I was staring down multiple deadlines. What was stressing me out though, was one client to whom I owed a proposal.

It had been a few days since they emailed their request, but I didn’t have the proposal ready. In fact, I hadn’t started. Was I blowing it? It was important, but other stuff was more urgent. Ack!

And then, in a moment of simple wisdom, I dashed off a short two-line note saying something like, “I’m working on your proposal, I’ll have it with you as soon as I can.” (Maybe it was actually a one-line email!)

The client responded quickly with a “Thanks!

I relaxed, and I prepped the proposal over the next couple of days, quite stress-free. The whole situation went quite smoothly.

And it made me recognize the importance of a very simple thing that can make your work life easier: overcommunicating.

No, I’m not saying that all your texts and emails should be longwinded. Not at all.

I’m saying you have the option of proactively reaching out in advance of someone nudging you for a response.

And you can offer up thoughts and input without being asked.

You can let people know you’re going to be late before you’re already 15 minutes past the appointment time.

And so on.

To be honest, this is still something I need to work on. And I continue to practice it. But recognizing that I have the option of communicating proactively has been really helpful lately.