What Makes a Particular Activity Joyful?

What Makes a Particular Activity Joyful?

I read an interesting book recently. It’s named “Flow” written by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. In this book, he explains that human beings experience a joyful state called Flow when they are trying to reach a goal, engaged in activities that are challenging but well suited to their skills.

We all have experienced such a state both in our personal and professional life when we are so engrossed in that activity that we forget everything else – our sense of time gets skewed.

It could be when playing an exhilarating game of football or while cooking a complex recipe or writing code, to implement a functionality. And some other times the task at hand really becomes a drag.

So what makes a particular activity joyful? Csikszentmihalyi lists some factors that make an activity joyfull

1. Working on a challenging task that matches your skill level
2. Intense and focused concentration on the present moment.
3. Merging of action and awareness.
4. A sense of personal control or agency over the situation or activity.
5. A distortion of temporal experience.
6. Experience of the activity as intrinsically rewarding, also referred to as an autotelic experience.

I also think that this is applicable to a team working on a project. The team gets into a Flow state and just loves working on a particular project. Here are the factors that help

1. Clear achievable goal that the team understands and feels confident that they can achieve
2. Clear timeline defined where team can focus on the task at hand
3. A sense of control over the work, that is they have all the resources, authority and decisions required to execute the project.
4. Bonding with other members of the team, that lets them enjoy working.

As manager our work should be to provide the environment for the team to get in flow. What are your thoughts?

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