I read an article recently in the TopPerformance newsletter (May 2012 edition) that really struck me as useful. So many times, we get bogged down in our daily work lives and lose our way. Perhaps this is why so many people have lost their passion for work or worse- for life! Finding our flow can really help us get back on track and accomplish those things that are the most important to us! For other editions of the TopPerformance newsletter go to:
"Flow" or "being in the zone" is a popular concept these days. The concept of flow was introduced by pshchologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in the 1990's, and ever since, people looking to get more out of their work have been trying to achieve this illusive state of mind.
What is Flow?
During a flow experience, action seems effortless. When making decisions, you may "feel" the right path to take. Thinking is suspended while you're totally immersed in one action after another, and you don't notice time passing. Some people refer to this as being "in the zone".
Who Experiences It?
Athletes, musicians, artists, hobbyists often experience flow, as do people who pray or meditate.
- FIND your peak hours. If you can, do your most important and enjoyable work when you're most alert and focused.
- CLEAR distractions. Carve out time each day when you can concentrate fully on the task at hand.
- DEFINE your task. Choose an activity that has clear rules, steps & boundaries.
- CHOOSE a goal. Flow occurs when people meet easily definable and reachable goals that have clear results. For difficult tasks, set measurable goals that involve small steps.
- DECIDE you'll keep doing the activity for a set time, such as an hour. If your focus or attention wanders, bring it back to your chosen task until it is time to stop.
- CHALLENGE yourself. Choose an activity to master, but not one so difficult it discourages you. Flow rarely happens during passive activities, such as watching television.
- DO something important. You'll find flow more easily if the activity you're doing brings you closer to personal or professional goals you care about, or if it's something you love to do.
- ENJOY yourself. Get lost in the process without worrying about the end result.
- GET the benefits. Individuals for whom flow happens frequently report high satisfaction with their lives and work.