You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

Is Your Workday Dragging? Here's How to Channel the 'Flow' Nobody likes a grump. Finding your 'flow' at work will not only make your daytime hours more enjoyable, but your social life as well.

By James Reinhart

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


It's no secret that stress and dissatisfaction at the office can carry over into our personal lives, where friends and family unluckily absorb the brunt of our negative energy. Sound familiar?

I believe that establishing a "flow" at work -- what the sociologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi referred to as being so engaged and motivated that you practically get lost in the joy of whatever you're doing -- is the key to unlocking happiness.

Colleagues that frequently remark, "Where did the time go?" have probably channeled this "flow" -- being so engaged in their work that time feels like it's flying by.

Here are some tips on how to uncover this mindset throughout the workday:

Related: Want to Make More Money? Understand the Multiplying Effect.

1. Record happy moments. Keep a journal of the moments when you feel really happy at work. Use Post-Its, a notebook, an app -- whatever's easiest -- to record what you were working on, who you were working with and when.

For extra credit: You can get an even better triangulation of your "flow" moments if you also separately record the moments when you were frustrated, annoyed or disappointed.

2. Challenge yourself. The "flow" state often arises when you are doing something challenging -- but when you are skilled enough to meet the challenge. For example, if analyzing the weekly sales report is fun for you because you find it challenging, this is a good indicator of a "flow" moment.

3. Ask peers to observe you. Contact the people you work with and ask them -- colleagues and managers alike -- if they can recall moments when you seemed most engaged. If they can't recall anything immediately (which is likely), ask if they wouldn't mind keeping track for the next week or so, and then gather feedback.

Related: 13 Big-Time Business Leaders Share the Best Advice They Ever Got

When checking in with my employees every quarter, I ask what they were most proud of accomplishing as a jumping off point to maximizing "flow" moments.

4. Find your happiness trends. After two weeks, you should have a fairly complete record of your happy moments at work. Sit down with a cup of coffee and see what trends emerge. Are you happiest in the morning? In the afternoon? When you are working alongside other people or by yourself? In front of a computer or in front of a whiteboard? Virtually or face-to-face? Are you happiest making things or evaluating them?

As your happiness trends emerge, you can more aptly put yourself in a position to enjoy work, discuss a change of role at the office, or even decide to do something else completely.

Related: Get it Done: 35 Habits of the Most Productive People (Infographic)

James Reinhart

Co-founder of

James Reinhart is the co-founder of, a fashion resale website that helps consumers consign online. James writes about juggling work, life and health from his startup office in San Francisco.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Data & Recovery

This Cloud Storage Deal Can be an Easy Win for Your Business: $25 for 100GB

Keep a reliable cloud storage solution on hand for business needs.

Starting a Business

This Side Hustle Is Helping Landowners Earn Up to $60,000 a Year While Connecting Outdoor Lovers With Untouched Wilderness

If you've got some land, why not make some extra cash while letting others get out into nature?

Health & Wellness

How to Escape Entrepreneurial Burnout When You Can't Just Quit

What do you do when you're experiencing burnout as an entrepreneur and you feel like your entire career is on life support as you barely make it through each day? Try these solutions for entrepreneurs who can't just quit their jobs when they've had enough.


How CEO Favoritism Contributes to Workplace Toxicity — and How to Create a Fair and Inclusive Work Environment

CEO favoritism undermines company culture, but these effective strategies for fostering fairness and engagement can help avoid favoritism pitfalls.

Starting a Business

These Are The 5 Critical Factors to Consider Before You Buy Your Franchise

It's a lot easier to leave a bad job than the wrong franchise. To determine which opportunity is right, you have major research and interviewing ahead.

Growing a Business

Who You Hire Matters — Here's How to Form a Team That's Built to Last

Among the many challenges related to managing a small business, hiring a quality team of employees is one of the most important. Check out this list of tips and best practices to find the best people for your business.