What does it take to love your work? A strong focus on structure. 

Structure your work so that you do what you love. The Figure below highlights the sequence of organising, prioritising and digitising work. Organise your work to maximise your best skills and abilities.  Prioritise your work so that you achieve what’s most important. Digitise processes to support what you are trying to achieve.

The first step is to align your work with your purpose through Job crafting it so that your strengths, motivations and passions shine. Explicitly organise your work responsibilities so that you can perform at your best. And help others do the same.

Second, prioritise your work. Don’t let the whirlwind of too much to do and not enough time to do it in overwhelm you. Keep your priorities clear, at the front and centre of your attention. The Four disciplines method helps you to do just that.

Thirdly, digitise. The sudden shift to remote work in 2020 meant we had to rely on digital as never before. There was a lot of learning in that, and we’ve made a few mistakes along the way. One of which has been to let digital be the priority.  Instead, structure your use of your digital tools to enable, not undermine, getting the important work done.

How does Job crafting work? It has a positive influence on Psychological Capital which in turn positively affects both job satisfaction and career success, measured as promotions over time.

Psychological Capital is defined as a combination of self-efficacy, optimism, resilience and hope:

  • Self-efficacy – the confidence to take on and succeed at challenging tasks
  • Optimism – the positive expectation that you will succeed
  • Resilience – the ability to bounce back and succeed when faced with problems or setbacks
  • Hope – the degree of perseverance in pursuing goals and redirecting actions if and as necessary to succeed.

The key influence of Job crafting is via personal agency. People are able to creatively adapt their job to their needs, goals and preferences. That impacts on their perception of job demands and job resources. Overall people are able to achieve their personal goals and to adjust their work to get a better person-job fit.

Hack your structure

To increase your flexAbility, and help you to love your work, create a firm structure that allows you to organise what needs to be done, prioritise so that you do what’s most important, and use digital tools to make work easier to do.

  1. Craft your job; align it with your responsibilities, and with your strengths, passions and motivations.
  2. Ruthlessly assess your existing meetings, cut out the fat and set up a cadence of meetings that matter most.
  3. Prioritise your work using the Four Disciplines. Make sure you get the cut through you need.
  4. Use digital tools to make collaborative work easier and more engaging.

I’m working on my next book: FlexAbility: how high achievers beat burnout and find freedom in an overworked world, and this is an excerpt from it.

In a world where overwork remains an expectation for knowledge workers, flexible work is a pipe-dream. No matter how flexibly you are able to work, whether from home or the office, whether you can choose when you start and finish, is pretty much irrelevant to managing the expectation of overwork that you face daily.

What should you do? If your organisation isn’t one of the few who are taking overwork seriously (no matter their flexible work policies), then you need to hack yourself. A personal reset might not change the bigger picture, but you can’t afford to wait around for that to happen. You need a better way to navigate your world, and you need it now.

The heart of your reset is not flexibility – where and when you work – it’s what I call flexAbility – why and how you work.  Flexibility is how the system operates, FlexAbility is how you operate yourself in this demanding system.

Stay tuned for more information, and in the meantime, check out my whitepapers that help you to be more flexAble here.

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