6 Secrets for Creating the Perfect Workflow

workflowSometimes, no matter how hard we try, we just can’t seem to get anything done. We’ll surf the web or stare out of the window instead of doing the work.

Then, there are times when we’re on a deadline and the work has to get done. As the pressure mounts our performance plummets. Our stress levels skyrocket and productivity grinds to a halt.

 

3 Phases of Performance

Both of these scenarios represent an extreme of the workflow spectrum. Disengagement and frazzle make it impossible to get things done. Thankfully there’s a performance sweet spot hiding somewhere in-between. Flow is a performance and productivity game changer.

 

Finding Flow

Flow is the zone of optimal performance. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the architect of the flow factor, explains this feeling as a state of concentration and complete absorption with the activity at hand. It’s when we harness positive energy and emotions, then channel them into our work. As a result we’re engaged, un-distracted, and enjoying the work.

 

The Path to the Perfect Workflow

Now that we know flow exists, we have to tap into it; we have to put it to work.

  1. Remove distractions -There’s no chance of maxing out your mental focus when emails and text messages are flying in. Turn off your phone and remove all distractions from your desk. Block off time in your schedule for the work that needs to be done.
  2. Define an outcome – Are you busy or are you doing busy work? There’s a big difference between the two. No meaningful work will get done if you’re in a constant state of reactionary work. That’s when you act on every request or challenge that comes across your desk. Instead of doing tasks as they present themselves, try defining the outcome first. With a clear vision of what needs to be done you’re more likely to focus and engage in the work.
  3. Work within your limits – A main factor of flow is working within or at the brink of your abilities. You’re being challenged by the work, but not crushed by it. If it’s too difficult you’ll become stressed and frazzle will set in. Avoid a meltdown by delegating tasks that do not fit your skill set or asking for help from someone with complementary skills.
  4. Tune in- It’s important to tune into your emotions and energy levels. If you begin to slide from flow to frazzle it might be time to back it off. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break. As a matter of fact, research has shown it to be a very effective way of recharging our batteries.
  5. Work it out – A regular exercise routine can help regulate stress hormones, increase energy levels, and improve self confidence. It’s also a great way to blow off steam and free your mind. There’s no need to spend hour after hour in the gym either. Try walking at lunch, biking to work, a regular yoga practice, or 15 minutes of exercise three days each week can be transformative.
  6. Just breath – There are a growing number of entrepreneurs making meditation part of their daily routine. In an effort to calm the mind, manage emotions, and achieve mindfulness these individuals are simply sitting in silence. You can try it for yourself by first finding a comfortable place to sit. Then clear your head of the nonsense and chatter that clouds your thoughts. Finally, just breathe.

It’s important to remember that flow, motivation, and inspiration don’t strike out of nowhere. It’s our responsibility to channel our thoughts, energy, and emotions to create the perfect workflow.

Do you use any tricks to get into a great workflow? 

About Joe Vennare

Joe is the co-founder of Hybrid Athlete where he writes, instructs and speaks about all things fitness. But, there’s more to him than just exercise, so he moonlights as a writer, bookworm and self-professed knowledge addict. For more, follow his business and fitness escapades on Twitter, @JoeVennare

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