Five Tips for Being More Proactive at Work

These tips for being more proactive at work will help you achieve your goals, improve your skills, and generally perform better, both during your work hours and your personal time.
Five Tips for Being More Proactive at Work
Cristian Muñoz Escobar

Written and verified by the psychologist Cristian Muñoz Escobar.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

Being more proactive at work isn’t an easy task, since you must possess both the will and the desire to do so. Nevertheless, this attitude is one of the most demanded by the labor market. It all depends on how well the relationship between you and your work environment corresponds.

When you’re proactive, your work goals become more feasible and your path to career advancement and the achievement of your personal goals is clearer. Here are five tips for being more proactive at work.


Proactivity is the ability to take control and anticipate positive and negative events. It helps you make assertive decisions using effective tactics to achieve a pre-established strategy.

If you’re proactive, you take responsibility for your actions and assume them with maturity. You’re not overly affected by your work environment and only take from it what you need to be productive. Furthermore, you put aside any type of excuse that tarnishes your performance and only accept proposals that are faithful to your professional cause.

The enemies to proactive work

There are certain obstacles that hinder proactive work. Naturally, if you’re responsible and hard-working and like to perform well in your tasks, you won’t exhibit any of them.

However, it’s worth knowing about the kinds of negative behaviors that prevent people from being proactive at work:

  • Feeling conflicted.
  • Being a know-it-all.
  • Imposing their authority on others.
  • Taking credit for others’ work.
  • Being reluctant to surpass themselves.
  • Constantly complaining about work.
  • Being unpleasant in the work environment.
  • Always arriving late at work.
  • Responding with lies to any situation.
  • Talking about the personal lives of co-workers.
  • Not being responsible for the consequences of their mistakes at work.
  • Being irresponsible with regards to the tasks or goals to be achieved, according to the demands of their position.
  • Not having or not wanting to know the necessary skills to work in a team.
Bored woman at work
Boredom, rumination, and worry are great enemies of proactivity.

How to be more proactive at work

It’s not easy to be proactive. In fact, it’s an attitude you often need to learn. With the following five tips, you’ll be able to polish your skills and perform more effectively in your tasks, according to the demands of your position.

1. Be organized and orderly

Your memory isn’t enough to keep your work organized and in order. Therefore, make a list of priority tasks and those that can wait. Then, you’ll be more attentive to your work.

You can’t control your working hours as you please, because unforeseen events often consume both the company’s time and yours. However, this tip will help you adapt to the unexpected and prevent, or at least minimize, future inconveniences as much as possible. The key is in managing the times of your work and personal life.

Also, don’t forget to have your workstation neat and tidy. This will help you to have everything to hand and will facilitate the organization and categorization of your tasks, purposes, and goals to be fulfilled.

2. Be positive, but not naive

You shouldn’t tell yourself that negativity is always bad and that it won’t get you anywhere. However, you must keep in mind the cause of your negativity so you can find a way to process it.

This is the first step to being positive. After all, you’re not positive just because you have positive thoughts, even though this is the unrealistic and naive idea that you’re often sold.

You must engage in critical thinking, reflection, daring (only when you consider it necessary), and prudence. This is the foundation for overcoming your negative thoughts and transforming them into positive ones.

If you think about it, this tip doesn’t only concern being more proactive at work, it also helps improve your physical and mental well-being. Furthermore, it helps to solve any unexpected situations that might arise in your life.

3. Be practical

Commit to your ideas and be consistent with them. Indeed, being practical is a necessary skill for working in a team. It’s also one of the main qualities of a leader.

4. Analyze the problem and look for smart solutions

When some unforeseen event arises, don’t focus on the problem, focus on the solution. This step requires you to carry out what we mentioned in the second tip: be positive, but not naive.

As we mentioned earlier, you should be critical and reflective and know when to be bold and when to be cautious. This will depend on how you view the problem to be solved.

Finally, it goes without saying that you should try to anticipate possible setbacks, relying not only on your experience but also on that of others. This guideline is the basis for making assertive decisions and being better prepared for problems.

man thinking
Being proactive means focusing on how to fix the problem.

5. Physical and emotional health

This is the most important tip of all. To achieve good physical and mental health, you must be self-aware. The immediate consequence of this state is emotional homeostasis. It allows you to have control over your life and, therefore, your work.

With regard to the resource of time, when you reach the state of emotional homeostasis, you’ll know how to optimize your schedule to the maximum, both for your work and personal life.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Facione, P. (2007). Pensamiento Crítico:¿ Qué es y por qué es importante. Insight assessment22, 23-56.
  • León, F. R. (2014). Sobre el pensamiento reflexivo, también llamado pensamiento crítico. Propósitos y representaciones2(1), 161-214.
  • López, V. (2017). El empresario proactivo: Mejora tus resultados ayudando a tus clientes. Profit Editorial.
  • Salessi, S. & Omar, A. (2017). Comportamientos proactivos en el trabajo: una puesta al día. Revista Argentina de Ciencias del Comportamiento, 9(3), 82-103.
  • Zapata, C. (2020). La Comunicación en el lugar de trabajo: todo lo que necesita saber sobre estrategias de comunicación eficaz en el trabajo para ser un mejor líder. Roland Bind.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.