Thinking over your career to-date, what was your favorite job? What about that job made it your favorite? Perhaps you liked the ability to use a specific skill set, the work environment, interactions with your co-workers, etc. Maybe you don’t have one favorite job. Instead, ask yourself, what did you like best about each of the jobs you have had?
Favorite Career Activities
When I did this exercise, some of my answers were:
- helping people learn
- training and instructing
- problem solving
- influencing positive process improvements
- helping employees strengthen their skills
- building relationships
- making connections
- creating something new
- creating methodologies
- creating a culture
This list helped me identify how I really like to spend my time. I then compared it to the work I was currently doing. Was I doing the kind of work that gave me energy, the kind of work I loved to do? The answer was “yes” and “no”. I was able to quickly identify the areas that didn’t give me energy and how much time I was spending in those areas as a little career management test.
Less Time on Least Favorite Activities
The next step was the tough part – how could I do less of the things that don’t give me energy and spend more time on things that do? There were obviously some activities that, no matter what, I personally had to continue doing. Luckily those activities don’t require me to spend a large portion of my time on.
For the ones that required more time, I had to ask the questions: Could they be delegated to someone else? If the answer is no, how could I change the work so that I might enjoy it more? If the answer to that is “I’m unable to”, how do I make a plan to move into a different role that includes more of the things I want to do?
You might not be able to make big changes quickly, but likely you can make some small, immediate changes that give you more energy. Then use this momentum to begin creating a longer-term plan to do more of the work you want to be doing.