Mondays can be rough – your super fun weekend has come to a close, it’s probably raining, your coffee is suspiciously less caffeinated. And then there’s work. We don’t all have the optimistic cheer that the 7 Dwarfs displayed as they whistled to work each morning…especially on Mondays. For many of us, that Case of the Mondays eventually fades away though, and we begin to enjoy our work week because we actually enjoy what we do. But what if that’s not you? What if you're beginning to notice you're working 5 Mondays A Week?
It is incredibly common to find yourself experiencing the “Love My Job, Hate My Job” cycle every now and then. Busier times of the year, “interesting” colleagues, new management – all of these factors can drastically influence your day to day professional grind. But, if you find yourself in a perpetual state of restlessness and discontent in your work, it might be time to begin evaluating how your position plays to your Strengths.
1. What, exactly, do you do?
Make a list of all of your job responsibilities to date. Seriously, list them out. Then, divide that list into 3 categories: Low Energy, Moderate Energy, or High Energy.
Low Energy – These are the tasks that you have no natural energy to accomplish. They cause you stress, possibly anxiety, and you just flat-out don’t enjoy them.
Moderate Energy – The tasks in this category would be the “I don’t love them, but I don’t mind them” responsibilities. They don’t cause you stress; they’re just fillers in your day that keep the paycheck coming.
High Energy – These, obviously, are the tasks that you LOVE about your job (i.e. probably the reason you applied for the position in the first place). They are the items on your to-do list that you usually address first…because you love them.
2. Who, exactly, are you?
What Strengths make you, you? If you have taken the Gallup StrengthsFinder Assessment, your Top 5 results are your starting point! (If you have no idea what I’m talking about when I reference your Top 5, let’s chat.) Really focus on your Strengths for a minute. Are you relationship focused – do you absolutely need to be working around people all day? Are you, maybe, process oriented – do you love mental challenges and analytics? These are just two types of reflection questions to get you started. Together, what do your Strengths say about how you spend your time processing the world around you? (BTW, this is where having a Coach could be VERY useful.)
3. How, exactly, do your Strengths intertwine with what you do?
Place your divided task list and your Strengths list side by side.
High Energy – When looking at your High Energy list, it should be pretty obvious how those tasks compliment your Strengths…that’s why you love those responsibilities so much!
Moderate Energy – Now review your Moderate Energy list. The fact that you don’t mind these tasks means that they aren’t in complete opposition to how you think and interact with others. That’s GREAT news. With some small fine-tuning, you can begin to move these action items over to your High Energy list. For example, if you’re a competitive person, can you make some tasks on this list a competition with others? If you love being around people, can you schedule short meetings instead of long email chains?
Low Energy – And finally, the Low Energy list. This is the game changer (and where having a short-term coach can be very helpful). Like the items on the Moderate Energy list, take time to see if these tasks can be altered to fit your Strengths. And, weight the tasks in this section as well – are these items ones that are vitally important in your position, or are they small responsibilities that you just can’t stand? If the responsibilities in your Low Energy column consumer the vast majority of your job, it might be time to find a coach or trusted friend to evaluate this career crossroads.
This exercise should function as a piece of your investigative puzzle, not the end-all solution. It’s a great starting point in evaluating your current professional experience, whether you’re experiencing 5 Mondays a week or 5 Fridays. And as always, flourishing starts with you.