Values in Action Character Strengths Habit
Working from home has meant we’ve all had to adapt. Recently, my view of productivity has changed too. I used to focus on the amount of work that I could produce, but now I encourage myself to include activities that hold personal value into my daily schedule. Here’s how I create moments that improve my work pleasure and productivity during the pandemic.
Good, daily habits that I’d already established include checking in with my team at 9 am and taking a walk. But, I recently decided to take it to the next level and added a new habit built upon the Values in Action (VIA) Character Strengths.
What are the VIA Character Strengths?
The VIA Character Strengths are 24 universal values that everyone relates to (to some extent). A character strength is defined as “a way of thinking, feeling and doing which leads to excellence and optimal performance”. By filling in a questionnaire you can discover which values are most meaningful to you and you can find out more about them. Research has shown that if you find new ways to use your strengths, you become more creative, productive and your overall happiness increases.
How to add VIA Character Strengths development to your routine
We can all use some extra happiness and creativity, so here is how I’ve used the VIA Character Strengths to inform my routine.
Every Monday, I use a mini exercise to plan my week. I plan and write out my goals and tasks for the week in and end with a little game around the VIA Character Strengths.
I open up two websites:
- a random number generator
- Tips to use your strengths in a new way
Using the random number generator, I pick one of the 24 character strengths to focus on in that week. After selecting the value, I read the description and write down what this value means to me.
Next I think of an activity that I can do to apply this strength or pick one of the recommended activities. Then, I build this exercise into my weekly planning.
In the last few months, it has helped me to combine productivity with play. By sending cards to friends, treating myself to cappuccinos and making time to read about and talk to people who have inspired me.
Every week, this process takes the format of: This week, the strength is teamwork and my task is to spot and express appreciation for the strengths expressed by your team members.
Keen to try it yourself? Feel free to copy this habit and make it your own. If you try it, I’m curious to hear about what you learn.
Bohlmeijer E., Bolier, l., Walburg, J.A., Westerhof G. (2015) Handboek positieve psychologie. Amsterdam: Boom; 2013.
Ryan M. Niemiec (2019) Finding the golden mean: the overuse, underuse, and optimal use of character strengths, Counselling Psychology Quarterly, DOI: 10.1080/09515070.2019.1617674