We all want to be happy at work, not only because we spend a large part of our lives working, but also because it is a source of meaning for many of us. We need meaning in our job so that we can be motivated and engaged, performing with satisfying results. When we work fully concentrated and focused, experiencing such a comprehensive sense of absorption that action and consciousness merge, we enter what is called a state of flow. In this state, we forget about time and what's around us and can fully engage in an activity. This state leads to optimal performance, both cognitively and physically.
In the relatively new field of positive psychology, the concept of "flow" is emerging as a practical way for organizations to increase employee productivity, performance, creativity and satisfaction (source). Meaningful, engaged work not only drives our professional accomplishments, but also contributes to the growth of our business and creates a sense of fulfillment that echoes in all of our personal endeavors (source). At the same time, this state provides us with moments of happiness - it satisfies and fulfills us.
However, achieving flow state is not that easy, and even if one succeeds, staying in it is a challenge. Too often we get distracted by pop-up e-mails, by the ringing of our cell phone or other news, and this makes us abruptly get out of flow state. However, to maximize personal productivity, it is important to get into a flow as frequently as possible.
To do this, we need to work in a focused way, without distractions or interruptions, and also to be well rested and emotionally calm. The easiest way to achieve this is to set aside a time in your schedule when you can work completely alone, without phones, emails, visits or other interruptions. This should be done about twice a day for two hours for a full-time workload (source). To make this easier, it is ideal to know your personal energy cycle and during what times of day you are the most productive and alert. So ideally, you work on the most intense tasks during the parts of the day that work best for you.
It is essential that you then tackle the most significant tasks, which can then be completed and handed in. The valuable tasks are those that have a clear goal, are challenging and have a significant impact on the work.
With this awareness, the state of personal optimal performance or "flow" can be fostered, leading to a higher level of satisfaction, well-being and commitment in the long term.