To stay efficient and productive, even during periods of business disruption, companies should take a page out of the best-selling book Flow, written in 1990 by a Hungarian-American psychologist with the delightfully unpronounceable name Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (say it Me-High Chick-SENT-Me-High).

Flow, a ground-breaking treatise on the brain science behind productivity, concentration, and well-being, argues that humans need uninterrupted periods of focused immersion in order to produce their best work and, at the same time, reach a calm, serene state of pleasant concentration. The ability to inhabit this state of flow – a Zenlike state of focused, productive activity in which the usual march of time and everyday worries cease to exist – is necessary for artists to produce great masterpieces, argues Csikszentmihalyi.

Flow became a blockbuster in part because readers immediately recognized and responded to Flow’s description of that pleasant, focused state of concentration anyone can achieve when truly immersed in work they love. You don’t have to be a DaVinci to experience and appreciate flow!

But the tech revolution that’s taken place since the publication of Flow in 1990 has made uninterrupted concentration an elusive goal. With zillions of apps at our fingertips, with emails streaming into our inboxes, and with memes tempting us at every turn, who can achieve more than five minutes of concentration on anything, much less achieve hours of focused productivity!?

And it’s getting worse. The background anxiety generated by existential threats like pandemics, giant wildfires, and vast Antarctic ice shelves dropping into the ocean make us even less likely to be able to concentrate for more than a few moments at a time. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, for example, COVID-19 just made us all much worse at reading comprehension.

With workers distracted at every turn, what’s a business to do to keep employees in that elusive state of flow: focused, productive, efficient, and, dare we hope, also genuinely happy, content, and fulfilled? While the standard advice to disable unnecessary push notifications, set aside screen-free times, and practice mindfulness are all great, we suggest you also consider a particular subset of apps that’s blossomed in the past few years, business process management aka workflow management software. These apps are designed to harness all the obvious benefits of technology while mitigating the tendency of computer and Internet use to fragment human thought processes and degrade the quality and efficiency of the workplace experience.

As one-stop-shops for all work functions, these streamlined and straightforward apps facilitate efficient, focused completion of work tasks by marshalling for workers all the information needed to complete a work process in one place and by facilitating in-app internal communication focused specifically on the task at hand. These efficiency-improvement platforms eliminate the need for workers to interrupt flow by cross-referencing emails or operations manuals in order to complete procedures. As we all know, each of these apparently necessary and harmless interruptions in workflow quickly becomes a beguiling invitation to go down the rabbit hole of “just checking my emails or my status for a minute”, creating an unhealthy, anxiety-laden, unproductive timesuck diametrically opposed to the delightful state of concentrated productivity described so compellingly in Flow.

The newest workflow management apps, many of them young start-ups just founded in the past few years, therefore point to a new reality in which technology can bring about workplace flow rather than making it nigh impossible.

For the best, most up-to-date options in workflow management, check out these top-performing business process management apps.

    1. Tallyfy
    2. TaskTrain (We think this one’s really great! 😉 Try it for free!)
    3. SweetProcess
    4. ProcessStreet
    5. KissFlow

These apps are web-based subscription services, most of which have free or low-cost monthly subscription options. With these apps, you can not only quickly document your processes at low cost, you can also embed short, easily understandable bits of training information within your workflow documentation along with communication threads that are laser-focused on the task at hand. As a result, employees can find the information they need independently, digest it quickly, and use it, right when and where they need it – whether they’re at the office, traveling, or at home.

Want to know more about the concept of flow? To learn more about how to achieve productivity and harmony – in your brain and in the workplace – we recommend you spend some quality time contentedly concentrating on the Facebook page of the “Godfather of Flow,” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. (Say it with me one more time: that’s Me-High Chick-SENT-Me-High. Try it out as an impressive namedrop at your next highbrow cocktail party!)

Get Professional Help with Moving Your People and Processes Online

In some cases, we recommend working with a professional to document your work processes and train your team to work virtually. It’s a great timesaver to let professionals assist you with the transition to efficient real-time documentation of online workflows with embedded help content – so your employees can start working as an efficient virtual team, with confidence, day one!

If you’re looking for a reputable company to help you revolutionize the speed, ease, and effectiveness of virtual teamwork, we recommend TaskTrain. Set up a consultation with them by sending a message to TaskTrain’s staff members are experienced virtual team members who enjoy nothing more than sharing their expertise with you and providing outstanding customer service.

TaskTrain is a business process management app that allows businesses to easily facilitate virtual teamwork by defining and communicating standard operating procedures through simple, multi-level checklist templates. With TaskTrain, virtual teams work effectively and efficiently via detailed, multi-media work instructions/training materials and communication options at each step of every one of their company’s business processes.

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