This is Part 3 of The Love What You Do Series. Find the links for parts 1 and 2 at the end of this post.
Flow is a concept developed by positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi and it’s defined as a state where you are completely immersed in the task at hand, where you are creative and productive, and where you forget about the world around you.
It’s basically the work version of reaching a state of zen.
Here’s how to reach a state of flow in your work:
- Do work that you love
Whether it’s your industry, your role, or a specific project you are working on, it’s important to feel passionate about what you do. If you don’t feel like you currently love what you do, take some time to reflect on what you do like about your work. Because humans are such adaptive creatures, we tend to get used to our current situation fairly quickly and take things for granted.
Volunteer to lead projects that you are genuinely interested in, make career moves that align with your interests, and spend some time learning about various topics if you still aren’t sure what your purpose is.
2. Choose challenging work but nothing that is above your skill level
We get bored quickly when we perform tasks that are too easy for our skill level. Make sure you have a job where you feel challenged but not overwhelmed.
3. Stop multitasking and remove distractions
When it’s time to get to work, turn your phone off, place a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your office door, put on some noise cancelling earphones, and remove access to the internet.
You’ll never reach flow with the constant distractions that surround you between technology and co-workers.
4. Practice strengthening your attention span
When you sit down to work, commit to correcting yourself when you become distracted. After you’ve removed distractions (see above) you will still deal with the issue of mind wandering.
Accept that this is normal, but practice noticing the mind wandering as soon as it happens and refocusing on the work at hand. This is very similar to techniques that skilled meditators use and your attention span will improve over time if you practice this regularly.
Achieving flow at work is part of what makes life enjoyable. It can bring us joy and happiness in our careers, which makes us better at what we do and a more attractive person to be around. If you’d like to learn more about flow, you can find Csíkszentmihályi’s book, The Classic Work on How to Achieve Happiness, here.
Latest posts by Ludell Jones (see all)
- Why 45% of New Companies Fail (Product/Market Fit is Mission #1) - February 21, 2018
- View from the C-Suite: Principles of Negotiating - February 21, 2018
- Renew Your Love of Your Work by Achieving Flow - February 14, 2018