In my current working pattern, adding more discipline makes the biggest difference to my level of enjoyment at work. I usually think of discipline as a harsh, unpleasant characteristic, but in practice, it makes me feel productive and energized. When I am both disciplined and playful, I have the most fun.
I have a client who has tried to discipline himself with strict routines and demanding goals. He recently realized that an inflexible approach only leads him to resist and eventually fail completely to achieve his goals. Now he is setting goals without being rigid. He sets them more playfully as something he wants, but not something he ‘has to’ do. The structure of routines helps him use his time effectively to achieve what is important. His flexibility to change the routine when necessary gives him choice and makes him feel empowered and free.
I have another client who is a spark of joy and creativity. She laughs a lot and gets involved in all kinds of things that she loves to do. But recently she is frustrated because, despite following her heart into so many joyful activities, she feels tired from filling her life too full and frustrated by not having time to complete the more mundane tasks that are required to sustain her happy life.
She is setting up a few simple structures, such as daily reflection time and daily administration time. By creating these habits as a service to herself, a free choice, and by holding them lightly, she intends to let them ground her without pinning her down.
An integration of both discipline and playfulness makes the biggest possible difference. Do you need more playfulness or more discipline to help you love your work?