People often feel that work is the culprit of unbalanced work + life. A common plea is something like “How do I manage work, so I have more time and energy for the people and activities I care about most?”
I’ve got a lot of thoughts on how to own your career, so it doesn’t own you! First, let’s build a strong foundation by focusing on the results of your work. If you want to take greater control of your work and career advancement, you need to focus on the results of your work, so your boss feels less need to focus on your hours worked. All of which strengthens trust. Make sense?
One way to focus on work results is the Triple Win Strategy which I learned from friends at ThirdPath Institute.
What’s a Triple Win at Work?
Rebalancing work + life to own your career requires producing high-quality work with efficiency and creativity. It doesn’t involve lowering your standards or performance.
A triple win at work is:
- Good for you.
- Good for your work.
- Good for the people you work with (internally and externally).
Overwork and the Triple Win Strategy
Inherent in the challenge of overwork is the inability to actually get ALL the work done. The never-ending to-do list causes you to put your head down and plow through on autopilot. Working on autopilot prevents you from pausing to see if you’re headed in the direction you intend and want.
Overwork creates feelings of overwhelm and lack of control — both of which don’t equate with ownership. You can use the Triple Win Strategy to take back some control by intentionally choosing, planning, and assessing what work serves everyone’s interests the best — including your boss’s and the organization’s.
How to Apply a Triple Win to Work
When you use the Triple Win Strategy, you intentionally ask questions that focus on results. When you’re focused on results instead of hours worked, you begin to own your career instead of it owning you.
Imagine one of your job responsibilities is to create a printed newsletter that’s mailed to your company’s retirees. The newsletter’s purpose is to keep retirees connected to the happenings of the company such as news, events, volunteer opportunities, milestones, etc.
Writing and producing this newsletter creates overwork for you because it’s time-intensive and added on top of your already overflowing meeting schedule. As it is, you don’t even have time to do the work assigned in the back-to-back meetings. Over the past six months, the only “time” you’ve found to work on the newsletter is in the evenings and on the weekends. You put time in quotes because you have two children under the age of three and your partner is going to graduate school outside of work hours.
You’re overworked, overwhelmed, and in need of a strategy to eliminate working in the evenings and on weekends. What would it look like to apply the Triple Win Strategy to this situation? In this case:
- Good for you might equal changes to the pace and quantity of your work so you don’t chronically overwork.
- Good for your work might equal focusing on your mission-critical work during your typical work hours and not a long list of tasks that may be unnecessary or could be completed by someone else as a way to grow the team’s capacity.
- Good for the people you work with (internally and externally) might equal creatively finding new and efficient ways to foster authentic connections to the company’s retirees. For example, instead of printing and mailing the newsletter, maybe it can be posted on the HR website where retirees already visit for other information and resources. Once a month, the team might offer online office hours for 30 minutes to answer retirees’ questions.
This is just one example of how to apply the Triple Win Strategy to this project. What’s important is maintaining the purpose of the project with creative and efficient solutions — the results — and ensuring a reasonable pace and quantity of work.
How can you apply the Triple Win Strategy to your work? Think of a current or upcoming project and ask what would make it:
- Good for me?
- Good for my work?
- Good for the people I work with (internally and externally)?
Next, prioritize the top 1-3 answers per question. If you’re not sure what to focus on the most, try looking at your calendar for other work and life activities. Or discuss the questions with a coworker or your partner.
Once you have a strong list of results-oriented options, consider what it would take to achieve this triple win. Ask yourself:
- How will I overcome challenges that might arise?
- What support and resources do I need?
- What’s the best way to share my ideas with my boss?
It’s a good idea to review your ideas with your boss to make sure you meet his or her expectations.
Using the Triple Win Strategy helps you rebalance work + life by redesigning your work to own your career. I’m curious to know how the Triple Win Strategy might help you focus on results and manage overwork. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.