It’s no secret that numerous aspects can affect your overall workplace performance. But there are factors that often get overlooked or ignored completely. We’re going to explain one of them—why it is important, and how you can utilize it to maximize your performance in the workplace.
The first is something that psychologists call flow state. In this state, a person may be so involved in an activity that nothing else can distract them or shift their focus; the experience is so enjoyable or attention-grabbing that the person continues the task for the sheer sake of doing it. It is said that when someone is operating within this state, they are at their most productive and have a higher-quality output. Your mind is focusing only on the present and fully immersing itself in the task at hand, giving it the liberty to come up with the best solution and steps of action. This is because the mind quiets down during this period, providing the individual with the proper mental focus and clarity to complete the task(s), rather than being in a mental state of constant pressure. This state of pressure refers to what is known as “hustle culture”—the belief that constantly being busy and mentally multitasking automatically equates to being productive. As it turns out, this is actually detrimental rather than helpful, because it leads to unsustainable expectations, burnout, and can be just downright exhausting.
Productivity isn’t the only positive outcome of flow state—another benefit is happiness. Optimally performing a task and producing a high-quality output releases dopamine in the brain.
So how do we achieve this flow state to drastically improve our work output? The answer is simple: minimize anxiety and stress by fully immersing yourself in the task itself rather than pressuring yourself by thinking about the desired outcome. Think of weightlifting as an example. If your goal is to lift 300 lbs., you don’t go into the gym on your first day approaching the heaviest weights. You start with what you’re capable of, gradually adding to it as you realize you’re able to handle more over time.
Remember, the end result relies on the process that got you to that point—don’t be so worried about having a good outcome that you lose focus on the task itself, or the quality of your work will almost certainly suffer.