When was the last time you checked in on the direction of your career? When was the last time you took stock of how much time you are spending doing the things you love to do? Are you heading towards the things you love to do or has your position pulled you away from those high energy activities?
In our busy work days, we rarely have time to reflect on what is energizing us most in our work days and what is draining us. I encourage people to take stock of these two areas on a regular basis. There is a simple strategy for checking in on your direction.
For one week, take inventory in a simple journal activity. Create a two column journal entry. One column called Energizers and the other called Drainers. At the end of your work day, take 3-5 minutes to jot down what energized you and what drained you. Do this for five days. Be sure to notice the difference between a drainer activity and “good tired”. In good tired activities you might feel exhausted and yet you were energized doing the activity. In good tired activities the time flies by; you don’t even notice the clock. Draining activities plod along, time moves slowly and you may even have good avoidance strategies for these activities.
Once you have your two column list completed with 15-20 items in each list, take a moment to look for themes. What are the themes that show up most frequently in your energizing list? How much time in your week are you spending in those energizing activities? Next, notice the themes of your draining activities and look at your calendar for time spent on those tasks.
The next step is to think through these questions:
- How can I arrange my schedule so I spend more time in energizing activities each day?
- When in my day do I need to have energizing activities to pick me up?
- When in my day do I have the patience for more draining activities?
- Is my career heading towards a pathway of spending more time with energizing activities or less?
This simple activity helped me to point my career towards spending more time in higher energy activities. I regularly adjust my calendar to make sure I’m scheduling high energy activities every week. It takes commitment but it can make a big difference.
Recently, I met with a client that was very depleted. We took inventory of her day using this strategy and discovered that while she was spending some time in energizing activities, she was missing one of the greatest energizers of her career….working with children. She had been promoted to a leadership role and was no longer working with children at all. Together we worked to identify ways she could strategically spend more time with children since that was the greatest source of energy for her career. It’s a work in progress but she’s determined to spend more time in this high energy activity. She, the children and the organization will benefit from this decision.
What are your high energy activities? How could you carve out more time in your schedule to ensure you are spending time doing what you love every day? What’s one step you can take this week to create time for high energy activities?
Perhaps you already spend a lot of time doing what you love, if so, congratulations! Reach out to a colleague and help her/him spend more time in an energizing activities.
Enjoy the ride. Energizing activities help us gallup towards our career goals.