Look for (and create) moments of control
Throughout your day, you’ll find many moments that aren’t in your control. It’s the meeting called by someone else that seems to drag on, the artefact that you’re a contributor for without any clear structure or ownership, a project that seems to be all over the place.
Being a participant in something that isn’t being driven properly isn’t fun. Similar to a passenger in a car that is swerving without any clear destination or direction.
We know that we find work more fulfilling when we have autonomy, control, creativity and ownership. Whenever you’re presented with a moment where you’re the driver, take the wheel and make it happen. Bring order to the madness.
An example instilling control is how you run any meeting that you’ve called. Make sure it’s productive, send an agenda, take some minutes, park the conversation if it’s not constructive.
Another example is any artefact that you’re responsible for. Have a clear list of all the items you’re going to complete (the scope), check with the team that it encompasses everything you need to complete, then create a rough draft, share for early feedback, create an excel sheet outlining who the owners are of each section and when their work is due. Drive it.
Finally, turn anything that requires more than a few hours of effort and more than 1 person into a project. Most of our work are activities like this. Be the owner of the mini project, create a plan, and then drive it.
Personally I’m a terrible participant in anything and a far better driver.
The trick here is that you can grab, control and make much more work your own than you realise. Opportunity lurks everywhere, grab something and make it your own.