Go With Your Flow

Have you ever felt like you were firing on all cylinders, totally immersed and almost in a state of ecstasy, so much so that you even lost track of time? Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi defines this as Being in a “state of flow” and at one’s peak productivity and creativity. Csikszentmihalyi argues that achieving flow every day is the key to happiness and that it is totally achievable if you follow a few simple steps. Using the scientific rationale that our nervous system can only process up to 110 bits of information per second and that listening to someone speak requires at least 60 bits, he explains why it is impossible to listen to two people at once – and why when we are in a flow state, fully productive and creative, we almost lose track of everything else. It takes a level of skill and concentration to reach the state of flow, and it is all encompassing.

We are lucky to work in an industry where we are greeted with opportunities for productivity every single day. This means we each have the opportunity to achieve a flow state every day. Try following Csikszentmihalyi’s steps to find flow state. The essence of this article is: Find a challenge, develop your skills in order to be able to meet that challenge, set clear goals, focus completely on the task at hand, make sure you’ve set aside sufficient time, and monitor your emotional state. See what happens when you go for your flow.

What activity, personal or professional, brings you to your state of flow? Describe how you feel when performing this activity. How might we incorporate this behavior into our everyday so that the positive effects of flow can permeate our work?

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