While reading the book “Design Your Life”, a book which takes design thinking and fits it to designing your actual life – I’ve been very introspective. It’s funny, I picked up this book, looking for a book to read with my work team, so we could focus on this topic in 2019. After all, Design Thinking is a common concept within software development teams. Instead, the book has me thinking quite a bit more of being introspective than worrying about work implications. This concept of Life Design is actually taught in a class offered at Stanford.
In the book they talk about “flow”. These are the times in daily activity where you know you feel the most energized, where time doesn’t matter. They teach you to look out for flow in your daily work, so you know when you’ve got it, making the most of it. Also you’re supposed to be mindful when you’re not in your flow, so you can be aware when you’re just passing the time, waiting to “get out of there”. It has made me look at my days, to see how much I am in the flow and how much I am not. It forced me to get very into my head to see what I’m enjoying. I’d have to admit the last 6 months, I’m out of my “flow”.
I sit in countless meetings about business processes, or debate the perfect presentation of a power point. I have learned if I challenge the status quo just a little too much at my place of employment, it looks bad – but then I definitely get out of my flow because it forces me not to be my authentic self. I mean if I can’t be my most authentic self, then what’s the reason for remaining there? If the hours are ticking away on me, do I want to spend that time in yet one more meeting about business processes, abstaining from being myself?
So I need to gather my thoughts around this – things I’m enjoying and things I am not. I feel compelled to make a list. In my world, when you have a list you have order. When you have order you can understand the problem. If you understand the problem, you can fix anything. Sometime when I look back at the list, I hope it triggers my memory on why I feel a change in my life is necessary.
I won’t bore you all here about my specific list. It was clear, however, when I looked at the list, I am not feeling my “flow”. It sure is looking like the areas I’m spending most of my time (truly about 80% of my time) are NOT the places giving me energy. My daily work is leaving me uninspired and overworked, while under appreciated. I’m not inspired, and I know it. Look, I know it’s called work for a reason. Work is that – work. But surely there is something else out there?
At least now, I can say I understand the problem. I’m not spending enough of my time with actions that keep me in my “flow”. I need to make a change. Step 1, Defining the Problem, is accomplished.