Do you ever find yourself moving through your list quickly and efficiently, but despite getting a lot done, you aren’t enjoying the work that should bring you pleasure? That was my “aha” moment earlier this month.

Late summer is a busy time for many people – school restarting, businesses eager to get a lot done by the year’s end, pressure to finish everything before a final summer vacation or recovering from the email onslaught after one, etc. I am feeling that pressure as well – there is so much to do over the next few weeks.

I shared how overwhelmed I was with Christy Asper, a friend of mine who is owner and lead designer of The Ink Café. In response, she texted me, “I will pray that you find joy in the work.” Honestly, I was looking for a prayer of speed or overcoming issues with a single bound, and yet she spoke of joy. How right she was!

Often, we get so caught up with crossing items off a list or getting things moving that we lose sight of what we are doing and aren’t present to enjoy it. This can be particularly true for those with Gallup™ strengths of achiever (the ultimate list makers and task finishers), responsibility (desire to complete the tasks they said they would) and achievers (filled with high energy to get the ball rolling).

When we are present, we have the best ability to have a greater impact on others.

It is when we are present that we take the time to really listen, ask thoughtful questions, care,and be more creative with our work. It is the difference between “getting the meeting done” and “going to the meeting to make a difference.”

Later in the week as I looked at my weekly goals and daily to-do list, I could sense I was about to plow ahead, trying to push through a lot of ground to get things completed. Suddenly, I recalled Christy’s encouragement and realized everything that I was about to do, I actually loved doing. But I would only continue to love it if I took the time to:

  • Be grateful a role where I have the skills and abilities to positively impact clients, students and colleagues
  • Enjoy the process of doing the work, getting to be creative and meeting with interesting people
  • Be intentional in each action

When I took those steps, I found joy. I knew God gave me these assignments, and would provide a way to get them done. I just had to trust, give my best effort and not worry about “all the stuff going on.” Side note – taking my morning quiet time is often the difference between having the right mindset and going on “autopilot.” I now try to avoid early meetings to ensure I start the day with the proper mindset.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         – Colossians 3:23-24

I challenge you to regularly hit the pause button and ask, “Am I present and finding joy in my work, or am I only just checking things off my list?” Responding to that question can be enough to shift your attitude and the dynamics of your entire day, and make it a day where you will find joy in your journey.