All work and little play is the safest way to lose motivation and slowly slide from a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed entrepreneur to a dull, job-hating human chained to the desk with invisible shackles. But how exactly do you achieve peak productivity and curb waste of time and energy at work? Simply tap into the flow and unleash your full work potential and satisfaction in the office.
The ABC of flow: what flow at work stands for
Flow is the latest buzzword in the entrepreneurial arena, but few people know what the term stands for exactly. Simply put, flow is a highly focused mental state characterized by complete immersion in a task during which a person takes almost no notice of the passage of time or their surroundings.
The term was coined by Hungarian psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi back in the 1970s, and it has since gained popularity among success-minded professionals and career coaches around the world. In essence, flow in the context of work is an equivalent of Zen in spiritual practice, as it relies on the here and now and helps boost focus, productivity, calmness and work satisfaction.
Does flow have a place in the 21st century office?
In the world where multitasking has become a workplace norm, flow is often neglected as it is synonymous with single-tasking. Still, multitasking is a double-edged sword and in some cases it can actually slice rather than double productivity.
That’s where flow comes in: by shifting focus from a lengthy task list to prioritizing goals and tackling them one by one, you’ll achieve the same, if not better, results compared to all-day switching to and fro multiple projects. In this regard, flow has more to do with quality than quantity, but it still doesn’t make it any less of a productivity booster.
By investing maximum mental power into individual tasks, you’ll be able to get more work done and reduce the risk of slip-ups or oversights that commonly occur when trying to stay on top of a number of objectives.
At the same time, flow will curb work-related stress which goes hand in hand with constant focus shifts and interruptions, which will further increase satisfaction and sense of control over the tasks at hand, as well as your daily, weekly, and monthly goals.
Tips for achieving flow
In practical terms, you don’t need your workplace to be perfectly quiet or stripped of frills and trims to achieve peak flow. While office design does matter for long-term productivity, work engagement and wellbeing, flow can be optimized with the help of several different strategies.
Go after your passion
If you hate your job, flow will be of little help in the long run. Instead of signing up for just about any job that comes your way, try to find a line of work you feel truly passionate about. If you’re out of ideas as to what you would love doing for a lifetime, you can turn to Qi Men Dun Jia strategy, or life coaching for useful hints and answers to the job dilemma.
Important tasks first
However difficult or time-consuming certain work tasks can be, they’ll need to be tackled at some point. The sooner you complete the tough projects, the better you will feel about your professional performance, skills, and competences – and this will also keep you motivated for the remaining points on your to do list.
Timing is everything
If morning hours are not exactly your peak performance hour, stick to the time slots when your focus, creativity and output are at their highest. For some people, the peak flow hour is late afternoon or evening, but some entrepreneurs perform better early in the morning. Work out your flow timeline and stick to it for your productivity’s sake.
Clear out distractions
Excess of visual details in the office can completely shatter your flow, so keep the workplace organized with just a few personal touches. Spring clean your work area, throw away useless clutter, wipe the surfaces clean and stay away from social networks during peak hours. The same goes for audio distractions: turn off your phone, turn down the volume on your player and use earplugs if you’re having problems shutting out workplace noise.
Grab focus and keep it
Once you get into the flow, try to stretch your focus for as long as possible. Don’t fall prey to temptations; keep your eyes fixed on tasks at hand and work your way up to longer flow intervals. This may take a while if you’re used to switching between tasks, but it’ll be effort and time well-spent in the long run, as your work productivity will begin to climb with regular daily practice.
Practice flow optimization every day and professional success will not fall short. Tap into the flow, and watch it transform your work experience from drudgery into peak productivity and happiness.