“Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.”
– James M. Barrie
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Does your work fuel and excite you? Do you wake up enthusiastic about the day ahead? Do you move through your schedule effortlessly? Or, are you on the other side of the spectrum, tired and drained and continually checking the time to “check-out” for the day? We are not created to drift through life working in areas that do not ignite enthusiasm deep within us. But so often, we find our path has drifted and shifted and what we once enjoyed, no longer provides sparks. Whether through role changes or our own changes, it is helpful to “audit” our energy for greater joy and performance in our life’s work.
As unique human beings with differing gifts, values, personalities and stories, we are inspired, energized and motivated by different activities. While some of us are creative and inspired by innovation and vision, others enjoy and excel at administration. The key to working in an environment that fuels us. optimizing our performance and joy, is to focus on activities that are both high-impact and energy charging.
Energy is the dynamic quality that emerges at the intersection of using our gifts, having inspiration for our work, and living within the framework of our values. Inspiration for our work arises when we find deep meaning in our work and believe in the difference we are making. This inspirational energy pulls us towards our purpose.
“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
HOW IS YOUR ENERGY AT WORK?
We often procrastinate on those activities that drain our energy, while prioritizing those that excite us. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle and have healthy intentions, but our daily tasks and time allotment may no longer be optimally allocated due to a variety of factors. This is when we may want to “audit” our energy to see how we can best reallocate our activities. You will be amazed at your findings!
If you find yourself disengaged, lacking joy at work and avoiding certain priorities, it may be because you are focused on tasks that are low-impact and energy draining. On the flip side, if your energy is high and work exhilarating, you are probably operating in the high-impact, energy charging mode most of the time. In fact, it is likely that your gifts, values and inspiration are aligned with your activities. Imagine four quadrants as shown below:
The upper two quadrants are those activities that charge and fuel our energy, allowing us to feel most in the “zone.” Some of those activities may be lower impact than others, however. The best use of our time is spent on activities that both fuel us and ignite our gifts to make the largest impact for ourselves and organization.
The bottom two quadrants drain our energy. They may be impactful but are not the best fit for our strengths and passion and thus have a draining effect. I am personally drained by any type of administrative activity. They fall in the low impact and energy draining quadrant.
Our goal is to operate in the high impact and energy charging quadrant most of the time. When we are flowing in our gifts and working on what inspires us, we are operating from a place of high-impact and joy. This is when we will optimize our performance and well-being and feel energized at work.
3 STRATEGIES TO REBALANCE YOUR ENERGY:
- Review your typical daily activities: Rate them as to whether they energize or drain you and consider if they are high-impact or low-impact. Notice which activities easily distract you. Notice whether you feel driven or drained. Pay attention to your energy shifts as you move from one task to another. Take notes and place each activity in one of the four quadrants. The goal is to operate at a place of high-impact and energy most of the time.
- Explore your options: What activities are low impact and can be delegated to someone else? What activities are no longer relevant and can be deleted? What activities need a “reinvention?” What do you find the most joy in doing? What would your “perfect” workday look like that would optimize your flow? How can you maximize both the organizational goals and your energy?
- Use the 80/20 rule: Do not spend too much time trying to perfect the 80% of your tasks that don’t need to be. We often waste precious time, energy, and productivity when we are focused on perfection. High achievers struggle with perfectionist tendencies. Using the 80/20 rule will help minimize those tendencies.
Finally, spend five minutes planning each day and consider the above strategies to help you optimize your energy for each day. When we build daily habits into our system, we have a higher chance of staying on course. Be curious. How can you best serve others today? How can you best serve yourself?
Continue to explore ways to improve your energy until you have reached the flow state. We will never have the perfect equilibrium of working in high impact areas that fuel us, but we can make great strides to be in the “zone.” When we do, we will notice an increase in our joy and overall well-being.
“To find joy in your work is to discover the fountain of youth.”
– Pearl S. Buck
Follow us for tips on leadership, well-being, purpose, faith, and more: Inspired Success: Overview | LinkedIn.
Cynthia Legg, CPA, ACC Founder of Inspired Success, is a certified executive level leadership, purpose-centered and faith-based coach and facilitator. A retired partner in a regional CPA firm, she helps leaders, teams, and individuals achieve greater purpose and impact and take their team and organization higher. Whether through coaching, facilitation or strategic planning, she helps her clients to enjoy the journey of success as much as the destination of success. She loves working with individuals and organizations pivoting to a new level of significance.