Getting in the zone: A guide to finding flow at work

A term coined by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, flow is the feeling of ‘energised focus, full involvement and enjoyment in the process of an activity.’ It’s the experience of complete immersion in a project, when not even your phone pulls you away from what you’re doing.

how-to guide on finding flow

In short, flow is ‘optimal experience’. The question is: With the likes of distracting managers and meetings, can you really experience flow at work?

We’ve put together a few helpful tips on how you can find your flow in the workplace.

Compartmentalise

How to guide on finding flow

Being able to shut out distractions and completely focus on a singular task is tremendously valuable for finding flow. Block your social media when it comes to crunch time by installing Nanny for Google Chrome. Oh, and don’t forget to hit aeroplane mode on your mobile.

The excuse department

How to guide on finding flow

‘Everybody procrastinates’ according to Joseph Ferrari, PhD, professor of psychology at DePaul University in Chicago. People will put off tasks for many reasons and the fear of failure makes people generate excuses to never get started.

At Turbine, we use Basecamp to chop down our big projects into manageable tasks. We make sure there’s a clear, actionable path ahead. This makes diving into the deep end a lot more appealing, meaning the chances of finding flow are much higher.

Automate the non-essential

How to guide on finding flow

As a busy worker, you’re a seasoned expert at multi-tasking. Although you might feel productive, the reality is that ‘brief mental blocks created by shifting between tasks can cost as much as 40 percent of someone’s productive time,’ according to a study by the American Psychological Association.

To find flow, you must free up your time and focus on the singular. It’s estimated that up to a quarter of a CEO’s time can be outsourced. Use Turbine to automate non-essential tasks like expense claims and purchase orders; you can even remote brew your morning cup of coffee with the likes of iKettle to save those precious minutes.

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Prepare yourself

Prepare yourself to find flow

Finding flow requires an immense level of focus. To reach this state requires the correct frame of mind. Prepare yourself by switching off your email and invest in the likes of a lock box for your mobile phone.

Before you sit down at your desk, fuel up on the right foods and drink plenty of water. We recommend installing the app Headspace and conducting a quick ten-minute meditation to really help get you in the zone.

Flow is in the challenge

Challenge yourself to find flow

Finding flow requires hard work. It’s not about conducting easy tasks that you enjoy. Flow is when we ‘encounter a challenge that is testing for our skills, and yet our skills and capacities are such that it is just about possible to meet this challenge’, according to positive psychology.

Flow is important

The need for instant gratification is a common trait in today’s digital world. On the internet alone, more than half of the web pages we view receive less than 15 seconds of our attention, and who can blame us when the average attention span is now only eight seconds long.

As a remote-working writer, I find the desire for instant results enhanced. It’s not enough for me to just ‘look busy’ at the office, because there isn’t one. The catch however, is that it takes time and effort to produce high quality work.

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Have you ever experienced flow at work? Let us know in the comments below!

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