We’ve all had that moment at work when you find yourself staring at a computer screen and completely drawing a blank. The times where your brain is just completely disconnected from the task at hand, and nothing seems to flow. It’s always a strange experience—particularly when you compare it to other days where the work is just pouring from you. Those are the awesome days where you just fly through the job at hand and have to bite your tongue to stop yourself from exclaiming; “I’m on fire today!”
The stark contrast between these experiences is a testimony to the concept of flow. Flow is simply the process of taking advantage of your own energy levels. As you probably have learned by now, everyone is different. Some people smile as they fill out paperwork at the break of dawn—others can’t even remember their own name until 10am. But due to the general structure of the workday, there are certain periods during the day when many of us feel that we need to force ourselves to work, just because our mental and physical functions don’t oblige the 9-5 lifestyle. Allowing yourself to work in line with your own flow will make you more efficient, energetic, and creative.
“When you listen to your flow, a task that could normally take hours may only take you 20 minutes.”
Jordan Milne, co-author of Winning Without Losing, explains the flow concept perfectly by comparing it to surfing. Those times when you feel the wave coming. You align yourself with the direction of your wave, and with the surging power you ride to shore with ease. On the other hand, there are times when you are just treading water, desperately trying to go in the opposite direction of the energy. This is why Milne and his co-author Martin Bjergegaard stress the importance of flow in the hunt for work-life balance. It is important to pay attention to what your own body lets you do at a given time. If you feel that you are better suited to go for a run at 2:30 in the afternoon, rather than stare at spreadsheets, then put on your running shoes. If you feel like after dinner you are psyched to answer your emails, allow yourself to do so. When you listen to your flow, a task that could normally take hours may only take you 20 minutes.
Listening to your own energy flow is just one of the many strategies Jordan and Martin suggest in their book. Winning Without Losing is compiled of work-life balance advice given from dozens of successful entrepreneurs from all over the globe who have built their businesses on the basis of work-life balance. For this particular strategy, don’t wait until the day after tomorrow—listen to your energy and work on your own time. Give in to your flow, and you will become more balanced because of it.
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