Work Flow: How Challenge and Focus Can Motivate Progress

Getting your productivity mojo back might mean doing more than just taking a break

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For some of us,  kicking back poolside while working remote seems like a great fantasy of the perfect workplace environment. That dungeon cubicle can seem like it’s closing in on you some days, leading to feelings of unfulfillment, stress and loathing. You just can’t get it together, and your work flow seems more like a well that’s run dry.

One writer explores how to facilitate a productive workday by examining the true concept of “flow” and how challenges and focus can truly facilitate productivity. Rocco Brown-Morris of LiveCareer.com writes for Brazen Careerist:

Psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi first proposed the concept of flow over four decades ago. The idea can be paraphrased as total immersion in an activity.

Think of a writer who goes into a typing frenzy and drafts 30 pages of a novel in a sleepless night, or an Olympic sprinter who blocks out 100,000 screaming fans to break the tape at the finish line.

Flow refers to these “in the zone” moments when a person’s at peak performance, completely focused and using positive energy to reach a goal. Hours feel like minutes, and all self-consciousness recedes into the background.

If you find yourself losing your workday “flow,” Brown-Morris recommends understanding the following characteristics:

  1. You have a clear objective.
  2. You’re properly motivated; the task is within your capabilities, yet not too simple.
  3. You’re completely focused and engaged.
  4. You have a direct influence on the outcome.
  5. You find the task rewarding or completing the task is a reward in and of itself.

Thus, a job that includes work you’re passionate about or that you love doing facilitates more workplace flow. Think about this the next time you feel like the walls are caving in on you. You may need more than just a lunchtime walk in the park.

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