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  • Writer's pictureSusan & Renée

Do this One Thing and You Will Find Out What Makes You Happy at Work


We will start off saying you should read this entire book:


Designing Your Work Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans.


If you are in any type of transition at work this is a must read.


To whet your appetite, we are going to share one of their tools that helps you fully understand what engages, energizes and puts you in a state of “flow” at work.


The Basic Principle: By observing and recording your thoughts, emotions and behaviors at work, you gain an awareness of what is working at work and what is not. This awareness is the foundation for making work life decisions.


The Process: This observational process has a structure to it to maximize its usefulness. It involves logging your work activities during the day. These activities can be of any level of importance; from that big meeting where you presented your project updates to bringing donuts to the office. At the end of the day, take a moment to reflect and answer the three questions below. Burnett and Evans created a Good Work Life Journal Worksheet to capture your answers. This allows you to start to see patterns in your work life.


The 3 essential questions are:


What did I learn?: “To feel like your work is working for you, the science says you have to be learning something every day. So notice every day what you learn.”


What did I initiate? “When you take it upon yourself to initiate an action, a change, or a new way of doing something, you satisfy what psychologists call “innate need” and these needs are uniquely human. And when you are getting your innate needs met you feel like you have more control of your world.”


Who did I help? “And just like our intrinsic need for initiation, humans have intrinsic motivation toward what psychologists call “relatedness”. We call it being helpful.”


They suggest logging your daily activities for 3-4 weeks. At the end of each week, ask yourself, “What did I notice? Are there any surprises?”


If you see gaps in one of the categories, make a plan to boost your learning, initiating or helping in the next week and observe how that intervention made you feel.


No matter the size of the action, if you start learning more things, initiating more actions and helping others, it is very likely you will notice your satisfaction with work growing.


You can find the Good Work Journal Worksheet, along with the entire Designing Your Worklife Workbook here.


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