Getting Into Flow

Flow brings more happiness at work

Flow - happiness at workManagement professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, in his seminal book “Flow” talks about the importance of having a balance between challenge and skills in your work.  The original work concluded that too much challenge without adequate skills will create levels of stress, while too little will bring boredom.

Later work concluded that the interplay between challenge and skills creates a rather more sophisticated pattern, so that even a balance between the two can fail to generate the real happiness at work that comes from finding your flow.


Happiness at work from understanding Flow

The more sophisticated diagram shows that real Flow comes only when challenge and skills are both at a high level.   And, depending on your attitude to work, happiness at work can be found in other sections.

Those whose life purpose lies outside of work may find the “relaxation” sector suits them very well – and of course, much of our best work is done while we are doing things that seem easy to us (but not to them).  Others may find their happiness in the “control” and “arousal” sectors.


3 conditions of Flow creating happiness at work

Csikszentmihalyi suggests the following three conditions for flow at work:

1. goals are clear

2. feedback is immediate

3. a balance between opportunity and capacity (skills)

It is important to know this as the leader of a team, so that you can help your staff be in flow in their work.  And as a team member yourself, understanding the balance between challenge and skills can bring you flow, and happiness at work.


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About The Author

Andrew Horder

Founder of Joyful Genius Coaching, Andrew has been working with business owners for many years, helping them find and maintain their unique focus - those activities and opportunities that they love, and will produce their success, what Andrew calls your Joyful Genius! Andrew's first book, The A to Z of Loving Work is available from Amazon

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