Your Winning Work Style

By now, you have probably gleaned that the columns I write are usually aimed in my own direction. I am a living example of the credo, “We teach what we most need to learn.

This week I’m asking myself: Why am I not getting more done? Why aren’t I further ahead?

I’ve noticed that, even when I have plenty of time to complete an important project, I keep busy with other things until I’m up against the stress of a deadline.

Are you my opposite—one of those souls I envy so much who is systematic in your approach, someone who “plans the work and works the plan?” Do you even (gasp!) get work done ahead of schedule?

For many years I attempted to bully myself into developing a more methodical approach to work. Well-meaning souls (you planners out there) have tried to turn me into someone who does one thing at a time. If all it took was willingness and willpower, believe me, I’d have been there long ago.

It turns out my approach to work is the most efficient and energizing for me. When I get tired and discouraged, it’s because I think I need to be different. Trying to turn me into a methodical worker would be like trying to turn the hare into the turtle.

I went online and took a simple and relatively inexpensive test called The Kolbe Index ( which reveals your preferred style of working. I’ve taken and given lots of assessment tools in my work. Each focuses on different aspects of personality. What I like about the Kolbe is that it provided me with an important key: if I want to be successful, I HAVE to work my way or I’ll shrivel up. I need to have a lot of plates spinning at once. I require that my projects be out where I can see them, instead of tucked away neatly into a drawer. And when I try to force myself to be more systematic, finishing one thing before moving onto another, I get blue.

When you validate your work style, it provides you with an opportunity to figure out how to be more productive. For example, one of the tips Kolbe provided was to start my day with something I can dive into immediately. If I have to gather information or tools before I start work, I deflate. That made sense to me so now, instead of starting my day by making a “to do” list, I now make my list the night before so in the morning, I can hit the ground running.

My mission in life is for everyone to find work that they love. Discovering and empowering your own work style is a solid step in that direction. The more you work in whatever your natural style is, the more you will enjoy what you are doing and the more successful you’ll be. Even if you’re not in the career you want, practicing your natural work style will help you to eventually end up where you want to be because successful people have choices.

If you don’t want to pay for an assessment tool, do some self-analysis.

• When did you last get lost in your work, surprised when you looked at the clock and realized hours had flown by? What was your method of working during that time?

• When you’re working against a deadline, what do you know to do that guarantees you will reach it?

• Do you need your desk cleared of distractions or is it important that your projects be out where you can see them?

The more you take the time to analyze what your Winning Work Style is, the better you will enjoy your job (as well as your personal projects) and the more productive you will be.

The Law of Attraction says you attract more of what you focus on. Focus on using your Winning Work Style as often as possible and watch how often you win!

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