The State of Flow and Recommendations to Reach It

Nowadays, companies are investing a significant amount of money trying to figure out how to make working hours more productive. In recent years, there have been studies that show the relationship between high performance and happiness. 

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You need to look at all the benefits available: working from home, flexible time, games/relax rooms, extended holidays, etc.

Yet, productivity could also be affected by another critical variable related to the correct use of time. As part of the latest research, the daily working hours are under discussion as well.

Background and Trends of Labor Evolution

For a better understanding, we need to know the origin. During the 19-century, workers didn’t have work rights. After a huge fight, American labor unions set up the “40-hour work week,” which still applies in many places.

“Leaders are remarkably good at anchoring on the past even when it’s irrelevant to the present.” Adam Grant, psychologist. 

Time passed very quickly, and the internet showed up to change everything. We are living in the technology/knowledge revolution where some algorithms can automate and replace many jobs that until very recently were done by humans.

Reaching Flow

Now, more than ever, the difference will be made by people who can apply their knowledge and adapt quickly to the constant changes. We already know that the daily routine forces us to be multitasking. Even when we don’t want it, the power of concentration is limited, so to unlock the potential, it’s crucial to look for time to be focused.

Have you ever gotten to the office earlier and performed many tasks in a short time? How did that work?

The logical explanation is that you reach a state of full immersion in an activity called “the zone” or “flow.” Psychological flow captures the positive mental state of being completely absorbed, focused, and involved in your activities at a certain point. It derives enjoyment from being engaged in that activity, helping us to be more creative, productive, and happy.

According to some reports, top executives are up to 500% more productive when they’re in a state of flow.

The Road to Productive Work – Tips to increase flow

Can this be implemented? Below are some examples and good practices that will allow progress to go in this direction.

A company in the United States experimented with a small group. They set up a simple rule. If a team member has their headphones on, you are not able to disturb them unless it’s an urgent issue that can’t wait. The people who were involved claimed that they felt less stressed and more in control of their working lives, and this led to better performance.

Other methodologies are currently widely used, and that helps us to seek concentration: 

Pomodoro Technique

It is a time management method based on 25-minute stretches of focused work broken by 3-to-5 minute breaks and 15-to-30 minute breaks following the completion of four work periods.

Pareto Principle

Also known as the 80/20 rule, is a theory maintaining that 80 percent of the output from a given situation or system is determined by 20 percent of the input.

Regarding the daily work time and given the above, the essential is not the quantity but the quality. If the way of working adopted a productive mindset, the working days could become shorter than they are now.  

To make this trend real, we need to encourage a new type of environment without constant distractions. This could be a long process because, in many cases, it would imply a massive corporate cultural change.

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