Learn how developing your emotional intelligence can help you to find your flow at work, boosting performance and enhancing your enjoyment at work.
- Have you ever felt so absorbed in an activity that time passes without you even noticing? Maybe you became really engrossed in playing a sport, or you've got laser focus when you're working on a particular task like creating new products, or processes, or writing articles. Perhaps there are parts of your work that you get so absorbed in hours pass and you don't even notice. When we talk about developing emotional intelligence, often we focus on what you need to develop to get better at how you manage your emotions and how you interact with others.
There are, however, many positive aspects associated with developing emotional intelligence. And one of these is finding, what we call, your flow. Firstly, what exactly is flow? The best way to describe it is being in the zone. It's the practice of taking part in an activity that requires focus, and distractions just fade into the background. Activities that give you that sense of flow will stretch you, and they'll be activities you enjoy so much that time stands still.
Working your flow should feel effortless and rewarding. Working in a state of flow will help you to reach a level of peak performance, and it will help you to stretch yourself to achieve more. The good thing about working in a state of flow is often it won't feel like work at all, and you'll be taking part in activities that are interesting for you. The chances are you're good at your flow activities, so it makes sense to focus on what you're good at and capitalize on that.
Emotionally, working in a state of flow is a positive experience. Working in this way will also mitigate against some of the triggers you experience that hijack your performance, increasing your chances of reaching your potential and achieving the most favorable outcome, even in challenging situations. Understanding what causes a sense of flow for you will help you to react to challenges positively. Imagine you feel like you're being stretched at work, but in a positive way, helping you to develop in your role and get better at what you do.
Compare that to feeling like the challenges you're facing are just too big. You're not enjoy the tasks, that part of your role, and what you need to achieve has gone way beyond a nicely stretching goal. Think about two people who carry out the same role. One person finds their daily activities create a sense of flow, their challenging, but enjoyable, whereas someone else may find the exact same activities overwhelming, stressful, and demotivating.
That's why it's important to get really clear on what flow is for you as an individual and weave that into your working life, helping you to face challenges with confidence. When you're feeling confident after working in a state of flow, that will help you to view challenges positively, whereas if you're feeling stressed, for example, and you have a challenge to deal with on top of this, you're not so likely to react in a way that will help you tackle the situation effectively and efficiently.
Finding your flow and working with flow will help you build your emotional intelligence and reframe how you think about and react to challenges, getting the most out of the situation. So, think about your personal or working life. What activities create a sense of flow for you? And could you add more of this to your working life?
LinkedIn Learning (Lynda.com) is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
- What is emotional intelligence?
- Watching for triggers and hijacks
- Finding flow
- Disrupting thinking
- Reclaiming reaction time
- Shifting perspective
- Listening and communicating
- Playing to strengths
- Collecting feedback
- Aligning intention and impact