How to Work Your Best: Step 1

bizladies_how_you_work As part of writing my previous post about figuring out a career versus a calling, I came across this awesome exercise for discovering how you work best, courtesy of Design*Sponge.

It involves three steps:

  1. Think about what gives you energy, and what doesn't.
  2. Look for patterns related to time of day, day of the week, type of activity, people involved, etc.
  3. Make a plan.

I decided to turn mine into a blog post, naturally, starting with step one.

Describe 3 activities you undertook today that left you feeling recharged and energized.

  • Getting enough sleep the night before. I often think I'm fine on five or less hours of sleep, but I notice a huge difference when it's more like 6-8 hours.
  • Working on my own timeline, at my desk, based on my own to-do list of deadlines and priorities.
  • Making time to read and write on a personal level.
  • Teaching yoga or at least getting to my own mat. (Okay, that's four, but still.)

Describe 3 activities you undertook today that left you feeling depleted, flat and like you need to retreat.

  • Meetings and conference calls. Oh my god. I hate meetings. I feel antsy and tired and annoyed in most of them. I just want to go work and move on.
  • Multitasking too much. I'm getting a little better at this, though. I turned off email notifications and I'm better about not leaving Gchat or my phone up and running at all times. I get easily distracted and that depletes my creative energy really fast, even though I like switching gears. I always think I'm more productive doing lots of things at once, and sometimes I am, but energy-wise, it's a killer.
  • Small talk with coworkers. I know, I'm awful. As an introvert, sometimes I come off as standoffish or unwelcoming or rude, but really I'm just in my own head listening and thinking. I've realized with other jobs how negatively this can impact the vibe of a work family, though, and so I try really hard to set aside time to chatting and getting to know colleagues (energy-building!) as opposed to the ambushed, run-away feeling I get when someone wants to chat by the copier or my cubicle.
  • Sitting for too long. (I had to do four to match the first list.)

List 3 things you can do tomorrow to bring more of the list that fills you up into your day.

  • Easy. Go to bed instead of staying up to watch another episode of something on Hulu. Set my own priorities proactively instead of reactively making choices based on email. Make time to read and write, even for 15-30 minutes each (I always fail to do this; even though it is a top priority, I always think I can push it to the back burner). Practice or teach yoga.

List 3 things you can do tomorrow to bring less of the list that depletes you into your day.

  • Cancel meetings and conference calls whenever possible. (Not in a "I'm bailing on this sense," but asking, "Is it productive for me to be in this meeting? Do I have to be in it? Do I have anything to contribute? Do I need to be on this call?") Focus on one thing at a time by setting aside calendar time, shutting down distractions. Focus on the positive aspects of talking with coworkers (I don't think I should bring less of this into my day, just shift my mentality a bit). Move around by switching environments or just walking around the office.

Prioritize the list above – what’s the number 1 thing you can do tomorrow to feel more energized?

Put down the Hulu/Kindle/iPhone. GET ENOUGH SLEEP. 

Join me for Step 2 tomorrow!