Reactive versus proactive

I was in the airport going on my next short getaway and as I was sitting and waiting for the plane to start boarding I was people watching – did I tell you I like people watching? Some are calm and seem to have everything they need in their tiny carry-on bags, while others are surrounded by large bags and other stuff hanging off their bodies still seem worried about forgetting things. Paradoxically, it always seems to be these individuals who, awkwardly maneuver themselves and their belongings to the nearest kiosk or shop to get what they forgot or believe they need. One would think the person with a small suitcase would be much more likely to need something since they have so little space for carrying their belongings. And it would be so much easier for them to hurry to that kiosk without having to carry so much stuff, but more times than not, those who travel light sit calmly browsing their phones, tablets or reading materials without any apparent worry! So why are the people who travel light appear to be so much more at ease? Is it because they just need less, or is it that they’re experienced travelers and have learned what is truly essential?

I’ve been traveling a lot – so far 57 countries and I probably spent at least a month all together in planes, fast and slow trains, busses etc. just moving from one continent to another, one city to other. I remember when we were in Singapore and I talked my husband into ad-hoc trip to Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. I was so happy that I took my small carry on size suitcase rather that full blown “normal” size one, even though the whole trip was for a month! That was such a liberating experience, I now travel for pleasure with only a backpack, and not the large kinds that backpackers take. Nope, just a regular size sports backpack. And I haven’t been happier. I’ve already taken 1 backpack trips to New York and Washington D.C., (both in the winter time!) and a short vacation to Los Cabos. The best part about this way of travel is I never feel like I’m sacrificing anything. I still get to dress up, and I wouldn’t dream of traveling without cosmetics! All it takes is some time to plan my outfits and organize stuff that I always use while travelling. I’m a big fan of small containers and plastic bags to keep essentials organized.

What’s the point of all of this? It’s simple, by spending a little extra time before a trip, I end up spending less time at the airport carousel waiting for a suitcase, less time packing and unpacking in the hotel and at home, and more time at the beach and having fun! And, possibly best of all, I no longer have to do multiple loads of laundry when I get home.

What do my travel habits have to do with a day-to-day life? A lot! By just taking some time each morning to review your day and draft a simple plan, you could save money, time, energy and neurons, and feel much more calm and enjoy your day much more. For example, imagine you have to go to the doctor’s office later one day. Simply by having address and directions handy you can plan your route and include some additional errands along the way. For example, if you also know there will be traffic on your way home, you can plan to find a grocery store close to your doctor’s office and get your grocery shopping done in the time you would have been sitting in traffic. Or you could spend this time in the coffee place next to your doctor’s office and schedule “to do” lists for upcoming days, grouping activities to make the most of time spent in various parts of town.

This is a very simple example of how being proactive can help save time and reduce stress. There are multiple opportunities for being proactive vs reactive, even at work. For example, rather than waiting for an opportunity to open up in a different department, take some time to investigate activities or special projects happening in your target department and volunteer to help. By proactively getting engaged with the people and the project, you will gain experience and exposure in exactly something you would like to do in the future.

Being proactive can also help at home. We’re all busy but taking just a few moments to leave a nice note, pack a special snack, or even pick up your partners clothes off the floor can be enough to remind them that you care even if you’ll be working late . . . again!

And don’t forget yourself! I’m sure you have noticed that when you’re tired, irritated and exhausted, the outcome of your efforts is far less than when you’re feeling great. While it’s not always possible to take a lot of time for yourself, you’ll be amazed at how much even a short break can help to refresh your mind, body and spirit. (First things First).

These are just a few examples of how spending just a little bit of time proactively can help save you time and energy and make for a much more pleasant experiences for yourself and those around you.

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

Still have questions or wondering how simplicity can benefit you? Contact me at or 619 798-8272 to find out more.

#coaching #proactive #reactive #plan #planning #perspective #simplicity

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