The secret to inspired work is flow

When you enter a state of flow whilst working, the quality of your output is much better than when you’re distracted. In my last article Smarter ways to boost confidence at work, I explained the flow state and how it influences the way you work. These are the eight factors that can help you access flow.

That’s all great to know. But what can you DO with this knowledge? Here are some practical tips on bringing the flow factor to life in your work.

Set your own goals

When you define your own goals, you are fully committed to them. You aren’t second-guessing your actions. Once you’ve created a roadmap in your head from point A to point B, you’re on autopilot as you move towards your goal. Your focus is clear and defined.

Take on tasks that stretch you without stressing you

Dr. Csikszentmihalyi says: “Contrary to what we usually believe, the best moments in our lives, are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times… The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.” Aim for a stretch that inspires but doesn’t over-extend.

Manage your time

Clear the clutter in both your mental space and physical space, so you can focus without interruption. The anxiety of deadlines or to-do lists, isn’t conducive to flow. Find the right time, so you can concentrate and momentarily forget everything else that isn’t relevant.

Use your signature strengths every day

What are your signature strengths? They are your key passions and abilities. Recognising a strength and using it, instead of focusing on your weaknesses, will give you a sense of invigoration and joy (instead of exhaustion). Remember that strengths are more than skills — because they energise you.

People with autotelic personalities actively look for challenges. They challenge their own ideas. They keep pushing themselves just outside of their comfort zone. This allows them to live a life of meaning. Take a look at your own experiences. Are you doing things that you love, things that challenge you and stretch you intellectually? Getting into flow will change the way you experience things – you will no longer have ordinary moments. Every moment will become extraordinary.

About the author of this article

Eleanor Shakiba is passionate about bringing out the best in people at work. She has been a trusted coach and trainer to thousands of professionals in high-intellect fields. Eleanor is based in Sydney and has an international client base. Her expertise is in using positive psychology to build high-performing leaders and teams. Find out more about her online courses here. Find out how Eleanor can help you or your team here.