Planning to be Reactive


The thing about time is that its finite. That means that there is only a certain amount of things that can be fit into a certain amount of time, no matter how efficient you are. So, as I've discussed before, it is important to work out what to do and what not to do.

One of the key pressures filling time is the drive to be proactive. Its one of the (many) buzzwords used in business nowadays. 'Gotta be proactive.' 'Gotta plan ahead.' 'Can't let anything surprise you.' 'Don't wait for things to happen.' 'Gotta stay ahead of the game.'

Proactive is good.

And reactive is the opposite of proactive, so that makes it bad, right? Actually no, not really. I would argue that being good at 'reactive' is at least as important as being good at 'proactive'.

You have to be reactive at times, because there will always be things that unexpectedly occur and need to be managed. Being reactive is sometimes assessed as having managed things poorly, but this is not necessarily the case. Being reactive doesn't mean you didn't plan ahead. Sometimes things need to happen before you can do something about them.

Some people have a reputation for being great at 'seat of the pants' decisions. Some people have a reputation for being meticulous planners. Both are important. But if you spend 100% of your time being proactive you don't have time to be reactive. Just as if you only ever deal with things in front of you, you won't done any planning.

The question is - what is the right amount? It is probably different for everyone, but its certainly important for everyone.



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