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Flow is a subjective state characterized by immersion in and involvement in one’s current activity and improves learning, increases productivity, fosters talent and improves objective measures of skills.

Flow also promotes subjective well-being; positivity has been shown to increase with the amount of flow experienced during the workday, and the absence of flow has been associated with depression.

What is flow?

  • You fix up your old bike and forget to have lunch.
  • You are painting the barn and forget to drink.
  • You’re busy with your work and suddenly it’s 5:00 PM.

When you are completely immersed in something, you are in your flow.

The science

Flow provides motivation, inspiration and impulse, so it would be nice if you take care of it. Now even pay close attention!

Scientists have devised a development that reflects this state of flow, which could potentially be applied in everything from developing intelligent coaching for people.

“Our theory says that the more informative a resource is, the more flow someone will experience while performing the effect,” said social psychologist David Melnikoff of Northeastern University in Massachusetts. Link to research

Stephen Covey already had a picture of this through one of his 7 habits: start with the end in mind.

There are three properties in this formula: M (the activity that should lead to the resource), E (end point, the outcome), and I (the degree to which the activity takes away the action to reach the goal).

In summary it looks like I(M;E). The research results that our flow is at its maximum when the mutual information we have about how the means will have the ends is greatest—in other words, when we know more about how our actions will plan our goals.

An example

Suppose you want to loose weight and you want to do so by running. Then it helps if you know exactly how much you have to run to lose 1 kilo. You will then be more involved in the activity and get into the flow sooner, according to the psychologists.

This research shows that when you set clear goals with measurable actions, you work more comfortably, you feel, are felt and that you get into your flow.

Use it to your advantage!

CareerTracker uses the OKR method for this.