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Your to-do list: Reactive vs proactive tasks

Posted Aug 05 2010 12:00am

Do you make to-do lists for yourself?

Scott Scheper is the author of a book "How to Get Focused". One excerpt that I read from his blog " How to Get Focused " really made sense to be on a personal and professional level. It discussed the the secret behind building and accomplishing your to-do list. Read the article .

Briefly, the secret lies in labeling your to-do list items as Reactive or Proactive tasks.
  • Reactive Task: A task which is driven by others
  • Proactive Task: A task which is driven by your long-term goals and passions
Whenever I feel overwhelmingly busy, I often find it is because my list of reactive tasks has completely overshadowed any proactive tasks that I have planned. There's just no time left for proactive tasks, when you are inundated by emails, social media forums, phone calls, and administrative deadlines.

The goal towards a successful balance is to spend 20% of your time doing reactive tasks and 80% doing proactive tasks. It is much easier said than done, but this provides a nice target to strive for. I used to be 95% reactive and 5% proactive. Over the past year, I have drastically shifted to about 30% reactive and 70% proactive... and it feels totally right.

To borrow from a great quote in the article:
Reactive tasks will make you a living. Proactive tasks will make you successful.

Note: I do not have any financial ties with the author or the book.

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