost 2 hours a day of driving a day. After considering this I realized I knew enough people that I could organize a carpool and save all of us time. I contacted three other friends with kids going to the same school and presented my hatching plan. Each of our families could drive three times a week, (which for me meant 1.5 hours per week versus per day.) With a quick Google Doc, we were all signed up. Now, instead of more than 300 hours worth of driving to and from school a year it will be about 60 hours. My time was well spent on setting up the carpool and being proactive with planning my schedule.
This streamlining has me thinking of a model of proactive planning for use in other areas of my life. For example, I like to write, but I’m really not an editor. I spend too much time trying to edit my writing and when I’m done, I’m still not happy with it. Well, no more. I hired an editor! She’s fabulous! Her name is Cheryl Larson of Holden Tees and RedHen Communications. She is helping me with my blogging.
A proactive planning model means I’m choosing to focus on what I’m good at: making things, sharing ideas, helping others and leaving the editing to Cheryl. Not only is this saving me time it’s also inspiring me to write more. I know that now I have a support system and can put my efforts in the areas where my talents lie.
When you are proactive, things start with you. By contrast, being reactive is when you respond to things that have happened to you. Be proactive and be the leader in your life.
Tips for Your Own Proactive Plan:
1. Bird’s Eye View – When beginning a new routine, and once you know roughly what’s required, ask yourself “Do I need to do all parts of this task? Are their people I can bring in to help?”
2. Find your people and make a plan - Identify what is required and how to make your plan useful for others.
3. Take initiative – Be the one to take initiative on setting up the workload division. This takes some time and you will need to do a bit more than other members of the group on the front end, but ultimately it’s such a win-win that everyone benefits. If it’s someone you need to hire, then cost it out. Find a way to pay for their services or products, by making cuts in other areas or increase sales of your product or service to allow you to pay for your new help.
What about you? Are there ways you can increase your own proactive-ness? Is there an area where you could bring in others to make your workload a little bit lighter? It’s amazing what kind of deals you can strike up with people if you just ask. Can you hire someone to help you out? Can you think of a way to help yourself and others in the process? Maybe you can barter something you’re good at for someone else’s services. I wish you all copious amounts of proactivity!