Tips for Proactive Professionals

We’re halfway through the first month of 2020 and this is the time when a surge of new ideas come to life! You may have set ambitious goals for the year and feel your motivation grow with an urge to roll up your sleeves and get to work. But slow down for a second. With all this new year hoopla, it’s easy to overextend, leading to disappointment and overwhelm by forgetting the simple processes that keep us sane.

I am here to cheer you on and ready to watch you reach your 2020 goals, but I have a few helpful tips that I feel are important to remember this time of year. As you read through, you may think you’re already rocking some of these tips, while others might be the gentle reminder you need. Working with business owners and being one myself, I see these little proactive tricks often get neglected and cause significant problems later. So, refer to this list when you feel you might be overextending:

Focus on the Big Picture!

Move past all the small stuff that is hindering your ability to see the big picture. You know where you want to drive your business. You know how to get it done. You see the vision in front of you, and it’s exciting! So, don’t get caught up in the small things that will not make a big difference in the long run.

Real progress is made when our focus is dialed in on the big picture/goals rather than the exhausting time spent on minor details. Now, this doesn’t mean that small details aren’t necessary because some definitely are! But if you find yourself going back and forth on whether a detail is important or not…you may already have the answer.

Learn to Say “No”!

When you open your schedule, does it look like events and commitments threw up all over the place? I know there are moments when I look at my calendar and think, “Erica, how the heck are you going to get through this week?!” In these moments, I’m reminded that I am just a human and can only do so much.

Figure out what is most important to you in your life. What are the areas of your life that are an absolute priority? Every. Single. Day. For me, my family is at the top of my list. It may be different for each of you reading this, but dig deep and stay mindful about what that top priority is as you go throughout your day.

Once you figure out what your top priorities are, HOLD YOURSELF TO THEM. Think of priorities as promises. I could stay after work and help my team problem solve, BUT if my kiddo has a school event I wanted to make, I will say no to work. I will walk away and keep my promise to making family a priority. Those emails? They can wait until tomorrow morning. The client calling nonstop for your help during lunch? They can…wait for it…hold off until you are done with lunch.

You must respect and prioritize your time with your values, goals, and self-health. I promise that you can still be successful while focusing on what matters and not overcommitting.

Know What’s in Your Control!

Now, I know I just got done telling you that you can be in control of your commitments and schedule, but what happens if something happens and it’s OUTSIDE of your control!? Gasp! That’s a nightmare for any organized professional!

It’s bound to happen. Even throughout all my years of helping corporations thrive, there are always things that happen outside of my control. Being proactive means taking the project in front of you, using creative solutions (link blog), and getting the job done. A proactive professional won’t dwell on the past bumps. They won’t worry about the future.. well, ok maybe a little, but they won’t be consumed by the “What if’s” that may come. What life decides to throw at you is not always in your control BUT how you decide to act is.

See reality for what it is and create a plan to move forward towards your goals. Embrace adversity with open arms and be mindful in your plan of action.

Give an Early Heads-Up!

Don’t forget that while you are scheduling your days and priorities, all your teammates and clients are doing the same thing. If you know that there may be a small setback, delay, or emergency on the horizon— keep them in the know. It’s ok to have moments of humility and check-in with one another.

I feel it’s always better to overshare your timeframe than under-share and apologize for the delay. Those you work with will thank you for setting proper expectations rather than leaving them in the dark.

Use Your Phone to Set Reminders!

I am thankful for Siri.
“Hey Siri, remind me to pay my phone bill tomorrow morning.”
“Hey Siri, remind me in 30 days to check in with Barbara from The Summit event”.
“Hey Siri, remind me to post my latest blog on Thursday.”

I use Siri to keep myself honest with reminders. My hands are dipped into many different pots, and sometimes a girl just has to use her phone robot to help her out every so often! Think about it, our computers and phones are staples of our corporate world, so why not treat them like employees? Simple reminders on your phone will keep you accountable, but they also store nicely in an app that you can access when needed.

As you put more work into your business, hopefully, that translates into more success. Unfortunately, that also usually means more complexity in your daily life with having to keep track of everything going on. I hope you can take these simple “house cleaning” tips as reminders on how to manage everything effectively. Stay authentic and mindful to yourself and your goals, so that you’re constantly putting your best foot forward with as few setbacks as possible.

Set up a 20-minute call here to see if we are a good fit to spark your project!

Download or View this Article as a PDF

A passionate organizer of people and initiatives, Erica Smigielski brings over twenty years of experience in project leadership to financial software and SaaS companies who want to launch their next big idea. She leads large-scale, complex projects like product launches and company mergers and acquisitions as well as focused efforts to bring structure and process to fast-track businesses. Erica holds certifications as a Stanford Advanced Project Manager as well as a Certified Group Facilitator, making her a master orchestrator of strategic planning, as well as a skillful communicator who can expertly navigate complex group dynamics.