Life in the flow: how to enjoy work and everyday activities

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi devoted most of his life to studying happiness and deduced patterns in which a person feels that he does not just exist but lives.

Personally, Csikszentmihalyi and his colleague Reed Larson collected more than 70,000 pages of data from 2,300 respondents, and researchers from other countries have tripled this figure. The respondents were teenagers and older adults, adult men and women from the USA, Europe, and Asia. Please find out the results of these studies, but first, subscribe to our Telegram channel. We often publish such valuable articles!

What is the flow state?

All participants noted particular states, later called the flow by the study’s author. States in which consciousness is filled with various experiences, feelings, desires, and thoughts are in harmony. People were so carried away by some occupation that they plunged into it headlong and did not notice the passage of time.

Flow occurs when you do what you love and give it your all. It can overtake you during your favorite hobby and work (read Five obstacles to turning a hobby into a profession). As a rule, the flow comes when a person clearly understands the goal, which requires a specific reaction.

The task should not be too easy, as you can easily slip into a routine here. It should not be too difficult either, as a person in such a situation is disappointed and begins to worry without even trying to solve the problem. There must be a challenge in the task so that for its solution, all his skill is required from a person.

The state of flow leads to personal growth. A person in the Rise zone is focused on solving the problem, but he is not yet very alert and not very well in control of the situation. To achieve flow, he will need to acquire new skills.

In the “Control” state, a person feels happy, strong, and satisfied, but he lacks concentration, dedication, and a sense of the importance of his work. He will be able to achieve the flow if he increases the complexity of the task.

People achieve flow when they do things they love: gardening, singing in a choir, dancing, playing board games, or hanging out with close friends. Often the flow happens at work. And very rarely, the flow overtakes us when we are passive: for example, we watch TV.

How to get job satisfaction

Work gives a sense of the richness of life, but at the same time, we are saddened by the beginning of Monday and joyfully welcome Friday on social networks.

In ancient times, leisure was a fleeting phenomenon. A man working in the field could carve out rare moments of rest for himself. The attitude to work as something complex and undesirable remains in people’s minds, although, for the most part, we no longer work from dawn to dusk.

According to the questionnaires of the study participants, the beep was often triggered when they were engaged in streaming activities at work. They faced a difficult task, the solution of which required the utmost concentration and the application of creative efforts.

The work has clear goals and a measurable result: we either see that the company’s business has gone up, or we will hear a comment from the boss.

At work, we experience more positive feelings than we might think.

How work affects the quality of life is not determined from the outside. It depends on how a person works and what experience he draws from the tasks assigned to him. For work to be interesting, it must alternate between a challenge that requires maximum effort and simple tasks during which we are convinced that we have achieved something in our profession.

There are many ways to do the same thing. Look for alternatives and experiment until you find the best one. When an employee gets promoted, it is mainly because they were looking for non-standard paths in their previous position.

Rest is the highest happiness, isn’t it?

Often, we feel bored and lazy and prefer to fill our brains with ready-made solutions, such as watching endless series or surfing the Internet. Or we resort to more potent stimulants like alcohol or gambling.

Leisure accounts for about a quarter of our free time. A modern person, as a rule, devotes it to three main activities: the consumption of media materials, conversations, and outdoor activities. Each of these activities takes between 4 and 12 hours per week.

Passive rest quickly occupies our brain, but there is no challenge in it; there is no task after the solution, of which it will be joyful to remember how great it was, albeit not easy.

From outdoor activities, the return is always more significant, but it also takes a lot of effort to prepare. That’s why we often prefer to stay at home than call friends and go for a run or bike ride.

If you are too tired or worried about something, you may not have enough internal discipline to overcome the initial obstacle.

The first step towards a better quality of life is to get the most out of your daily activities. Think about what activities give you the most incredible feeling of happiness and what motivates you to new achievements. And return to them as often as possible. Read The technology of happiness: yesterday, today, tomorrow.

Plan your time, especially on weekends. Then during the week, it will not seem to you that the time allotted for rest was wasted.

Human needs human

People are most united by streaming activities because they give happiness and the feeling that you have achieved something meaningful together. You immediately feel the return of this relationship.

Communication with friends gives the most positive emotions. We often lose contact with our school and then university friends because we outgrow the interests that once connected us. Friendship, like love, cannot freeze. It manifests itself in caring for another person and mutual development.

Maintain relationships that move you forward. One of the most common complaints of people going through a midlife crisis is the lack of true friends.

When people pay attention to each other or to the same activity, the chance of experiencing shared flow increases.

How to achieve a flow state

In general terms, find an activity you like that presents an exciting challenge. Learn to let go of everyday problems while doing what you love.

On a local level: you should be able to focus on solving the problem. You can’t be distracted by phone calls or “urgent” questions. The task should be enjoyable, and its results should be measurable. In solving, you apply a maximum of knowledge and skills.

Of course, a job you love contributes to flow. Check now if your job is right for you! Take the Menteora career guidance test; artificial intelligence will name your most suitable professions. The accuracy of the test is 70-80% because we use a mathematical-statistical algorithm (read about Menteora's unique career guidance methodology).