The Illawarra Mercury column
- Taking Charge 6

Are you back in your winter woollies? It looks like winter has finally arrived and we will need to keep the sweaters, jackets and other cold weather gear close at hand. The last couple of years I would have a quick look through all the clothes in the house at around about April, before the weather would cool off. Checking seasonal clothing twice a year is a good idea, especially if you have kids, as you will need to check if they still fit last year’s clothes. For yourself you probably want to check if the clothing you own is enough, if it still looks good and feels comfortable to wear. So, this is a very easy and practical organising tip. The only thing you have to do, to get your families clothes organised for winter is spend one afternoon sorting through the clothes in your house, and then, possibly buying some extra items.

Being proactive or reactive

This brings me to a concept that is used in organising, the concept of being proactive or reactive. Were proactive is preparing for a likely future, like sorting through winter clothes, as the weather will get colder from April onwards. The flip side of being proactive is being reactive, this means you react more to situations as there has been a lack of prior planning. Stephen Covey (the author of the 7 habits of Highly effective people) was onto a good thing when he was talking about being proactive rather than reactive.  When you combine being proactive and reactive with the concept of organising, you are onto something really good. That is, if you are mainly proactive in the way you deal with things in your life. Being proactive is not always easy, especially when you are busy and life is a succession of things to do. We tend to jump over one hurdle, after the other, not giving ourselves that little time to recoup, recover and prepare for the future.

How does it relate to organising?

The concept of being proactive and reactive can be explained by the following story; a proactive thing in relation to organising is to check our clothing requirements for winter in say April. If you on the other hand act like me recently, and wait until the weather gets cold (- my excuse was I was too busy with work to sort the clothes earlier) you might find either yourself very cold all of a sudden. Or in my case, I had this little boy in the back of the car freezing in his shorts, as he had outgrown all his long pants. The result was that one early morning, we needed to buy some winter pants for him. How very ‘organised’! This is a prime example of being reactive rather than proactive. A little time spend looking at the clothes say four weeks earlier would have prevented a last minute rush to the shops. There will of course always be times and instances that we will be reactive to a degree but being proactive makes us more time efficient, cost efficient and it is making day to day live often allot easier.

How can you be more proactive this week?

Column 6, The Illawarra Mercury, 28th of May 2013

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