In a post-pandemic world, how can one re-think their working life to create more significant levels of flow? We have five ways to get you started!
The pandemic upended the world of work and in the process gave knowledge workers across society a precious gift. In one swift stroke, generations of inertia of what defined "the workplace" have been swept away. The new normal remains largely undefined, leaving workers and company leadership looking sideways, waiting for someone to figure out the future of the workplace.
In this critical moment, take the time to ask yourself some basic questions. When do you do your highest and best work? When do you create the most value for your team? When are you working at the edges of your capabilities? When are you happiest?
For most of us, if we took the time to answer these questions carefully, the answer would invariably trace back to the same point: the time when you are in a state of flow. This mental state is defined by total concentration devoted to a specific activity. When you are in the flow state, your efforts become so focused that the world at the periphery blurs. Your sense of time distorts. The task at hand becomes more play than work. You don't work out of a sense of coercion but simply for the joy of doing. Plato compared an individual in this condition to being in a god-like state or residing on the "Isle of the Blessed."
Most knowledge workers have visited this isle, but few reside there for any protracted length of time. There are several reasons for the elusiveness of working in the flow state. First and foremost, finding and maintaining flow is hard. Working intensely creatively at the edges of your abilities takes courage, confidence, practice, and patience. Achieving this mindset repeatedly requires creating and maintaining an environment that supports highly-focused work.
A second related factor is that the infrastructure of our modern working lives is aligned against flow. Steven Pressfield's book The War of Art describes the flow state's arch-enemy: "the resistance." For Pressfield, "the resistance" is every excuse you give yourself for not bucking in and doing the creative work you are capable of. Meetings, emails, kid's soccer practice, your noisy co-worker, etc. Collectively, the world conspires against you getting into states of hyperfocus and producing great work.
A third factor that hinders you from experiencing flow is our current chaotic state of communication. Cal Newport's book A World Without Email carefully chronicles how the rise in asynchronous communications, specifically email, led to an exponential growth in the proportion of time you spend communicating, as opposed to doing focussed work. Newport's recommendation to critically examine the amount of communication that is actually necessary, relative to the amount of deeply focussed work you achieve, is an essential exercise to anyone serious about regularly and reliably entering into flow state work.
So, in a post-pandemic world, how can one re-think their working life to create more significant levels of flow? geniant recommends the following five steps:
So, as you embark on the next chapter of your own work journey, ask yourself how to make working in the flow state a more deliberate part of your working life. If you could achieve that, what would be possible in the next month, year, or decade? If you are a leader in your company, what would it mean for your company if you empowered your team to do the same? If your people traveled out to the edges of their capabilities, what would they bring back that you could share with the world?
"If you are a leader in your company, what would it mean for your company if you empowered your team to do the same?"
David Dewane is geniant's Chief Experience Officer
You can connect with him on Linkedin and follow him on Twitter
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