Human with a pile of books that represent proactive learning

7 Short Principles That Can Help You Get The Most Of Your Work

During the last few decades, scientists have engaged in research that has increased our understanding of human cognition, providing greater insight into how knowledge is organized, how experience shapes understanding, how people monitor their own understanding, how learners differ from one another, and how people acquire expertise. The design of educational programs is always guided by beliefs about how students learn in an academic discipline. Whether explicit or implicit, these ideas affect what students in a program will be taught, how they will be taught, and how their learning will be assessed.

Even extensive research in the field of science and education does not put any solutions in terms of careers when it comes to mature student days or even after graduation period. Many students take time to find their career path, and sometimes it’s hard to work out what kind of job or career is right for you until you try different things.

Laboratory or isolated conditions are time-limited situations that are put in front of students who are forced to solve them. Such tasks have led them to the problem of the inability to perceive a broader picture of the new situations they will face in the outside world.

In this article, you will learn what distinguishes proactive people from others and what are their basic steps they go through iteratively, looking for a new opportunity to prove themselves each time. All 7 key steps—that can help you get the most of your work—are listed in order below.

  1. Do the Pre-Work
  2. Leap into the Unknown
  3. Absorption Technique
  4. Visual Management
  5. Create Productivity Environment
  6. Plan, Execute, Monitor
  7. Fine-Tuning

1. Do the Pre-Work

“Shoot for the Moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars.” – Les Brown.

Having a clear goal gives you something to focus on. It gives you a clear marker in the ground to run for. Goals also help align your focus and promote a sense of self-mastery. In the end, you can’t manage what you don’t measure and you can’t improve upon something that you don’t properly manage, but setting goals can help you do all of that and more.

There are never enough resources to do everything so setting goals can help you to prioritise. Place your resources behind what you really want to do, rather than on things you are doing by default or by deflection.

“Goal setters see future possibilities and the big picture”, says Rick McDaniel in a Huffington Post article. He discusses the important difference between being a goal setter and problem solver, the latter often getting bogged down in roadblocks. “Goal setters”, he says, “are comfortable with risk, prefer innovation, and are energized by change”.

Whether you call it a goal to accomplish or a problem to solve, writing it down is the crucial step. Setting goals is linked with self-confidence, motivation, and autonomy. A 2015 study by psychologist Gail Matthews showed when people wrote down their goals, they were 33 percent more successful in achieving them than those who formulated outcomes in their heads.

I bet you already have the paper and pen ready, but if you don’t you can take a look at our post on top technology trends that will drive the world crazy in 2021.

2. Leap into the Unknown

Once you’ve set a goal, it’s time to take action.

Have you ever paused to consider the ease at which you follow daily, weekly, and annual routines? Most people wake up at the same time, eat similar things for breakfast, wear the same rotation of clothing, arrive at work at the same time, grab lunch with the same people, watch the same shows at night.

Routines like these become so familiar that we often lose track of the fact that we’re just cruising through life. Despite the fact that we live in an enormous universe with seven different continents, nearly 200 different countries, more than 7 billion people, thousands of languages, and hundreds of thousands of unique experiences, we stick to what we know. Then we wonder why we feel stuck, stale, and stagnant.

Some level of fear is always present when we trying something we are unfamiliar with, but you’ll soon realize that your mind exaggerates things, block your from making actions. As an advantage trying new things, you put your brain into unique situations that force it to really think.

This state stimulates creativity, which eventually rubs off in other areas of your life and as a result, you begin to think about everything in a new light.

All you have to do to diminish your fear is to develop more trust in your ability to handle whatever comes your way! Some fear is instinctual and healthy and keeps us alert to trouble. The rest part that holds us back from personal growth is inappropriate and destructive, and perhaps can be blamed on our dissatisfaction.

Fish jumping to another aquarium

3. Absorption Technique

Absorption techniques are techniques that proactive people use to quickly absorb or learn the content needed to capture all the necessary information that a new area you are dealing with requires.

Emotion is the key thing that has a substantial influence on the cognitive processes in humans, including perception, attention, learning, memory, reasoning, and problem solving. Emotion has a particularly strong influence on attention, especially modulating the selectivity of attention as well as motivating action and behavior. This attentional and executive control is intimately linked to learning processes, as intrinsically limited attentional capacities are better focused on relevant information. Emotion also facilitates encoding and helps retrieval of information efficiently.

Substantial evidence has established that emotional events are remembered more clearly, accurately and for longer periods of time than are neutral events. Also mild and acute stress facilitates learning and cognitive performance, while excess and chronic stress impairs learning and is detrimental to memory performance.

“Learning is a strategy you can learn—how can you expect to be great at something when you’ve never been taught how to do it?”, says Jim Kwik, “who was once labeled the “boy with the broken brain” after a severe accident, taught himself how to maximize his learning and retrain his brain”.

There are many ways we can improve learning, but learning using mnemotechnics and emotions creates a cognitive link between information that creates Long-term memory (LTM). Such learning principle allows brain to absorb information at an abnormal level.

4. Visual Management

Once you’ve learned how to learn effectively, it’s time to create the organizational and visualization changes needed to make it easier to keep track of daily commitments. Whether personal or business processes are involved there are many different approaches that can be used.

When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.

So we are representing you a Visual Management as a way of communicating key messages in a visual way that can be interpreted, without much thought, by anyone and everyone. The statistics about how people process visual information are stunning. According to the Visual Teaching Alliance, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the mind than text. Stanford University’s Robert E. Horn, explained, “When words and visual elements are closely entwined, we create something new, and we augment our collective intelligence … visual language has the potential for increasing ‘human bandwidth,’ giving us the capacity to take in, comprehend, and more efficiently synthesize large amounts of new information.”

In terms of improvement, individual dashboards with charts and graphs are a great way to bring improvement work to life. Wallboards help pull people together and ensure that everyone has the same understanding of current conditions.

So, have you ever seen or used a picture worth 60,000 words?

When it comes to organization, To-do lists can be a fundamental part of good time management and successful working habits if used correctly. Humans are flawed, we know this. We also know that we’re very capable of being forgetful at least every once in a while. To-do list is always going to have your back and ensure you are at least aware of everything upcoming in your schedule. There are several great apps you should consider using. Some of them are Trello Board and Todoist both available for phone and PC.

Whiteboard with stickers

5. Create Productivity Environment

It is crucial to take this step after the above steps because of the acquired knowledge needed to take the initiative within the formed team. The independence we have achieved can be used to lead a team, suggest better and more intuitive solutions, propose a handful of different methodologies and principles of problem solving. It is quite certain that we will always look at project tasks from several perspectives and be able to choose the right one.

Choosing and managing a team is not that simple. There will always be a couple of teams you will be disappointed in so don’t give up searching. Leaders have to play a far more hands-on role to make sure the group works well together and remains focused on the right priorities.

If you ask enough top executives about their leadership style, you’re likely to hear a number of them say, “I hire the best people and get out of their way”. It’s a good line that makes sense at a certain level. Hiring the right people is the most important part of building a strong team, of course, and delegating to give people more autonomy is a powerful motivator.

Start building your own team today and boost your overall productivity!

6. Plan, Execute, Monitor

Next step we call PEM actions. These actions provide a more detailed insight into the steps that need to be implemented within the project. So let’s start with the first action.

Create a Plan for executing the project based on the project profile. The plan for developing and tracking the detailed schedule, the procurement plan, and the plan for building the budget, estimating and tracking costs are also developed during the Plan stage. Flowcharts, diagrams, and responsibility matrices are tools to capture the work processes associated with executing the project plan. The first draft of the project procedures manual captures the intuitional knowledge that team members bring to the project. The development and review of these procedures and work processes contribute to the development of the organizational structure of the project.

All of that fun part in the planning phase now gets done in the Executing phase also known as GSD (“getting stuff done”). A lot of tasks during this phase capture project metrics through tasks like status meetings and project status updates, other status reports, etc. A marketing strategy is also being launched at this stage.

Monitoring and controlling happens concurrently with the execution phase and triggers new tasks or adjustments if needed.

As you can guess Plan phase is arguably the most important phase and you don’t want to ruin it.

7. Fine-Tuning

Fine-tuning, in the context of constantly trying new projects and teams, is a key part of self-development. “A little party never killed nobody”, moreover it is necessary to invest time and energy and learn from a series of trial and error.


Nowadays, more and more college students are starting to take advantage of the few years of freedom post-graduation, choosing to pursue other paths instead of jumping right into a nine-to-five, full-time career. Sometimes it’s necessary to separate short-term and long-term plans and not let the uncertainty surrounding your career – which you ultimately want to create – prevent you from taking action. In this post, we have listed the key steps that help people activate and do something about themselves.

Fran Čudina