So a while ago I wrote a post about a book I was reading; The concept of ikigai.
The second part of the book talks further about finding 'flow' which is what helps us to connect to our ikigai. They say that finding ‘flow’ is the key to identifying what you love to do. If you think back to the last time you were so engrossed in what you were doing that the day just flew by? And not because you were just manically busy, but you were absolutely and totally absorbed by what you were doing? What was that? It was probably your ikigai.
Today’s society makes it difficult for us to find our flow, or get into a rhythm of any kind because we have constant distraction. Phones ringing, texts buzzing, emails pinging and now even your wrist buzzes if you dare to leave your phone out of sight!
How are you supposed to concentrate with all that going on? Many writers would call a lack of flow, 'writers block', they are just not able to get their head in the game. Zoning out distraction seems to be the key to getting focused and finding your flow.
So how do you do it?
1. Make sure what you’re doing is challenging enough. If it’s easy we get bored, if its difficult we put it on the too hard pile. Finding the thing that’s just right for us on an intellectual level and you’ll not be able to stop. For example a good book. If it’s too tricky to understand, it’s a pick up, put down, but if it's just on our level, you'll read the whole thing in one go.
2. Set clear objectives. Without objectives in your day, it’s like heading out to sea with no map. Having a 'to do list' helps to clear your mind and stops you being overwhelmed by how much you have to do. It gives you a clear picture of what you are trying to achieve and it feels great to tick stuff off the list.
3. Concentrate on one thing at once. With so many distractions, this is probably the hardest to achieve. We think multitasking is good but are we giving our best to all tasks? We're certainly not going to find flow that way. So for example; give yourself set times of day to respond to emails. Morning and afternoon. An email can take you on a whole other tangent if you respond to them as they come in. So don’t. Find a space to stop yourself getting distracted.
Turn OFF your phone when you need to concentrate. Give it a try this week and see what you accomplish.
So how is this concept relevant to you and your business?
Finding your business's ikigai is not unlike understanding your mission, vision and values.
How many employees know why they get up to work every day? Or why their business even exists, in a sense that is beyond just ‘making money’?
How can leaders expect employees to stay motivated and work hard for them without an ikigai to buy into? The best leaders articulate their vision clearly and frequently, to reinforce and remind people why they choose to follow them.
Clearly define your business's mission, vision and values and communicate them to your employees; in return you will have a workforce who know what they should be doing and will work hard to achieve your goals. Who wouldn't want that?