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Are you looking forward to your week?

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Monday mornings can inspire mixed feelings in people.  In some they can spark the end of the weekend and a return to the drudgery of work.  For others, work is something that ignites their passions and the upcoming week is something they look forward to.

When you really love your work you are in what sporting folks might call the zone.  In organizational psychology it’s regarded as being in a state of flow.  I’m sure you recognize this state when you’re in it.  It’s a state of complete immersion in an activity.  Mihály Csíkszentmihályi describes the mental state of flow as “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”

It’s a pretty special feeling, made all the more so because it happens relatively infrequently during the regular course of our day.  It’s estimated that just 20% of people experience a state of flow during a typical day.  15% believe they’re never ever in a state of flow.  The more standard state of being in the workplace is one of stress or boredom.

Which is far from ideal for having a productive workforce.  Arguably the key to eliciting feelings of flow is when we align what we’re doing with what we enjoy.  It’s something that occurs frequently for folks who are doing jobs they love doing, and it seems likely that high performers, in whatever field, have managed to obtain this balance in their lives.  Think about the benefits for a little bit.

When we do something we love, we naturally seek out others who share this passion with us.  These connections inevitably involve a constant flow of advice and feedback.  Knowledge courses between us, each one seeking to help and improve in equal measure. This desire correlates easily with a desire for new challenges.  Whether this is gradual improvements in performance or new challenges to take on.

What might prove stressful for someone that does not share such a passion actually becomes exhilarating for those that do. Imagine therefore, if you can tap into that level of passion for your work each day.  Imagine if all of your employees have that level of energy and excitement each morning when they come into work.

Of course, employee engagement stats suggest that this state doesn’t happen for many people.  Whilst a wholesale career change may do the trick, there are also smaller things you can do within your current role to enhance your flow.  One of the more achievable is taking on a task that is stretching your abilities to their max.

Getting into a state of flow inevitably makes Monday mornings a source of joy rather than dread.  How many of you are feeling that energy this morning?

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