The Flow Model – A Study

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There are times when people do so much work that they lose track of time. The entrepreneur was so busy that she did not notice changes taking place around here. This experience is felt by most people at one time or the other. This attitude also renders a sense of satisfaction because the person is in a ‘flow.’ When this flow occurs, people forget where they are and completely devote themselves to the work they are doing. In this article, we will discuss about flow model and how it enhances personal effectiveness.


Origin of Flow Model

The Flow Model was introduced by Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi, who was a positive psychologist. He wrote about the process in his book, "Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience."

Idea of Flow Model

The Flow Model displays the emotional condition of a professional when she tries to complete a task depending on the challenge she perceives and the idea she has of her own skills. For instance, if a task is challenging and the professional is not equipped with the required amount off skills, she will be worried. On the other hand if the task at hand is easy and does not need much skill, she will have apathy towards the work.

  • In order to give her best, she needs a challenging task and good skills. This renders confidence in the mind of the professional. As a result, professionals get into the flow of work.
  • This flow of work is noticed in people who are very good at their work and completely engage themselves in it.

Eight States of Mind

According to Csíkszentmihályi, there are eight emotional states of mind. They are as follows.

# Boredom

A professional who is bored does not take any interest in her surroundings.

# Apathy

There is a sense of indifference in everything she does.

# Worry

If a professional keeps worrying, she will find her problems and difficulties increasing every passing day. It instills negative feelings. She thinks that solutions are nowhere to be seen.

# Relaxation

Relaxation is the sense of peace and calm that the professional undergoes.

# Anxiety

Anxiety often leads a person to freeze.

# Control

Practice makes the professional so perfect in her task that the perceived challenge seem to become less difficult in comparison to the skills of the professional.

# Arousal

If a professional is aroused by stimuli, she is more attentive to her surroundings.

# Flow

This is the state when people are totally focused on the task they do. As a result, they are successful in their endeavor.

Ten Elements of Flow

There are ten elements that prove that a professional is going through flow of work.

  • She concentrates in a task for a very long time period
  • She knows what she desires to accomplish
  • She realizes that while she is at work, time passes by quickly
  • The professional forgets who she is and where is
  • She starts feeling the emergence of a balance between the challenge and her skills
  • She prefers to receive immediate and direct feedback
  • She experiences an inner happiness on executing the task
  • The professional knows that she has complete control over the work she is doing
  • She finds herself totally absorbed in the given task
  • She forgets about the basic requirements that a person needs, such as food and rest

Not all of them occur together when the professional is in a flow, but some of them do.

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Goals, Balance and Feedback

If a professional wants to enter the state of flow, the following three things should be present.

# Goals

Goals and objectives are a source of work framework and motivate people to perform well. In order that the professional experiences the state of flow, she must have a goal.

# Balance

The professional should realize the balance between the perceived challenge she has to face and her perceived skills. If any one of the factors is more than the other, the flow does not take place.

# Feedback

She prefers to have immediate and clear feedback. This is because she wants to correct her mistakes and improve her performance. The feedback can come from other people.

Utilizing the Flow Model

A professional must try doing the following things when she wants to improve her chances.

# Setting objectives

Setting goals is significant, if a professional wants to experience flow. If she can set goals that are effective, she can gain the required focus and render the required amount of attention to the task at hand.

# Self-confidence

If the professional is not confident about her skill levels, she will find her task harder than it actually is. She should develop herself to have more self – confidence.

# Concentration

If a professional is interrupted in her work, she cannot concentrate. She should implement strategies, so that she can have improved concentration and produce more effectively.

# Make the work more challenging

A task can be made more challenging by crafting the task in such a way, that she has to explore more ways to succeed.

# Feedback

The professional should ensure that feedback systems are in place. This helps in improving the professional and her team members.
As per the flow model, a professional who experiences flow is encouraged to return to the task unless she completes it. This is because of the fact that she hopes for the rewards the task promises. As a result, her skills grow with time.

To Wrap Up

From this article, it can be concluded that the flow model is about the state of mind a professional enters when she is completely immersed in a task. It states the complete engagement she has with the work at hand. She should have an objective, balance and feedback. These help her in succeeding in the task that she is doing. If there is no balance between the perceived challenge and the perceived skills, and one of them weighs more than the other, chances are that flow will not act properly. As a result, work will not be completed properly by the professional. This means that she is not completely devoted to the work.

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