All of us strive to get the most out of each workday and do our best work despite countless interruptions. We struggle to truly focus on each independent task because of the immense pressure we feel to achieve as much as possible while battling both personal and professional challenges. To help people address these pressures, find meaning and reach their full potential, executive coach and global speaker Jason Womack wrote Your Best Just Got Better aiming to inspire all of us to be the best versions of ourselves. Womack identifies four key ingredients that can help us reach our full potential:
Ingredient No. 1: Make Meaning
• Write your purpose statement. At the end of the day, we’re all here for multiple reasons, and one of those reasons is to make meaning. Identify what you love about your job and why you “do what you do.” Start your purpose statement with “I do what I do so that…” Put this statement somewhere you can see it every day to help inspire you when your energy is low.
Ingredient No. 2: Create Focus
• Identify your Most Important Things (MITs); these are the most valuable and most important projects you need to focus on every day. Thinking about them in the morning and evaluating them at night can inspire purposeful and meaningful work, and help you maintain focus.
• Change your workspace if it impedes your focus. Put time into creating more space and minimizing clutter. Put symbols of success in front of you, such as previously successful pitches and awards.
• Set boundaries around your workday to encourage productivity, focus, and recreation time. If you set these boundaries at the start of the day , you will focus more to get everything done by the time you have to leave.
Ingredient No. 3: Manage Your Energy
• Make a list of 12 things you can do to incorporate relaxation and rejuvenation into your life. Evaluate where you are spending your time and try to design your workflow to allow you to incorporate these into your life.
• For the next week, identify which projects and activities increase and decrease your energy. For example, you may find that you’re tired after meetings, or that taking a walk during lunch gives you the extra boost you need to finish the day productively.
• Track your energy levels throughout the day using a simple tracking sheet (morning, late morning, afternoon, late afternoon) to identify increases and decreases in energy that can help you plan your day and your work accordingly.
Ingredient No. 4: Develop Yourself
• Find new ways to take in information, such as watching an inspiring TED Talk every morning to learn about the world from a fresh perspective.
• Get in touch with people you can learn from in your Ketchum network. Learning from someone who does things differently will help you grow and find work more meaningful.
• Express your gratitude each day, or share your excitement about something a colleague is working on.
Examining and redefining one’s own potential can seem like a daunting task. My hope is that the above serves as a simple recipe you can build upon to create the focus necessary to thrive in any environment, whether at work or at home. After all, one of the truest paths to work-life balance is to cultivate the most mindful and authentic version of yourself to bring to the office every day.