I’m a morning person – I like to get my chores out of the way first so that I have more options later in the day. There are others who are night owls, their flow is to stay up later and get things done and then sleep in a little later the next day. These patterns are an example of our natural flow.
How does this impact us at work? When working with other people, how often do we stop to ask them about their preferred ways of working. It might be terrible of me to schedule a 7:30am meeting with someone who was a night-owl – but highly effective if that other person was like me and was able to start early. On the other side, how often would we speak up and say that we don’t do our best focused work after 5pm?
We have natural flows and rhythms of working in many other ways
Our conversation habits – the gaps we leave between when we start speaking and others have finished (these are also influenced by our geographic culture)
The ways that we perform repeatable tasks (such as filling in time sheets, drafting emails, transport between and to/from offices)
Ceremonies such as how we start meetings, where we sit/stand how we make tea or coffee
Engagement flows – how we greet people and get started with conversations and work items
We are subconsciously observing a lot of these flows whenever we interact with others, but there is a risk that we are misinterpreting our observations. I have also not given my own natural flows much thought aside from the morning person observation already mentioned. I am about to start working on a few small projects with some colleagues and will try having a conversation about preferred working styles in the next month – a good future topic for this blog.