How You and Your Employees Can Be in the ‘Flow’
Following on from last month’s Executive Focus about how to engage your employees, you can build on employee commitment by giving: job responsibility; autonomy; variety; coaching; support; learning and development opportunities. Once employee engagement is established, organisations have asked us “Even though our employees are very committed and loyal to our organisation, how can we help them be more efficient in their work?”
Employee productivity is key to making organisations more efficient, particularly in times of downsizing where one person may be doing the job of two people.
NoLimits is frequently asked by Line Managers to coach their employees on how to have more impact and be more efficient. One of the key personal development techniques to help individuals be more efficient is by training them to be in the ‘flow’.
Have you noticed how you can easily get distracted at work? You plan to get on with a piece of work, a project or an objective, the deadline date is looming but somehow you can’t get around to starting it, let alone completing it. What should only take you an hour of concentrated effort to complete, ends up taking hours, days or weeks and you end up completing the task in between distractions. Your key distractions end up being the everyday seemingly urgent issues which could have been avoided if you would have planned your work better or the non important, little things that mount up, take time and do not add value to your work.
You can easily increase your productivity at work and you can use these tools at home too by:
1. Deciding what’s important, rather than just working on urgent issues.2. Planning when you are going to complete these important pieces of work.
3. Being in the ‘flow’ when you are working on these important tasks.
‘Flow’ is a mental state, a term that psychologists use to describe optimal experience and was first used by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
In sports this mental state is referred to as ‘being in the zone’ and is the best way to gain competitive advantage. For example Tiger Woods may hit a poor shot, but by the next shot he will have put aside the mental emotions of losing his last shot and be totally immersed in his current shot to make it a success.
To be in the ‘flow’ means you are completely absorbed in what you are doing. It is effortless, masterful and resourceful. You have a feeling of energised focus. You are successful in the process of your activity and you are so immersed in what you are doing, you can easily lose track of time.
In the corporate world the biggest enemies of getting into the ‘flow’ are the constant interruptions and distractions that occur throughout the working day. Conversations with colleagues, emails, telephone calls, text messaging, and meetings all disturb the possibility of being in the ‘flow’.
With all these distractions, how can you easily get into the flow?
By following this straightforward 4 step ‘FLOW’ formula you and your teams will be surprised at the increase in success, responsiveness and productivity.
Step 1 – Focused
The first step to be in the ‘flow’ is to be focused. It usually takes 15 minutes of uninterrupted distractions to get into the ‘flow’. Plan your time and have the intention of when you will be in the ‘flow’ to work on specific assignments, projects and objectives. When you are focused, you will narrow down your activity to what you are absorbed in. You are so focused you feel personal control over your activity.
Step 2 – Limit Distractions
Step 3 – Official
Make it official with your work colleagues that you want to be uninterrupted for a specific period of time. Set expectations that you’ll be working out of the office or in a meeting room and you only want to be interrupted during an emergency. Let your work colleagues know when you will be available for them to contact you. If somebody is taking messages for you let him or her know your availability. The same principles apply when you are working as part of a team. Setting expectations with work colleagues and communication of availability is essential to enable you to work in the ‘flow’.
Step 4 – Work Flow
To be in the ‘flow’, it is essential to enjoy what you are working on. If you or your team is overstretched, challenged and underskilled, anxiety will prevail. If you or your team are overskilled and underchallenged, boredom will set in. To be in the ‘flow ’requires the right amount of challenge and skills. Once you have achieved the right balance of skills and challenge as in diagram below, you will successfully achieve work flow.
NoLimits offers training and one to one coaching on how enhancing team and individual productivity and how to be in the ‘flow’.
Contact us on +65 6232 2466 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.