Episode #41: How to Boost Your Productivity at Work

Boost Your Productivity at Work

Welcome to The Confident Careerist Podcast for professionals just like you who place a high value on their career development and strive for success while also seeking work-life balance.

My name is Teena Evert and I am delighted to be your host. I’m a careerist myself and career development, leadership, and life coach. I love what I do and I hope that you enjoy the creation of this podcast and allow it to be an important tool in your toolbox that will help you to accelerate your success, gain greater confidence and happiness in your work-life.

In today’s episode, I share the key to having greater happiness, productivity and engagement in your work. All of these things can help you to create a more satisfying life. The key is knowing and activating your character strengths.

What are Character Strengths and Why Do They Matter?

Character strengths are capacities within us for thinking, feeling and behaving in ways that benefit ourselves and others. They are positive parts of personality and make up the core of who we are as people. When we tap into that core and begin to express that core, it leads to a number of different positive outcomes in our lives.

They have been shown in hundreds of scientific studies to be linked, hand-in-hand, with numerous positive outcomes. Such as, higher well-being, meaning, and engagement, improved coping and stress, higher intimacy and greater commitment in relationships, work-as-a-calling, achievement, and less depression, just to name a few.

Character strengths are considered to be the basic building blocks of a flourishing life. Everyone has a unique profile of strengths that reflect their personal identity. However, many people don’t have an active awareness of their strengths and the power they possess by harnessing them.

Character strengths are the pathways to well-being. – Neal Mayerson, Ph.D

Well-being Pathways

Research proves character strengths are the pathways to well-being. When we weave character strengths into situations we create a positive, uplifting environment that inspires participation and motivation.

Character strengths can also help:

  • Increase happiness at home and at work
  • Improve relationships
  • Discover balance with physical, mental, and emotional health
  • Increase performance at work and school
  • Achieve life goals

Move Through Your Blindspots

Knowing and activating our character strengths can also help address our own blindness about ourselves. We all have blindspots to our self-knowledge, which can prevent us from achieving our goals. Therefore, when we begin to identify our strengths and activate them, we genuinely bring them forth in our life. This allows us to tap into our authenticity and live true to ourselves.

Know thyself. – Socrates

Know thy character strengths and you will know how to lead a better life by being more authentic and true to you, as well as doing good by expressing your character strengths out into the world to improve the lives of others.

Knowing and activating your strengths can make you happier, more productive and more engaged in your work. – Dr. Ryan Niemiec

I invite you to take the VIA Character Strength Survey to learn more about your unique strengths.

Identifying Your Strengths and Best Career Options

Many people come to me for career coaching because they are seeking help to identify their strengths and best career options. When we lack personal clarity about our greatest strengths we end up using a scattershot approach when applying for jobs and become feeling frustrated because our efforts were not effective.

Consider the impact on recent graduates and adults in transition. Recent graduates launching their first careers need knowledge of the positive parts of their personality that make up the core of who they are as people just as much as they need to know their preferred skills. This is all baseline data for identifying internships and entry-level roles.

Adults in career transition need knowledge of the positive parts of their personality to help make the best career decisions that will move them beyond burnout and into greater satisfaction in their work. It’s also just as important to distinguish the skills they want to improve and continue using from the skills they want to stop using or minimize in their next role. This enables them to focus on the roles that align with their character strengths. 

Knowing both our transferable skills and our character strengths can help focus on productive career planning that leads to greater job satisfaction and long term success.

When we have knowledge of our positive qualities and the tools that will help put our strengths and skills to work in our life, then we are much more likely to experience greater happiness, productivity, and engagement in our work.

Your ‘Power Zone’

The successful alignment of your talents, character strengths, resources and interests puts you in your ‘power zone’. Many people are succeeding without fulfillment and meaning because they are deployed at work in areas within their competence (talent), but the work does not connect with them as human beings (character).

Can you think of a time you were working and in your ‘power zone’?

Shift Your Focus From What is Wrong to What is Strong

In today’s world, many people focus almost entirely on what is wrong with them – their problems, their struggles, and their stressors. As a result, they often lose sight of what is good and strong in them. There is so much more to life than problems. I provide a holistic, strength-based approach to help people shift their focus from what is wrong to what is strong.

Focusing on one’s universal strengths of character is pivotal for self-awareness in that this knowledge can offer deep awareness and personal insights that can lead to change.

Both strengths-based career counseling and conventional career counseling increase one’s daily use of strengths; however, a strength-based approach also enhances one’s self-esteem. Research has also shown that strength-based career counseling leads to a higher rate of employment (81%) than conventional career counseling (60%) after a 3-month follow up.

Our character strengths are the catalyst for positive speech and action that we can use in any situation for the rest of our life.

What is a Strengths-based Approach?

  • A strength-based approach is honest. It acknowledges problems but doesn’t get lost in them.
  •  It is positive and focuses on what is best and good.
  • It is empowering and encourages or advances the individual.
  • It is energizing and uplifts and fuels your hopes and dreams.
  • It is connecting and brings you closer to others, aiding in mutual connection.

Key Character Strengths Practices

Affirm & value Your Strengths

Again, I invite you to take the VIA Character Strength Survey to learn more about your unique strengths. This will give you the opportunity to understand and acknowledge these qualities as describing who you are and begin to appreciate the importance of each in your life.

Your highest strengths are values in your life. Endorse and affirm your highest strengths and understand the importance of your strengths in your life by following these 3 steps.

  1. Identify one of the top character strengths that you value. Use this strength in a new and different way each day for a week.
  2. Write about why this character strength is meaningful and important in your life.
  3. Consider doing this activity immediately before going into a stressful or high-pressure situation.

Research has shown that reflecting on personal qualities can lead to reliable and important changes in behavior. Affirmation of your personal values can expand the view of yourself, your resources and what is most important to you.

Practices involving values affirmation have been shown to increase self-clarity, support a sense of belonging during challenging times, to boost resilience to criticism or rejection, to boost performance, curb aggression and buffer the psychological stress response.

Three Good Things

Write down three things that went well for you today with a brief explanation each night for one week. Research has shown the effects of a significant increase in happiness and decreases in depression that lasts up to 6-months from doing this simple practice.

My signature character strengths are curiosity, creativity, judgment, love of learning, and perspective.