Workplace Fulfilment: 5 Steps to Flow
Named by positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi in the mid 70s, we are all familiar with the concept of flow. That dreamy state of deep concentration in which you experience complete immersion, and can carry out your chosen activity with no apparent effort. Highly pleasurable (and happiness inducing), this state can also improve skill development, performance and creativity. In the workplace, flow means doing high quality work while feeling calm, confident and fulfilled.
If your flow isn't coming naturally, here are 5 things you can do to promote it.
See your work as intrinsically rewarding
We are not all lucky enough to feel passionate about our work all of the time, but flow is more likely to occur when you work on something you feel good about and enjoy. Even if your work isn't your ultimate passion, commit to adjusting your mindset: finding the meaningful in what you do and making your contribution as valuable as possible.
Find the balance between task and skill level
To experience flow, your activity should require your full concentration and feel challenging but doable. For tasks that feel overwhelming: ask for help, break things down into simpler parts, or take time to learn the required skills if you can. For tasks that feel easy: delegate, or shift your focus to identifying ways to improve efficiency and quality. When you hit on the right balance, be sure to stretch your skills slightly by frequently adding new challenges.
Focus wholly on the task at hand and avoid thinking too much about the potential or desired outcomes.
Have clearly defined goals
Though it should feel intrinsically rewarding, your work also needs a specific purpose if you are to slip into flow. Working towards clearly defined goals that can be monitored as you progress helps you stay concentrated and want to keep going.
Flow is a feeling of complete immersion, incompatible with distraction. Don't attempt to multitask, keep your workspace clutter free, and avoid interruptions by identifying the quietest times to focus on challenging tasks.