Is it Possible to Reduce Negative Experiences From Your Job Description? I’ll Show You How.

Written by Paul Marchildon, on February 1, 2013.

Think about a time when you were having a flow experience; when you were so involved and engaged with what you were doing that all else ceased to exist. Maybe is was preparing that gourmet meal for someone special, listening to your favourite artist at an outdoor concert, painting a picture, or solving a difficult puzzle. Perhaps it was putting together a presentation for the board of directors, or providing an employee with a glowing review. What about that experience was so meaningful? What elevated it from a task to a flow experience? Why were you at the top of your game right then? What character strengths did you use? How can these experiences help you find more meaning and satisfaction in work?

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi discusses what it “feels” like during a flow experience: Concentration is so intense that there is no attention left over to think about anything irrelevant or to worry about problems. Self-consciousness disappears, and the sense of time becomes distorted. An activity that produces such experiences is so gratifying that people are willing to do it for its own sake, with little concern for what they will get out of it, even when it is difficult or dangerous.

Employees Lacking Motivation?

Paul Marchildon, an experienced Leisureologist, can work with you and your team to increase productivity by incorporating leisure into the workplace.

Flow experiences are those moments that engage our skills in such a way that they provide a challenge – but not too much or too little that they become boring or frustrating. They correspond with our strengths and values whatever they may be; whether curiosity, appreciation of beauty and excellence, hope, or leadership. Think about those things that you do not do well. Think about those times when you are in anything but a state of flow. Eventually, the goal is to eliminate those negative experiences from your job description as much as possible. If people are only doing what they are passionate about, it has an incredible impact for organizations in the following ways: If you find it hard to believe you can muster up passion about your job, then, well, you might be in the wrong job. Often this realization is a good wakeup call for employees and employers both; maybe the unhappy person needs to move on? Maybe his/her approach to the job just needs to be reframed? Or, maybe the organization can put him/her in a different role that better complements his/her passions and strengths.

Some of us spend years in the same job, and we have mastered the skills and tasks that were once difficult. This can cause a feeling of ennui and dissatisfaction because we’re not testing ourselves; we’re not setting the groundwork for those Flow Experiences. Wouldn’t it be nice if our jobs evolved with us? Position duties should be regularly reevaluated to determine if they suit the individual. Maybe a junior peer could tackle the challenge while we move on to something else. Ensuring all employees are engaged, with opportunity for development, is key in creating a productive and effective workforce.

When we allow our character strengths to come into play at work, we make room for flow experiences,  and we find greater happiness, fulfillment, and productivity. Organizations can only benefit from more engaged, and satisfied employees.

Paul Marchildon

Paul Marchildon

A self-proclaimed Leisureologist and Motivational Speaker, Paul Marchildon applies his vast expertise in human engagement to help leaders create more productive, effective organizations. Building on an influential career as a pioneer in employee incentive and loyalty programs, strategic creative communications, social media and mobile marketing, Paul provides insight into the advantages of incorporating a leisure culture in the "work" place. He is past president of Society of Incentive and Travel Executives’ (Site) Canadian Chapter and founder of Atlantis Creative Group (now part of Maritz Canada). He is one of a select group of Canadians who have received the Certified Incentive Travel Executive (CITE) designation.