Getting smart about essential but draining activities

April 7th, 2011  |  Published in Uncategorized

Although we’d love to be able to work in a job that plays to our strengths and lets us do what we love 100% of the time, this is fantasy land. Every role, whether you are an entrepreneur, manager, leader, or specialist, has essential but draining activities. EBD activities.

For your EBD activities, it is critical to know what impact they have on you. And to schedule energizing activities before and after them.

For many people, having a discussion with a poor performer about their performance is draining. So we dread it before we have it, and if we have strong empathy strengths, often feel awful about it afterwards. A few people out there are actually energized by this sort of conversation, but not many.

Both Kyle and Sharon are finding relief by creating a motivation sandwich, where they schedule energizing and enjoyable tasks before and after a draining one. This is a slight tweak of the Sandwich feedback method, where you give praise, then criticism, then end with praise during a difficult performance conversation.

Yet the key to staying productive beyond the conversation, is to proactively manage the before and after impact.

Are you dreading the conversation, over-preparing for how to have it, and ignoring other important tasks? Afterwards, are you so drained by it that you go home and veg out in front of the T.V., hit the alcohol too hard, or spin your wheels on useless tasks as an unproductive escape?

For Sharon, who loves learning, she schedules time to read an article she’s been wanting to get to before her draining conversation, and then schedules a meeting with a colleague she really enjoys to engage in brainstorming a new vision for her department, afterwards. This keeps her motivated, upbeat, and fired up.

For kyle, who is motivated towards constant achievement, he reviews his top 5 most important activities of the week before hand, then eats his favorite snack afterwards as a reward for getting something important done.

As individuals, we are all wired a bit different. Therefore, what motivates us and keeps us on track may be different, and can range from large to small doses of inspiration (e.g. top 5 list vs eating a delicious snack). Talk to a coach about what might be the best motivation sandwich for you. You may find that activities you keep avoiding and dreading, will get done faster and easier.

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