Go with the Flow: The Answer to Optimal Performance, Renewed Energy, Restored Balance

March 23, 2017 | Camille Preston | Harvard Business School Executive Education
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Just when you thought you were finished with your to-do list for the day, you get one more email alert, one more text message, one more reminder and perhaps, a phone call that comes with a request.

Sound familiar?

We live in an over-wired world with constant demands to always be “on” and always available, which can come with its fair share of consequences.

Workplace engagement is at an all-time low, while complaints about insufficient work-life balance are higher than ever. In their search for answers, people are increasingly turning their attention to flow.

Flow is all about joy, creativity and a total immersion in life.

First identified in the early 1970’s, flow drew people to new ways of optimizing and restoring balance in their lives. Most recently, a surge of flow-focused living drives people to find and sustain the optimal place where they feel fully engaged, motivated to move forward, and open to love every minute of the process.

When in flow, you know where you’re headed and you crave every step of the journey. Increasing flow by 15 – 20 percent, you can double your productivity!

As an organizational leader, imagine the possibilities if your entire team spends more time in flow!

Three ways being in flow can multiply productivity:

1. Optimize output

Getting into flow is about identifying goals and discovering the most efficient ways to achieve them. Flow is also about cleaning house – eliminating old habits and structures that are holding your organization back. Next, flow is about building new systems that efficiently advance progress. Once you discover flow, creating it will become very natural.

2. Expand creative potential

Innovation is an essential part of flow. When you’re in flow, you’re able to approach challenges from multiple angles and choose the approach that is fastest, easiest and least costly.

Another part of flow is failure. Experimenting and learning from your mistakes, and being engaged in purposeful struggle are inevitable when tapping into your full creative potential. The more time you spend in your “learning zone,” the more likely you are to realize how innovative you can be.

3. Heighten well-being

Flow is designed to increase your impact at work, but it’s ultimately contingent on your work-life balance. Flow runs best when you break down your workload into short, intense sprints. In fact, getting enough rest is a must for being in flow. Flow depends on your ability to pause for quality downtime, celebrate your accomplishments, and connect with your body and spirit, family and friends, and values that bring meaning to your life.

Learn about the five phases of flow, explore the neuroscience behind flow, and discover the power of adopting a hacking mindset to become more effective and impactful by joining us for the upcoming webcast, “Hacking Flow: Tips, Tools and Tactics to Perform at your Peak in an Over-wired World.”