Improving Your ‘Flow System’ for Entrepreneurial Success and Productivity


As some of you know, I’ve been engaging in annual “reading challenges” during the past few years. One of the most memorable books I read last year (which I highly recommend) is Superwealth by Max Borders.

Borders’ takes a step back to look at the hot-button “inequality” debate, adding some historical perspective, realism and a big dose of free market economics. He also offers an economic theory that can be applied by entrepreneurs to our daily work flow and productivity.

Hi theory is based upon the work of Duke University physics professor Adrian Bejan, which holds that “living beings and inanimate phenomena” have what he defines as “flow systems” in common:

“Flow systems – from animal locomotion to the formation of river deltas — evolve in time to balance and minimize imperfections. Flows evolve to reduce friction or other forms of resistance, so that they flow more easily with time. This view has been termed the constructal law, which Bejan first stated 13 years ago.”

The flow system can apply to anything in nature, including the human body. The idea is that systems work best when things are most easily allowed to flow from one point to another.

In his book, Borders discusses with Bejan the idea that “flow systems” also apply to market economics. That is, the economy works best when it is allowed to flow like a river — but stops up when too many obstructions (like a dam) are put in the way. Such obstructions could include over-regulation, over-taxation, etc.

So, how can this “flow system” theory apply to our daily productivity and the running of our businesses?

What kind of obstructions are in your way on a daily basis that impede your productivity? Do you check your email constantly, setting you off on tangents and throwing off your daily priorities?

Is conference call overload disrupting your flow and causing you to waste valuable time on needless calls?

Is decision fatigue late in the day making it hard for you to make simple choices and, thus, threatening your ability to get things done?

Yes, “flow systems” can apply to your daily routine.

Examine your daily schedule and do a “productivity” audit at the end of each day. What obstructions can you remove that are impeding your flow and hurting your productivity?

Improve your flow — and you will improve your productivity and success.

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