Increase Productivity: 5 Steps to Get into the Flow

‘Finding ‘flow’. ‘Getting into the zone’. ‘The muse’. Whatever you call it, it eludes us all at some point.

We could all do with finding more ‘flow’ – it’s what makes us productive and is when we produce our best work!

The benefits of flow psychology

  • You’re 100% focused on the task =  productivity is increased
  • You forget about the world around you = stress is reduced
  • You lose track of time = you’re feeling happy and in control

We can access this state of mind more easily than we think, and so here are five steps for flow experience in the workplace to increase productivity!

1. Self-control

Self-control is a key element of getting into the ‘zone’ and a ‘flow-like’ state. In Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi’s book ‘Flow’, he says that when in the ‘zone’, we “exercise control over the contents of our consciousness, rather than allowing ourselves to be passively determined by external forces”. It’s not an easy task mastering self control to find ‘flow’, but you can do this yourself by focusing on three steps to increase productivity.

  • Finding your standards: It’s important to make realistic goals that are achievable and so finding your standards is what you will use to determine whether it’s helpful for getting into the zone.
  • Performance monitoring: Feedback is great for productivity, so it’s important to monitor your performance and adjust as you see fit when working on a task or goal.
  • Being aware of your energy: Having an understanding of when and where you have more energy to undertake and complete something is pivotal to entering a state of flow.

2. Environment

The environment you are submerged in is key to being in the ‘flow’. While routine is the basis for productivity, achieving flow isn’t likely by doing the exact same thing as the day before.

It’s good to seek out an environment that challenges you. This doesn’t necessarily mean your literal environment, but carrying out actions that take you out of your comfort zone and push you to think outside the box. Flow activities can be something as simple as contributing when in a team meeting at work if you’re shy.

3. Skill

In order to trigger the ‘flow’, you need to master the skill to a certain degree. One way of achieving this is by engaging in ‘Deliberate Practice’. This is where every single task has a certain goal that is clear and can be analysed, measured, and optimised, to maximise on performance.

If you break the task down into individual sections and concentrate attentively on each section until your master it. As you go through each task, you are reinforcing your mastery of the skill.

4. Task

You need to feel an authentic connection to the work you are doing to enter the ‘flow’. If you don’t care about the work you are doing and it doesn’t excite you, you’re not going to pay much attention or carry it out to the best of your ability – this makes absolute sense, to be honest.

Devising a personal mission statement over what your goals are and what the desired outcome is should help ensure that not only are you on your way to achieving ‘flow’, but you are also being pushed out of your comfort zone.

5. Reward

Being in the ‘zone’ means working on something that you are intrinsically motivated to complete. This means not looking for extrinsic motivation such as money and praise (although they can be byproducts of the work), and finding real meaning behind what you are working on. Intrinsic motivation is working on something for the sake of it as you genuinely enjoy it and the reward is that you feel good about it.

Hopefully this post will resonate with you and help you in finding your flow to achieve your best work, no matter the task at hand. You can’t go wrong with an increase in productivity and happiness in your life!

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