Because it has been a while since I have posted, let me review what FLOW is and then I am going to present some guidelines for encouraging FLOW situations as well as some examples from my work. First off, FLOW is a state of mind where an individual or team of individuals is at their best. In this state you don’t consciously think of anything but rather a natural course of action comes to you and things just happen. People usually describe FLOW as an event where time flew by and afterwards they look back and are amazed at either how well a job was done or how much they got done. An example of this would be when an athlete is in the zone or on top of his or her game. A team can also be in the zone where when everyone has the same goal. That goal would be to win and not think about personal glory, i.e. rather than one player making a risky shot the player would pass the ball to someone who had a better shot. The team would just work together seamlessly. Now onto a set of guidelines for encouraging FLOW: 

  • The task must be well defined and the goal must be clear (i.e. in basketball the team with the most points win).
  • There must be some type of challenge associated with the task. 
  • Progress must be assessed and feedback received often.

Lately I have been really organized using a Getting Things Done (GTD) system and setting up tasks while trying to implement the above guidelines. In my job I do a lot of tasks that I am still learning. One of these tasks is to segment CT datasets. So, I take a CT dataset and segment out different anatomical structures of which I can make various physical and numerical models. So I take a particular anatomical structure and go through and segment the structure out. I know that I have a given number of structures that need to be visualized so that I can make some measurements. I have broken this task down to discrete steps so my goal is very clear. Because I am still learning and trying to figure out more efficient ways to do this segmentation the work is challenging. I look at my work and I get constant feedback so that guideline is also fulfilled.  

   There have been two nights this week that I have worked very late because I lost track of time and was so tied up with my work. This push has really put me ahead and I have learned quite a bit through these experiences.  If anyone else has any experiences, suggestions or ideas, please share! 

–dwb