We noted that everyone's timelines had ups and downs. By the end, we were writing individual action plans to increase the highs (the joys) in our careers. I had already started pondering a few days earlier my current career position and where I want it to go, so I found the exercise to be timely.
The exercise reminded me of a blog post I read recently about motivation:
You can’t do great work unless you love what you do. It’s this love that drives your actions.
Look back at all the projects you were proud of finishing. You’ll notice the underlying theme of love behind all of them.
Once you understand how your emotions trigger your motivation you will get a better grasp on your productivity.
Tip #3 from that post suggested keeping an appreciation journal to recognize effort, which I've done in the past. I'm terrible at keeping up with the practice, but it's helped me get through periods where I initially struggled to identify the impact of my work, and I should probably start journaling again. I first encountered this kind of journal in Lyssa Adkins's Coaching Agile Teams book, and I remember excitedly writing down how a coworker used the term "agile smell" one day in conversation--I knew I had positive influence!
Identify the things that bring you joy is essential to increasing those moments in your day-to-day work.