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FUN, FOCUS, FEAR - A simplified approach to flow states at work I learned interviewing neuroscience-based business coach.

During my recent interview with Friederike Fabritius about her latest book “The Brain-Friendly Workplace: Why Talented People Quit and How to Get Them to Stay" we got to talk about flow states as a “hack” to people’s productivity at workplace. The basic idea is - the more time your people spend in the flow - the more amazing work they’ll deliver in the shortest period of time, without burning out. But the question was, how do you help people learn how to get themselves into flow at work❓ Here’s the “hack” Friederike suggested - people got to have a combination of fun, fear and focus.



    1. FUN

    If you aren’t having fun - you aren’t in the flow. (It has to do with dopamine, endorphins, anandamide and serotonin that flood our system during flow states) The idea here is - people got to optimize for the activities they love! For any task there’s a person who’d find it absolutely fascinating - so look for those people for every process(es) and let them do more of that. Don’t create an army of multitaskers who barely enjoy anything, spreading their attention all over and getting mediocre results. That’s not where you’ll find mastery and breakthroughs!

    2. FOCUS

    Speaking about attention. There's no flow without attention! Flow is about hyper-focused work. When people are having fun - they aren’t multitasking, they aren’t distracted and as a result, they are making more progress without any attention training. One of the biggest reasons why so many people are so distracted at work - they are bored most of the time, they aren’t engaged, they’d rather do something else.

    And then of course, make sure that you have clear policy about phone usage, organize phone lockers/storage boxes, lead by example, leaving your phone out of your office, and have spaces that allow people to do focused uninterrupted work. Some open spaces are great but you’ll always need to make sure that there are plenty of private spaces and people need to be comfortable to set their “focus hours”, when it’s ok to answer no emails, slack or other type of messages.

    3. FEAR

    Give people responsibility for the outcomes they produce. Trust people with challenging work. Always check for skills/challenge ratio by simply asking, “Do you feel like you are growing through your work? Do you feel like you could handle more responsibility and challenging tasks? What challenges would you like to take on to make it interesting for you to work every day?"

    When people feel someone else or a mission partially depends on them doing a great job (that’s where KPIs for each role come in handy in relation to bigger goals and the company’s mission), when people feel they have skin in the game and they get a bit of adrenaline pumping in their blood on a regular basis (the optimal "fear level" is individual that’s why you got to check with people what’s ok for them) - that’s when your people’s talents and potential open up.

    FUN, FOCUS, FEAR - Get it right with systems, company-wide policies and through talking to people, and you’ll grow your A team to thrive in any economy.

    Now the question for you, dear reader, what could you use more of in your work consistently, fun, focus or fear❓ Use these levers and your productivity might rise, some experts say 500%!

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