(2-minute read, plus playtime)
Welcome to Spring.
Optimism in the air. Businesses across the country are reopening and travel restrictions are beginning to ease. Employment rose by over 900,000 jobs in March. This is, of course, good news for job seekers. It is equally good news for the many more of us who remain in our current roles.
We’ve spent the better part of a year navigating, pivoting, zooming, re-balancing (life and work) and adjusting to a dramatically changed world. It’s made most of us simply tired of grinding through To-Do lists while juggling all the other facets of our lives. With so many distractions it’s easy to lose sight of why we love the work we do.
So, for all of us in need of an “I love my job” reboot, here are three ways to embrace the optimism of the season and fall back in love with your work.
Consider Frozen Sushi From Walmart
Two years ago, I would have said with certainty that I would NEVER eat frozen sushi from Walmart. Having spent the past year in a sushi desert, I’ll now tell you I’m a fan.
The learning here, for me, was to check your dogma at the door, make some white space and ask myself WHY I wouldn’t consider trying something new?
Asking “why?” rekindles curiosity and the sense of exploration that perhaps drew you to your field. Each day, ignite your curiosity by looking at your To-Do list and filter each item through these questions;
Why am I doing this task this way?
What are other groups associated with this task?
Who else can I collaborate with?
How will this work benefit our client, customer or me?
Small changes in how you think about and execute tasks or the addition of a new collaborator boosts both energy and productivity. Associating your work with improving the life of a colleague or client lends heightened purpose to the task.
Asking “why” invites new ideas and breaks down the routines that lead to boredom and burnout.
Play with Legos
With job creation and business optimism comes an appetite for new ideas. Many organizations are prioritizing learning and development to reskill and upskill current staff. Now is a great time to proactively address this trend by revisiting your goals and prioritizing learning and professional development. In short, spend some time job crafting.
With much of our time focused on screens, we are doing fewer and fewer tactile activities. Playing with Legos can help. Playing engages both sides of the brain opening neural pathways and encouraging new ideas to form. So, get out your Legos (if you don’t have Legos, Post-it notes work well). Here’s the activity,
Make two piles of Legos. In one pile label the pieces with the skills you currently have. In the second pile, with a different colored pen, label the pieces with the skills and competencies you want to learn. Combine and recombine the pieces to build new sets of roles and responsibilities, asking yourself
What if I put X skill with Y competency?
What new roles would that open for me?
What do I need to learn to be considered for that role?
A job crafting exercise, especially in a dynamic world, helps you think expansively about your work.
Setting your sights on future roles hopefully reacquaints you with the occupation you love.
Go on a first date
We’ve been home for over a year and we’re constantly busy. It’s hard to find the time, and sometimes the energy, to connect individually with coworkers. An easy way to better connect with colleagues is by starting conversations with first-date questions.
Asking questions like “what’s the most fascinating book you’ve read lately?”, or “what’s the first trip you want to make, post-pandemic?”, gives you lots of insight into the other person. You’ll learn about their personality, preferences, and interests and may find that you have things in common.
Conversation Starters World has a list of 160 first-date questions you can build into meetings and Zoom calls. These are handy for quickly building connections, especially if, as you revisit how you execute daily tasks, you bring in new colleagues for input and advice.
Connecting individually with coworkers and reimagining routine tasks makes things more interesting and fulfilling.
By drawing on your natural curiosity and creativity you can open a new set of possibilities and fall back in love with work.
When you’re in love, everything feels within your reach.
Thanks for reading!
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You can also check out Forbes.com/CFO blog where I write about communicating with and motivating teams.