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Our work preferences matter.
Some of us spend so much time accommodating the working needs of others that we neglect to notice or extend that same accommodation to ourselves.
Others, spend so much time accommodating themselves (sometimes at the expense of others) that they don’t realize others aren’t offering up their best work.
I have a framework that helps you go through a personal reflection exercise to figure out your quirks, your preferences, and your personal needs when it comes to performing at your peak.
I offer a few questions and stories in this episode, but you can download the Personal Performance Factors Framework in the show notes of this episode at https://www.moveyourdesk.com
Episode 97 Show Notes
- Flow – The Psychology of Optimal Performance by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Episode 97 Transcript
This is Rebecca Clark Episode 97. Personal Performance Factors Framework This podcast is for anyone that knows they haven’t yet found and offered up their best work but are compelled to seek it out and do it. Are you ready to move your desk? The moment that I’m recording this podcast is perfect because as I embark on a short episode to talk to you about how important personal performance factors are to doing your best work, I suddenly here hammering in the background because there’s some new construction nearby and they’ve suddenly decided that this is the moment they air going. Thio literally attack the roof with nails. I don’t know if you can hear it, but I’m okay if you do, because it proves part of my point and that we all have different factors that help us perform our best work. And that’s different for all of us. For some, the hammering of nails would be perfect, and for me it would be perfect if it wasn’t in this moment of recording, right? So it depends on what work you’re doing at the moment and what you hope to accomplish, because when you’re recording something, most of the time. You don’t want to have all of these other external noises, but in another moment it might feed your energy. It might inspire you to go. You know what? There’s a lot of dizziness around me. I’m just going to go within and think of all these ideas, and I just I’m going to have a great time. Brainstorming As all this commotion is going on so often, I think many of us disregard what our best personal performance factors might be. We may be complaining about them, subconsciously or outwardly, to others, but how often do we say, Hey, I want to take a look thes and set myself up for success. Now I’ve talked in past episodes about how important the desk is, because sometimes we get glued to the desk and don’t think we can do our work elsewhere. Or some people are quick to remove themselves from the desk and can’t quite find the right spot for themselves. You even take a look at the desk and whether it’s a standing desk or one that’s flexible to go up and down, or if it’s a desk that’s too low. All of these things do matter, and sometimes we subconsciously realize it matters. But we don’t take the time to do something about it so that we can perform our best work. And if we’re really wanting to perform our best work, we do get to pay attention to what works for us and what does not. I noticed this a few years ago in the Cube farm, right. We’ve got this perfectly new cube farm that was designed and created by people that weren’t going to have to work with us, right? Eso most of us that lived in the Cube farm hadn’t been part of the actual planning of it and weren’t asked, How do you best do your work? What do you think would be a good idea? Instead, external consultants were asked, and then it was planned and strategized with people that were going to remain in offices and that weren’t going to be living in the Cube farm. And so there’s a lot of things they didn’t realize about how this would impact our personal performance. And of course, each individual is different, so it’s going to impact us differently. I noticed that I had a really great day one day in that cube farm, and I sat back to ask myself Why? And I took, notes writes. I’m looking at the notes right now that I took a long time ago. I loved it because there was noise in the Cube farm, but no one was interrupting me, right, So his background noise, you could feel the energy of things going on. I also enjoyed it because all of my morning meetings were canceled. So I was able to focus even with the noise on a few important tasks. And I really dug into the details on some things I needed to accomplish. Another reason was someone asked for my opinion about an important decision through email after lunch, I was able to interact with some colleagues and share some information that they needed from me. I had time to clean out my email inbox, and I even posted a few things on the company. Blawg and I provided mentoring to a designer that had questions about our standards and processes. That sounds like a pretty good day, but I didn’t have that day every day. Most days I came in and there’s meetings back to back some of them were in the Cube farm. Some of them were in a separate locations. Some of them were on conference calls in the Cube farm, and all of these things impact our personal performance. So, for example, a few years after this moment where I recorded this great day, we were in a different cube farm, a temporary cube farm set up because our building had issue. So they moved us to a smaller building and we were set up all in this huge room. And my cube was right at the corner where everybody would go to the bathroom or to the break room, or to go talk to the leadership team at the time. And I sat at that corner right while I was managing 62 projects. So not only did I have constant online meetings, but I had constant interruptions and I’d constant people flashing by my cue. But I was never sure if they’re standing there walking by. And it was just a constant interruption to the work, and my anxiety levels went through the roof sitting in that spot. It was an absolutely horrible spot for me. Now I realized that even though It was warm outside. There was WiFi. So I tried to go outside as much as possible to sit under a pavilion and do my work. But once you’re sitting outside at a table in the warmth, anyone walking by, it’s going to stop to say, Hey, how you doing? Hey, I’ve got this problem. Let’s talk. We’re outside of the Cube farm. Let’s address it now and so that increase the interruptions. And so no matter what I seem to do in that environment, it wasn’t ideal. And luckily, I had a little bit of flexibility to sometimes go home and tell a work. But again, social pressures dictate some of these things, right? So people notice, Why does she get to go tell her work more? I’m sitting in the same cube farm. I want that same privilege and they may or may not need that same privilege, right? Who’s who’s Thio? No accept them and their boss. Perhaps, but I wanted to take a few moments to talk about personal performance factors because it does matter and offering your best work. I’m just going to ask a few questions for you to think about, and I’m sure you’ve thought of many of these before, but let’s think about them right now for a few minutes. Are you invigorated all of a sudden when working on a project? Why? How do you function when you’ve had too many meetings? What happens when too many customers or partners want your attention and notice? Too many is subjective, right? You get to choose what that is for you don’t compare to anyone else. What do you think? What time of day air you most creative? When are you most anxious? When are you in the flow right and the flow being You’re not even aware of time. You’re so engaged, you’re just focused on the problem and solving it. And there’s a book about this and I can’t pronounce the guy’s name right now, but I’ll put it in the show notes saying Jen, she shy. It’s a very complex name, and I want to get it right, But let’s move on to more questions. When are you happiest? What ticks you off? Are you comfortable promoting yourself? Are you sensitive to personal interactions? Do you react to clients even when you think you shouldn’t? Are you willing to have employees. How do you handle team situations? Do you like to be a team member? If you like to work solo, do you like a combination? Do you like to be client facing or funnel information through someone else to like to be behind the scenes or the sage on the stage? The guide on the side thes air? Just a few questions. But I actually have a framework that I have used to help people go through a self reflection exercise to discover some things about themselves. And there’s a few categories. Uh, some of the key categories that I put were values and goals, body mind and heart interactions. You know how you like to communicate and what kind of relationships you want in your work. The interaction, types and methods, time commitments, location, personal control preferences like, Do you want to be managing the whole project? You wanna be managing other people or things, knowledge, skills and abilities. These air broad categories and I have a lot of questions to ask myself within each of these categories, because if you take the time to reflect on all of them, it can give you clues as to what you can adjust in your work environment or in your work habits to offer up your best work. And it can also be telling if you are trying to move into new work so that you don’t default to what didn’t work before. But because you’re comfortable with the discomfort because you already know that particular pain. You may find it again right when you’re scared and worried about moving into that next step, doing something different you like. Oh, you know what? I can always go back to doing that. It was painful and hard, but least I understand that painful and hard. But that’s not what you’re seeking, right. You’re seeking to offer up your best work, and part of offering your best work is making sure that you take care of those personal performance factors that help you do your best work. I have little idiosyncrasies about myself that I’m aware of, and I don’t know that I want to change some of these idiosyncrasies, but I have noticed them over the years. So, for example, I really do love going to lunch and talking with people about ideas about work about life. But I don’t love doing that if its nestled between work hours. So what do I mean by that? Like, if you were to say, Rebecca, let’s goto a two PM lunch and just talk about work and everything, and then we can go home. I’d be like, That’s great, But going out to lunch and then having to go back to the work environment messes up my work for some reason, like it’s like it’s almost like I decided. Nope, I did the work. I’ve now separated myself from the work. I’m going to talk about ideas and everything. I might get very inspired about things I should do for work, but I don’t want to go do them after lunch. And maybe that has to do with the food I ate. Or in many cases, it had to do with wasting gas, so to speak, right. We drive somewhere for lunch and had to drive back to the work, which was the opposite direction of my home and then a few hours later, drive home. So I perceived that is logistically messy, and some of you think that’s crazy. I make time to go out to lunch every single day. I’d say that’s great. If that works for you, do it. I remember I worked at a very fast paced telecommunication firm about 20 years ago, and every single day people wanted to go out to lunch because it was just like a fire hose coming at us and people wanted a break. And for me, that was a problem in a couple of ways because it disrupted my flow. I like to stay in the flow of five minute. I don’t want to disrupt it for lunch, and it was very expensive, right? It wasn’t like we were going to cheap places. This was costing 10 or 15 bucks a day for a lunch that half the time, I wasn’t really sure I liked, and it disrupted my workflow. So why was I doing this to myself? And I realized that I had to find a balance in my personal performance factors and building relationships at work. So sometimes we make thes accommodations to make sure that we’re working on our relationships. But notice it, at least right. Notice that your accommodating someone else or you realize this is something that you want to dio because it’s working on a work relationship, but also notice that you have needs to like. You need to be able to have your space to do your good work so that you can show up to those moments of building relationships with a better attitude, better energy, an outlook. That’s this very simple example. But multiply it by all of the things that can happen during your work day, whatever that is. Maybe you have a two hour workday. Maybe have a 12 hour work day. Regardless, it’s worth taking the time to figure out what works best for you. I’ve noticed things about how I sit. If my back is toward the door, my work suffers. I need to switch my desk around so that I can have a wall behind me. That’s important to me. It’s obviously not important to some other people because so often I would walk in and I’d have to knock loudly on the door because someone was so focused with their back turned to the door. They didn’t know I was there. That would never happen with me, right? I can sense you walking down the hall behind my back because it’s such uncomfortable position to be in for me, other people doesn’t bother. Good for them. Good for them. But if it matters to you, do something about it. Change the space for yourself. Tell your boss you need to change the space and leaders look out for people who seem like they’re uncomfortable with their work and ask what’s feels off to you, What’s going on? Do you need a different situation? And hopefully people can be forthright and open with what is impacting them. It is a lifelong journey to figure this stuff out, and somewhere along the way you will recognize different things that you do and don’t do that air hindering your work and that you might want to take a look at adjusting. If you’re someone that thinks you can Onley work alone, take a look at that. It may be hard to work on teams, but you also may be exposed to more work relationships, more opportunities and more ideas in that process. Some of you who would like to work on a team for every little thing step back and go. Why am I not comfortable just having an idea by myself? Maybe I need to take some time to learn how to work by myself on something. Maybe I have to step back and go. I’m not gonna ask the boss about this. I’m not gonna ask someone on the team about this. I’m going to figure it out. I’m gonna do an uncomfortable brainstorm by myself and see if I can learn how to do this and gain some confidence in my abilities. There are some of you that take care of yourselves very well. You create a perfect office space for yourself. In fact, sometimes you do it at the expense of others that’s worth paying attention to. There’s others of you that say, Oh, I’m fine with this little space. I’m fine if you interrupt me. Oh, it’s no problem. But deep down, you’re starting to harbor some insecurities and anxieties or some judgments about this For you. It’s time to honor some of your instinctive ways of doing your best work, and you don’t have to justify it. But if you feel like you have to tell people you’ve just recognized that you need to make some adjustments so that you can think clearly so you can focus so you can feel comfortable bringing out into the world what is in your head and needs to be shared with others, however perfect or imperfect it may be. I have a framework for this. Of course I have a start with the chart for this. And if you go to my website, move your desk dot com and go to this podcast. You confined that template, so go forth. Pay attention. You don’t have to change anything right now. Just be aware and just notice what is inhibiting you from offering up your best work. And maybe you just need to make some adjustments. May be your desk needs to be rearranged. Maybe you need to start earlier in the morning. Maybe you need to put blocks on your schedule that air riel meetings with yourself to get some work done. That a protected space that no one is allowed to schedule over. Maybe you need to ask for some leeway to work a slightly different schedule or to let go of one project or to take on another project to practice a skill. It’s important. Make it important if it isn’t already important to you and go take a look at the framework that I’ve created that helps you reflect on what personal performance factors you need to consider. Offer up your best work. Have a great week. Talk to you soon. If it is time for you to improve your work relationships, get the raise or move into a new career. I have two programs for you. The first is Make the Move, a self paced online course that leads you through the mindset, management principles and planning approaches that help you uplevel your work. The second is one on one coaching for those who are serious about transforming their work. Now, find both at learn dot Move your desk dot com. OKay, yeah.