Flow May Be the Key to Happiness at Work
Shifting from a creative role to a management role at work was probably the worst mistake I ever made career wise. Don’t get me wrong the money was better but my enthusiasm depreciated. I was less interested in working and often found myself taking on side jobs as a way to cope. I started writing more, taking more pictures and launching more websites on the side as a way to deal with my unhappiness at work. So I was essentially working two jobs, one I loved and one I grew to hate. What I recently realized what I was lacking at work was Flow.
What is Flow?
Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity.
Or more simply put it is when you’re completely involved in the task at hand and lose track of time. According to psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihály you are in a state of flow, when:
You are completely focused;
You forget about yourself and others or the world around you;
You lose track of time;
You Feel happy and in control;
You become creative and productive;
I can always tell when I’m in the state of flow because I will suddenly get a burst of energy no matter the time of day, the music in the background mutes and I will completely happy and productive even if it’s 3 in morning. When I’m in the state of flow, I am happy.
According to Csíkszentmihály achieving flow is a true key to happiness, which is why I’ve decided to launch my own business doing the things I love. The best thing about flow is everyone is capable of achieving it. Here are some key steps.
- Choose work you love – that should be too hard to find
- Make sure it’s challenging but not too hard – this is a little bit more challenging. I love designing and building websites but I get frustrated when some of the PHP code is over my head. So make sure your doing something that is a challenge but not too hard so you don’t lose focus
- Find you quiet, peak time – As a mom of two I know this a challenge. I often find myself working at night after the kids go to bed or early in the morning before they wake up.
Are you achieving flow at work? If not, what puts you in that state of mind.