Loved It/Loathed It
In order to make changes in our lives, we need to know what exactly we want to change. It’s like any other question — we need to understand the problem before we can drive toward a solution. And understanding the problem actually takes a bit of conscious effort…
For example, let’s say I feel frustrated at work. The root cause of this could be lots of different things — the people I interact with most, the level of autonomy I have, the impact I feel I’m making on the world, the level of work-life integration I have, or the tasks that make up each day. Before I can go about making changes and improvements, I need to understand what I need to do more of and do less of in order to migrate to a future state that feels less frustrating (and ideally even good).
Best-selling author and strengths-based development guru Marcus Buckingham offers a super simple way to approach this introspective work. It’s an exercise he calls “Loved It/Loathed It.” Here’s how it works:
1) Create a sheet of paper with two columns — I Loved It, and I Loathed It
2) Carry this sheet of paper around for a week and whenever you notice an activity (at work or outside of work) that you love or loathe, make note of it (do it in the moment, not at the end of the day…it should only take a minute)
3) By the end of the week, you’ll have two columns of activities. Review the lists, and think about the activities you want to do more of and do less of
4) Identify three simply ways you can do more of the things you love at work, and build a support system (your boss, your peers, your friends) that can help you make sure this happens
It’s obviously not useful to do this exercise every week or even every month, but it’s a great tool during times of transition and/or as an annual refresh/check-in.
Have you ever done this exercise? Has it helped clarify new insights about your life? Have you been able to make actionable changes based on what you learned?