I love working Saturdays.
Of course, I don’t love giving up the usual weekend activities: seeing friends, going to the market, getting outside.
But when I work on a Saturday, I know one thing: there won’t be any distractions.
Distractions matter because they derail my focus. Even the chance of a distraction is an opportunity for disruption, which is why a weekday without distractions isn’t the same.
"Flow" gets talked about a lot, though not many people know detailed definitions.
Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is one of the most comprehensive books on the subject.
“The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.”
That makes sense. But what really defines flow is how you feel:
“…one acts with a deep but effortless involvement that removes from awareness the worries and frustrations of everyday life” and “…the sense of the duration of time is altered; hours pass by in minutes, and minutes can stretch out to seem like hours.”
We’ve all experienced a flow state at some point.
For me, it often occurs while playing sports. Hockey, soccer, tennis—these sports need enough dedicated concentration that time slips by. You don’t think when you’re playing these sports, you just react.
But it can also occur during work. Editing video, or photos, for example.
Knowledge work can sometimes, given the right opportunity or problem.
Digging deep into some research and writing, or building something—these typically trigger it for me. And of course it depends on your mood, concentration level, how rested you are, and many other factors.
But flow states themselves generate happiness. They generate a deep sense of satisfaction in the work itself. It’s hard to finish a day where you spent time in a flow state with dissatisfaction.
Which is why it’s too bad that the modern workplace is so poorly constructed for flow states.
And why I love to work on Saturdays.