Cathy Wasserman, LMSW
Cathy Wasserman, LMSW

OWN Index

Optimal Work Needs (OWN) Inventory

How clear are you on what your working style is, what you need to contribute your best and how to integrate work and rest to sustain yourself over the long term? Below is an inventory that takes less than 5 minutes to complete. It will help you clarify how much you are "OWNing" yourself on the job!

Your Optimal Working Style
  • How clear are you on what your working style is and which conditions need to be present and absent for you to do your best work, on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being most clear? For example, perhaps you need a private office with a door in order to properly focus or you need to exercise every morning before coming into the office to hit the ground running.
  • How effective are your methods for dealing with "attention residue" — the state of being half-engaged in a new task after switching from a previous task — on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being most effective?
  • How strong are the structures you have in place to set ambitious yet realistic to-do lists for yourself each day and week, including time to step back, reflect and do deep uninterrupted work, on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being very strong?
Your Optimal Work/Rest Ratio
  • How clear are you on the optimal number of hours per day you can do your most focused, creative and impactful work, on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being most clear?
  • How clear are you on how many breaks you need each day, when to take them, their optimal length and how you should spend them for maximum rejuvenation, on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being most clear?
  • How realistic are you in giving yourself the time and space that you really need to both prepare for and follow up on meetings? (hint: most meetings require about 5-20 minutes of prep and 5-20 minutes of follow-up), on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being very realistic?
Your Optimal Relationship with Technology
  • How strong are your boundaries around the use of social media, the internet, smartphones and other devices, on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being very strong?
  • How effective are your systems and attitude in managing your email inbox so that you maximize both your focus and your relationships, on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being most effective?
Your Optimal Relationship with Yourself and Your Colleagues
  • How much responsibility do you take in respectfully but directly communicating what you need to do your best work, on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being full responsibility? For example, if you know that you work most efficiently when you receive positive feedback separately from constructive criticism then it is important to communicate that.
  • How well do you balance attending to your own feelings and needs with those of your boss and/or colleagues, on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being most balanced?

  • Total = Your OWN Index

    80-100 points: Congratulations! You likely have a very healthy grasp of your OWN, putting you in an excellent position to contribute significant value at work while sustaining yourself in a rich, full life. You’re in touch with your feelings and needs and are skilled at communicating them, you know a good deal about your optimal working style, including how to have a balanced relationship with technology and how much rest you need to stay productive and motivated. You could likely benefit from monthly check-ins and reflection on how you can maintain your OWN to sustain a fulfilling career and an energizing life.

    60-79 points: You appear to have a relatively healthy sense of your OWN and have some good structures and practices in place to take charge of meeting your needs and maximizing your contributions. You could likely benefit from weekly check-ins and reflection on how to build your OWN even more. You may want to take a closer look at the areas where you scored lower and consider ways to increase your practices there. Additionally, you may want to consider incorporating regular support, whether informal (such as having an OWN buddy) or formal (a coach, therapist or other partner) to develop strategies to more fully know and own your OWN.

    Less than 60 points: Your OWN index may need immediate attention! You likely could benefit from both informal and formal daily check-ins and reflection on what you need to do your best work in order to more fully step up to the plate of leading yourself. You may want to consider incorporating regular support, whether informal (such as having an OWN buddy) or formal (a coach, therapist or other partner) to examine what gets in the way of taking the reins of your OWN. Perhaps it’s a temporary situation (for example, you got a promotion or new job and aren't yet sure how to optimally balance your work/rest ratio) or a more long-standing issue. You will likely benefit from some or all of the following: building your self-awareness of your working style and how to minimize "attention residue" along with developing a more balanced relationship with technology and making the time and space for uninterrupted work.