Chances are you put in long hours every day and still don’t have enough time to get everything done. Even though you love your work, you may feel overwhelmed, frustrated, or exhausted. I know; I feel that way too sometimes. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way.
Imagine waking up energized, motivated and excited to go to work each day.
- What if you could say goodbye to the tasks that drain your energy?
- What if you could focus exclusively on the things that bring you joy?
- What if EVERY day was your BEST day at work?
Living in Your Zone of Genius
What I am referring to above is what Gay Hendricks and others call living in your ‘zone of genius.’
The zone of genius is your unique gift—what you bring to your work that no one else can offer. It’s where your talents and your passions intersect. And when you can spend a large % of your time each working day in your zone of genius, you’ll achieve more, feel empowered, and inspire those around you.
- The Zone of Incompetence: Things you don’t understand or are not skilled at.
- The Zone of Competence: Things you are okay at but others can do better.
- The Zone of Excellence: Things you are extremely skilled at but may not necessarily love doing.
- The Zone of Genius: Things you are naturally good at and love doing—where you find your ‘flow.’
After reading his book about a year ago, I really examined this. I determined that I work in my Zone of Excellence the majority of the time, in my Zone of Genius about 20% of the time, and occasionally slip into the others. I learned long ago to hire others to do what I’m not good at or that I can do but don’t love doing. That’s part of how I got to the point of working in my Zone of Excellence so much of the time. But what I didn’t realize is that there was more. I knew there were hours when time flew by and I felt like I was in the Zone.
Reading the book, I recognized those times when I was working in my Genius Zone. It was so eye-opening. I was determined to spend more time in my Genius Zone, so I dived into analyzing how I spent my time again. (This wasn’t the first time, but in prior times I didn’t understand the zones this way.) I even hired a Genius Coach.
So, the key to making more of your days your best days is to find your zone of genius and stay there, which you can do by following the five steps below.
5 Steps to Identify Your Zone of Genius
Follow these steps to evaluate the things you do at work and identify which ones fall within your zone of genius.
1. Track How You Spend Your Time
The first step is to take a week and write down everything you do during your working hours. You’ll evaluate these items later; for now, just make a list of your tasks and responsibilities.
2. Evaluate Your Talents
Next, you’ll want to assess each task based on your skill level. For simplicity, you may use a color-coded system, placing a colored dot next to each task.
- Beginner (Red Dot): You have some basic knowledge but are not very skilled at this task.
- Intermediate (Yellow Dot): You’re acceptable at this task, but it’s not your strongest area.
- Expert (Green Dot): You excel in this area, and it’s effortless for you.
3. Evaluate Your Passions
You can use a similar color-coding system to assess your passion (interest) in each task on your list.
- Dislike (Red Dot): You dislike this task and would rather not do it.
- Like (Yellow Dot): This task is okay, but it’s not your favorite.
- Love (Green Dot): You love doing this task, and it energizes you.
4. Review and Delegate
Each task on your list will now have two colored dots beside it. Your goal is to figure out how to eliminate the tasks with red dots (and yellow dots too, where possible).
Two red dots next to a task indicate that you’re not skilled at it and dislike doing it too. These items zap your motivation and energy the most, so it’s important to eliminate them if possible. However, if you can also get rid of any tasks with one red dot, or two yellow dots, you’ll be happier in the long run.
The thing to ask here is: Is this something that only I can do, or can I delegate to someone else if I provide guidance and training? It may feel a bit scary to think about passing off tasks you’re used to doing, but it will be freeing in the long run. I had a really hard time letting go of my schedule, but I wasn’t good at it. I didn’t like doing it, and it drained me. Delegating that has freed up time and energy, and it is being done better than I can do it.
Happiness at work comes from being able to control your schedule, and that includes what you DON’T have to do. As CEO, I need to free up time and energy so I can be creative and do the things I do best – work in my zone of genius.
For each task you can delegate, decide if someone in your company can handle the work or if you’ll have to hire someone new. Don’t get caught doing $30 (or even $50) an hour work even though you can do it and don’t mind it. Your time is more valuable. In fact, stop and figure out what your time is worth so you don’t get into the “It’s easier to do it myself” trap. Once you’ve done this exercise, don’t try to delegate everything at once, and be very careful not to abdicate. Train people to do the tasks and provide the support needed for them to succeed. Start by eliminating the ones with red dots first. You won’t believe the relief you feel.
5. Narrow in on Your Zone of Genius
Finally, you’ll want to look at the list of tasks to identify those with two green dots. Those are your zones of genius! They are the areas where your talents and passions intersect—the things that are effortless and energizing for you. The things that you do best and will bring the most success. The more time you can spend in these areas, the happier you will be each day at work, and the more your company will thrive.
Of course, you’ll probably identify areas with only one green dot (or possibly two yellow dots, or even a red dot) that you cannot delegate.
Unfortunately, there may be things that aren’t in your zone of genius but that you must handle because you’re the only one who can do them. Understanding what these things are will help you plan accordingly (for example, doing these tasks first thing in the morning might be a good idea so they don’t linger and hurt your motivation and momentum throughout the day).
Is Everyone Working in Their Zone of Genius?
As the CEO starting with yourself is important. Once you identify your zone of genius, you can create a schedule where you work in that zone daily. Say goodbye to overwhelm and exhaustion, and hello to energy and enthusiasm! You’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel (mentally, emotionally, and even physically!) and how much more you accomplish each day.
After that, you may also want to ask, “Is everyone in my business working in their zone of genius?” The increases in productivity and motivation you feel by working in your zone of genius can be passed on to others when they identify theirs too.
What if you could make every day your best day? And even better…what if everyone in your business was having their best day every day? It’s unrealistic to think we can work in our genius zone 100% of the time, but what if you increased the time you spent in your genius zone by 10% this month, 20% the next month, and so on. If you work in your genius zone at least 50% of the time, you will be happier, more productive, and more successful.