You’re busy. I get it. It can be hard to keep up with your boss’ expectations, the needs of your family and friends, never mind looking after your own wellbeing. But what if in just 11 minutes a day you could make all of this a little easier and more enjoyable?
Recently, more than 2000 people in 65 countries joined the free Strengths Challenge and discovered that developing their strengths – those things they were good at and enjoyed doing – with an 11 minute daily habit, was enough to help many of them feel more engaged, energized and able to flourish at work.
How could this possibly work?
By leveraging their brain’s neurological habit loop of cue, routine and reward, they were able to find “busy-proof” ways to start putting their strengths to work. Here were some favourites you might like to try when you join the Strengths Challenge to create your own daily strengths habit:
- Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence
Keeping an inspiration file – When I turn on my computer each morning (cue), I’ll spend 10 minutes researching ideas that inspire me about my field and file these in my “excellence” folder for future reference (routine). My reward will be my cup of coffee (reward).
Cultivating unexpected partnerships – When I sit down at my desk in the morning (cue), I will reach out to one new connection by ‘cold’ calling, email or LinkedIn to keep expanding my networks (routine). I’ll reward myself by recording my progress in my Bravery Journal (reward).
Finding fresh solutions – When I sit down for my morning coffee (cue), I’ll spend ten minutes brainstorming as many ideas, solutions, possibilities to a problem or opportunity our team is facing (routine). To reward myself I’ll share the best three ideas with another team member (reward).
Thinking in questions – When I prepare my to-do list for the day (cue), I will note three questions to ask others about the work we’re doing (routine). My reward will be to cross this first action off my list! (reward
Being fair to others – When reviewing my schedule each morning (cue), I’ll look for one thing I can do today to make life a little easier for my colleagues or a client (routine). Then I’ll grab my morning coffee (reward).
Injecting interactions with forgiveness – As I’m creating my daily calendar (cue), I’ll reflect on yesterday’s interactions, note any discomforts, and think about what we can learn from this experience to improve our next interaction (routine). Then I’ll fill my jug of water (reward).
Celebrating what’s working well – As I travel home on the train (cue), I’ll note down at least three things that went well today and what made them possible (routine). My reward will be walking in my front door (reward).
Walking your talk – When I sit down at my desk (cue), I’ll take ten minutes to write down how I can show up at work today, and act in the ways I would expect and appreciate from others (routine). I’ll reward myself by going and saying hello to a colleague I’m fond of (reward).
Building a hope-map – On the first Monday of each month (cue) I’ll create a hope map, detailing a want-to goal, pathways to reach it and ways to maintain my motivation. Then each morning I’ll do one thing for ten minutes to move my pathways forward (routine). To celebrate, I’ll make my morning cuppa (reward).
Letting others shine – As I pack up to leave (cue), I’ll spend ten minutes celebrating success with another colleague by explicitly recognizing the efforts and accomplishments of myself and others. I’ll use “we” and “us” rather than “me” and “I” so the celebration feels authentic (routine). Then I’ll head home (reward).
Giving yourself permission to have fun at work – When I stop for lunch (cue), then I’ll take the time to share a joke or a funny story with a colleague (routine). I’ll celebrate by eating my food (reward).
Playing devil’s advocate – When I write my to-do list (cue), I’ll think of at least one tough question to stretch our team’s thinking and broaden our perspective (routine). I’ll celebrate by inviting others to be part of the conversation (reward).
Speaking kindly to others – When I get ready to leave for the day (cue), I’ll think about my day and identify someone to whom I can talk to or email on my way out regarding something that demonstrates my genuine interest or concern about them (routine). I’ll celebrate by heading home (reward).
Stepping up – Before the morning meeting (cue), I’ll spend ten minutes listing the ways I can help our team to achieve their goals (routine) and share at least one of these ideas with my colleagues (reward).
Loving others – Each morning when we’re making morning tea (cue), I’ll take the time to have a meaningful conversation with a colleague, by asking genuine questions about how they’re going/what’s going well for them (routine). I’ll celebrate by drinking my tea (reward).
- Love of Learning
Learning about people – When I sit down for lunch (cue), I’ll try to chat with at least one colleague about what they’re working on and see what I can learn (routine). My reward will be my lunch (reward).
Delivering what matters most – Each morning when I complete my daily planner (cue), I will prioritize the three goals I most need to accomplish (routine). My reward will be ticking these off as I go (reward).
Making the complex simple – On my way home (cue), I’ll reflect on the ideas and challenges I’ve encountered today and see if there is a simple, meaningful way to explain what’s unfolding to my team tomorrow (routine). My reward will be walking in the front door (reward).
Planning ahead – When I get to work (cue), then I’ll spend ten minutes thinking about the meetings I’ll attend today and my intentions for each (routine). Then I’ll have my coffee (reward).
Starting early – When I open my laptop (cue), I’ll spend ten minutes powering through any urgent emails (routine), and then celebrate by going to have a tea and chat with a colleague (reward).
- Social Intelligence
Noticing what motivates your team to act – During our morning team meeting (cue), I’ll try to spot the strengths in at a least one colleague and note what I’ve seen and how I might help them use this strength as we go about our work (routine). To celebrate I’ll have a healthy snack (reward).
Searching for meaning in small tasks – When I write my to-do list each morning(cue), then I’ll notice any tasks I’m dreading and ask myself “why does this matter” and “who will benefit” until I find the purpose in small things (routine). To celebrate I’ll have my coffee (reward).
Valuing loyalty – When I turn on my computer (cue), then I’ll do one ten minute favor for one of my team members – like sharing an article, connecting them to someone, or sending some feedback (routine). Then I’ll tick it off my to-do list (reward).
Being well – When I wake up each morning (cue), I’ll spend ten minutes walking the dog (routine). I’ll reward myself with breakfast (reward).
If you had the gift of 11 minutes a day to just a little more of what you do best, which habit would you try?
For more ideas on how you can put your strengths to work join us for the free global Strengths Challenge and receive a free ebook with more than 70 different habits you can use to put your strengths to work at http://www.strengthschallenge.com.