When it comes to our work, most of us long to be a little happier. But changing jobs, changing bosses, or simply finding more joy amid all the tasks on our to-do list often feels beyond our grasp. Many of us are so busy that we are just trying to keep our heads above water. We don’t have the time, let alone energy, to improve our current situation.
I get it. Keeping up with life can be a full-time job. But what if there were a busy-proof way to start doing more of what you do best each day, regardless of what your job description or your boss might say?
Use your strengths
A growing body of research suggests that developing your strengths—the things you’re good at and enjoy doing—can leave you feeling more confident, energized and happy at work. The key I’ve found was to create an 11-minute daily strength development habit by harnessing my brain’s neurological habit loop of cue, routine and reward.
And I’m not alone. With the help of Live Happy and the VIA Institute almost 4,000 people around the world have joined us for the free global Strengths Challenge with many reporting this small daily practice has left them feeling more energized and engaged, respected and valued and feeling like they were flourishing at work. All from just 11-minutes.
But what are the strength development habits that might work best for you?
Here are the five habits that have helped the most people create significant changes in both their performance and wellbeing at work:
- Creativity: When I wake up (cue), I will spend 10 minutes writing out any problems I’m facing as concisely as possible and then list as many possible creative solutions as I can before identifying one to try that day (routine). I will then place a sticker on my reward chart and when full treat myself to a massage (reward).
- Hope: Each morning when I go to get my morning coffee (cue), I’ll take 10 minutes to check in with one of my more hopeful colleagues and see what they’re excited about at the moment (routine). Then I’ll finish my coffee (reward).
- Diligence: When I get to work (cue), I’ll review my to-do list to ensure that I can still deliver on each of the tasks and if changes need to be made, I’ll update all concerned so people know they can trust my word and plan accordingly (routine). My reward will be my morning green tea (reward).
- Love of Learning: When I sit down in front of my computer in the morning (cue) I’ll watch a 10-minute video that teaches me something new (routine) and then post what I’ve learned on social media (reward).
- Social Intelligence: When it’s lunch time (cue) I will sit in the staff room and take the time to have a meaningful conversation with a colleague, by asking genuine questions about how it's going/what’s going well (routine). I’ll celebrate by eating my lunch (reward).
Could a small daily strengths habit help improve your work?
If you’d like some help developing a strengths habit for your work then join us for the next free global Strengths Challenge. Find out more at strengthschallenge.com, where you’ll be guided step-by-step through creating you own 11-minute habit and be given free resources and access to online strengths coaches to help you put your strengths to work.
Michelle McQuaid is a best-selling author and coach with a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.