When was the last time you felt really energized and excited about your work? A few hours ago? A few years ago? When it comes to enjoying our work, some days are clearly better than others.
But what if you could find something to enjoy every day in your job?
Show your strengths
Last year Live Happy, the VIA Institute and I helped more than 2,000 people around the world to create an 11-minute daily strength habit to see if this made it possible to be happier at work.
While there is a growing body of evidence about the benefits of developing our strengths—those things we’re good at and enjoy doing—the truth is, most of us struggle to find the time to fit it in. So we tried to shrink the time needed make developing your strengths busy-proof by harnessing the brain’s neurological habit loop of cue, routine and reward. It turned out that just 11 minutes each day of doing what they did best each day was enough to help many participants feel more engaged, energized and flourishing at work.
New habits that take eleven minutes or less
Here are some of the most popular daily strengths habits people tried during the one week global Strengths Challenge:
- Curiosity: Learning one new thing each day—When I turn on my computer (cue), I will spend 10 minutes reading something new and make a note of what I learn (routine). I will then open my emails (who knows what’s in there!) (reward).
- Creativity: Finding fresh solutions—When I sit down for my morning coffee (cue), I’ll spend 10 minutes brainstorming as many ideas, solutions, possibilities to a problem or opportunity our team is facing (routine). I’ll share the best three ideas with another team member (reward).
- Fairness: Being fair to others—When reviewing my schedule each morning (cue), I’ll look for one thing I can do today to make life a little easier for my colleagues or a client (routine). Then I’ll grab my morning coffee (reward).
- Gratitude: Creating a daily gratitude habit—When I pack up to go home (cue), I’ll take a few minutes to thank someone for how they made my day a little better or easier (routine). Then I’ll go home (reward).
- Perseverance: Delivering what matters most—Each morning when I complete my daily planner (cue), I will prioritize the three goals I most need to accomplish (routine). I will tick these off as I go (reward).
If you gave yourself the gift of just 11 minutes a day to just a little more of what you do best, what might your habit look like?
For more information, go to strengthschallenge.com.
Michelle McQuaid is a best-selling author and coach with a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.