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What do you want out of your daily worklife?


Two Important Questions

Seemingly simple, whenever I’ve paused to ask myself these questions I get profound results.

If you haven’t asked them of yourself in the last couple of years (or ever), then now is a great time.

What do you want out of your daily and long-term worklife?

No really. If you set aside the shoulds and expectations from others (and yourself), what do you want? How do you want things to be? How do you want to feel? What do you want to accomplish? How does this relate to your values? How does this relate to your responsibilities (current and expected)? And how do you reconcile wants that conflict across time or across priorities?

It can be daunting to ponder that level of freedom. After the years of letting ourselves be (intentionally and unintentionally) conditioned by family, society, etc. it can be a bit disorienting.

If you get stuck or feel too overwhelmed, turn your attention to the second important question.

What do you NOT want in your daily and long-term worklife?

Ooooh. I bet right off the bat you can list five things that zap your energy in your current situation.

  • If you had a magic wand, what would be different?
  • If you were going to leave your job, what would be dealbreakers in your new one?
  • Where are you sacrificing your worklife vitality?
  • How are your values getting stepped on?


1. Take at least a month to let your answers percolate.

It can be helpful to keep two running documents/lists going for you to jot down ideas as they come to you. Perhaps you set aside 20-30 minutes each weekend to review, revise, and add to your answers separately.

2. Synthesize your responses.

Once you’ve hit a week or two with no new insights or additions, look for themes across your two documents/lists. Often you’ll have the same thing written on each list, one in its positive form and one in it’s opposite form (e.g., wanting to have energy left over at the end of the work day and not wanting to be in 7+ hours of meetings per day since it drains you). In addition to themes, what else stands out to you?

3. Make an action plan.

Given what you’ve reflected on, ask yourself “what needs to change in my kingdom”? Make as long of a list as you like. Then chose 1-3 things that you will act on in the near term and do some informal planning for each thing.

4. Make one change.

Choose one thing to proceed with acting upon and go for it.

5. Let me know how it is going.

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