5 Questions To Bring Out Your Best Self At Work

Whether you’re starting a new job, advancing your career, or considering a different direction, these simple questions can highlight ways to bring out your best self at work.

1. When am I happiest at work?

No matter how much you love your job, there are always good days and bad days. For some of us, there are even good mornings and bad afternoons. While there will occasionally be unwelcome tasks to tend to, it’s worth spending some time thinking about the moments you feel most content. Ask yourself what you’re working on when you lose track of time, what environments you seek out, which projects you are most excited to work on, and when you feel most fulfilled.

Once you’ve identified these personal trigger points, consider how you can be more efficient in completing less enjoyable activities, so that you can spend more time doing the things that GIVE you energy (rather than drain it).

Tip: If you’re having a hard time finding a way to incorporate more of your trigger points at work, consider exploring a side hustle.


2. What do I find most frustrating about my job or career?

There is no point in sugarcoating it — you will have to make some career sacrifices along the way. Whether you’re giving up bedtime with your kids for your dream job, or a reliable paycheck for the freedom of freelancing, we all face the ongoing challenge of finding balance throughout our careers.

The best way to navigate tradeoffs and determine if they’re worthwhile, is to prioritize. What’s most important to you? This applies to the good and the bad. It’s important to know what frustrates you most about a job, so you can be proactive about limiting your exposure to these things.

Tip: For many people, it’s the tedious administrative tasks that can become frustrating at times. To better manage the time and energy dedicated to those tasks, earmark an hour every day or a few hours once a week to tackle these less desirable to-do’s. If possible, schedule this time before an activity you enjoy so you have something to look forward to.


3. What aspects of my job could be more efficient?

Time is money, and thanks to the infinite number of online tools and platforms like UpWork and Catalant, there’s no excuse not to maximize your productivity by taking advantage of these resources. Make a list of all the tasks you complete on a day-to-day basis – the more tedious, the better. Then go through each item and ask yourself whether there is a more efficient way to approach that task: Can I create a replicable template for this email or document? Can I outsource this activity? Can I use a free online tool to simplify the process?

We tend to default to the path of least resistance (aka we have a bias against change). However, by questioning “business as usual” and exploring alternative approaches to getting sh*t done, you can free up more time for the activities you enjoy most.

4. At what points in my job do I thrive?

Have you ever fought the urge to high five yourself at work? You might have just nailed a client pitch, received an excellent performance review, or completed a big project with a praise-worthy result. Pay attention to these personal wins and try to find patterns: Do your high fives typically occur around the same time every day? Do they tend to be more frequent on particular types of projects? Are you someone who thrives more in an unstructured or a structured environment?

Tip: Once you identify a pattern, consider bringing it up in your performance review or with colleagues. The more people who are aware of when and how you thrive, the better.


5. Where can I grow?

There is always room for improvement. Some of the most brilliant and successful people pride themselves on being lifelong learners. For freelancers, continuous learning is essential to competing in the on-demand marketplace, but this mentality can be valuable to anyone, regardless of your chosen career path. Stay curious and you will not only be more engaged at work, but all that knowledge you’re absorbing will make you an increasingly valuable resource to the company.

Tip: Several major studies have shown that people who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them. Instead of starting with the big lofty goals, write down some shorter-term milestones that will set you up to tackle your bigger goals down the road. Then, build in checkpoints to evaluate your progress against these milestones on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis.