• When was the last time you lost yourself in your work?

    When was the last time you lost yourself in your work?

    Posted 16/09/2013 By in EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT, INSPIRATION With | No Comments

    Is FLOW linked to engagement at work?  Do people working at their peak enjoy it more?

    When was the last time you lost yourself and became totally absorbed by your work?  Check out the clip of a drummer just doing his thing.  I bet he can play for hours without pause.  When was the last time you were this absorbed?

    This has been a perplexing conundrum for me.  Everything I read on engagement, peak performance, flow or purpose suggests that these experiences are characterised by a loss of self-awareness, a lack of awareness of passing time, physical sensation (hunger, comfort etc), peoples minds clear and remain focused on the task at hand for prolonged periods of time.  My problem is that there’s not been too many things that create that experience for me and it got me to wondering.  How many of us get to experience this in our work?  If you look at grossed up employee engagement stats, the developed world still hovers around 30% engagement, which seems shockingly low but when I ask the groups I work with I tend to see much higher levels of agreement.

    So does your work fully absorb you?  At least some of the time?  And those things that do absorb you… do you find yourself keen to do them?  I know personally that this is not always the case.  For instance, one of the things I really love to do is clean the back deck.  I strip down to my shorts, turn the music up, and get the water blaster.  I can then happily while away hours performing this task.  I am however, not always keen to engage in this task.  If suggested as something to do in response to my “I’m bored” statement, I’m typically reluctant.  In fact, I often have to force myself to do it (btw, I just start with the first step – clearing the space by moving the furniture out of the way).  Incidentally, according to peak performance theory where peak experiences happen at the intersection of high skills and high challenge.  So one needs to be using skills right at the edge of their competency, and the challenge has to be significant enough to stretch.  Doesn’t say much about my skills right?

    So my two main questions are:

    1. Does your work allow you to lose yourself in it?
    2. What’s the upshot of that?  Do you love it, find yourself keen to start each day or is it something you have to remind yourself about?

    Actually, I have a third.

    3.  If not work, do you have some other thing you do that allows you to lose yourself, to be absorbed in the Flow?


    Complex – challenge/skills

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      Sean is an experienced coach, speaker and facilitator who is passionate about improving the relationship between people, their work and the organisations they work for. If you want to get the most out of your managers, supervisors and their teams and think that work can or should be a rewarding and enjoyable component of a productive and meaningful life it might be worth a chat.

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