Have you heard of the Flow State?
Wise men say, if you truly enjoy what you do, you never know where the time flew… Sounds doubtful, right? It did to me as well. In fact, when I was new to this world, it was especially difficult for me to figure out how people were so engrossed in work, yet happy. I also couldn’t figure how they would achieve so much without feeling stressed and most importantly, I couldn’t figure out what I had to do to get there.
To be honest, much as I tried, it seemed impossible for me to solve this. To love your job was one thing, but to achieve so much, an absolute mystery. However, things became clearer when I was introduced to the idea of the Flow State.
For the uninitiated, the Flow State is one where people are so immersed in what they are doing that there is little scope for them to even acknowledge something that isn’t a part of their plan of action.
Rules that make it Flow
The idea of being so engrossed at work that your productivity is at its optimum is a great thought, but putting it in action takes effort and quite a bit of discipline. And here’s what makes it tick.
- Define your goals. Unless you know what you have to do, achieving them can be very, very hard.
- Eliminate distractions, internal and external. If you have your mind wandering, trying to figure things that aren’t on your To Do list, chances are, you’ll end up confused and distracted.
- Know what you can achieve. It is important to have a realistic idea about your skills, talents and limitations. Biting off more than you can chew can often lead to burnouts which are more evil than good.
- Be able to judge yourself. There’s no point in toiling for hours if you are incapable of judging your progress and performance. When you fail to do so, you often end up having to redo most of what you spend hours on completing.
- It might be hard, but loosening up and saying goodbye to self-consciousness is a very important part of the process. You see, it is only when you bid goodbye to relevant inhibitions that you can truly experience peace.
- Don’t try to track yourself in terms of time. While it is important to be able to finish work on time, giving yourself strict deadlines won’t help at all.
- Be in control of the situation. If you feel like you’re flailing, chances for panic modes to set in are very high.
- Make sure you love what you’re doing. If there’s no love, there is no scope to go with the flow!
Flow at work
While most cases of Flow are linked to success stories of writers, artists or athletes, it thankfully isn’t restricted to only creative professions. If you think about it, Flow can easily occur when you are so focused on your tasks that everything seems effortless!
The minute you focus wholeheartedly on what you have to do, there is an immediate spike in performance.
Moreover, Flow can encourage individuals to learn more at work. Why? Skill is an integral part of achieving this state. When you lack a skill, achieving complete focus can be harder than you expect. In fact, it might even seem boring without anything challenging your abilities after the first few times.
Being engaged at work is not merely about turning up everyday and sitting at your chair for 8 straight hours or more. Those who have experienced Flow know better. When you are so engrossed in work that you love, not only does the quality of your work improve, it also leads to greater work satisfaction. It also boosts creativity which in turn has a great effect on performance and productivity and even intuitive decision-making. But to expect everyone to experience this state is not the right way to go. After all, if there is no love for the job, there’s no way you can go with the flow!