Go with the Flow: Unlocking the Power of Flow State
Strategies to get in the zone.
This post is part of our ✨7 Productivity Tips as EOY Gifts ✨ Series.
Check out our latest posts and stay tuned for the ones to come!
1: 🎊 Single-Tasking | 2: 🎊 To-Do Lists | 3: 🎊 Pomodoro Technique |
4: 🎊 Calendar Hacks | 5: 🎊 Flow State | 6: 🎁 | 7: 🎁
When I was in high school, I used to write short stories. Honestly, it didn't feel like writing as much as downloading a story from who knows where. In most cases, something - anything - in my surroundings would start a spark in my brain; it could be a sound or a smell. And that spark within would spread like wildfire, showing me a whole story, almost like a thread of wool I needed to unwind. So I'd just sit down - pen and paper in hand - and pull that thread to see where it was going. I'd let my hand run free, obeying the stream of words that came up. I was utterly focused on the text in front of me, and the time just seemed to fly by. I was in the zone, and nothing else mattered. I wouldn't stand up until the story was done - especially because I wanted to know how it ended. The next thing I knew, many hours had passed, and my mother was calling me downstairs for dinner. It was an almost magical feeling.
It wasn't until I was an adult that I found out that this state of pure joy and creativity had a name: flow state.
What is the "Flow State"?
Flow state, also known as "being in the zone," is a mental state in which a person becomes fully immersed in an activity and experiences a feeling of intense focus and enjoyment. This state is often associated with increased productivity, creativity, and satisfaction.
Some characteristics of flow state include:
- Complete focus on the task at hand: Flow state requires entire focus on the task at hand, excluding all other distractions.
- A sense of control: When in flow state, people feel a sense of control over their actions and the task they are working on.
- A loss of self-consciousness: People in flow state often report losing a sense of self-consciousness and being completely focused on the task.
- A sense of enjoyment: Flow state is often accompanied by a sense of enjoyment and fulfillment.
Why Should I Want To Reach Flow State?
Well, first of all, because it feels amazing.
But there are several additional reasons why it can be beneficial to achieve flow state, including:
- Increased productivity: People who experience flow state often report being able to work more efficiently and effectively, resulting in increased productivity. Augment's Co-Founder and Head of Product, Dan Cintra, wrote about the benefits of reaching flow state: "being in the flow state may make you 5x more productive. During flow, we're concentrated and focused. Everything other than the task we're performing seems to fade away".
- Improved performance: Flow state can also improve performance in various activities, such as sports, music, or creative endeavors.
- Enhanced well-being: Being in flow state has been linked to increased feelings of well-being and happiness.
- Increased creativity: Flow state can also lead to increased creativity and the ability to generate new ideas.
Overall, achieving flow state can have numerous benefits for both personal and professional endeavors. By finding activities that allow you to enter flow state and incorporating them into your life, you can improve your productivity, performance, well-being, and creativity.
How Can I Reach Flow State?
You won't achieve flow state in every activity or all the time (if you find a way to do that, please reach out to me and tell me how).
But the good news is that getting in the zone for some activities might help you with other activities - just like meditation can improve your life as a whole. So think of it as a good tool for your brain in general whenever you exercise it.
To achieve flow state, it can be helpful to find activities that are challenging but not overwhelming, and to set aside distractions so that you can fully focus on the task at hand. It's also important to be in a positive and relaxed state of mind, as stress or negative emotions can interrupt flow state. Finally, establishing clear goals and feedback loops can help you stay motivated and focused.
Flow State As Part Of Your Workflow
You're probably thinking about how to get in the flow state to improve your work productivity. For that, set the right environment before pursuing your flow.
According to studies, to get to flow, you have to:
- Know what you're going to do next.
- Know how you're going to do it.
- Be free from distractions.
- Get clear and immediate feedback.
- Have a balance between high perceived challenge and high perceived skill.
Here are a few concrete strategies that you can use:
- Identify activities that you enjoy and that challenge you: Flow state is often achieved when we are engaged in activities that we find enjoyable, and that challenge us to stretch our skills and abilities. Try to identify activities that meet both of these criteria for you, and make time for them in your schedule.
- Set clear goals and objectives: Having clear goals and objectives can help focus your attention and energy on the task at hand and not leave you wondering what you will do next.
- Turn off notifications: Flow state is disrupted by distractions, so try to eliminate as many distractions as possible when you are engaged in activities with which you hope to experience flow state. This may involve silencing your phone, closing unnecessary tabs on your computer, or finding a quiet place to work.
- Practice mindfulness: Being present and focused on the moment can help you achieve flow state. Try practicing mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, to help you stay focused and present.
- Experiment with different environments and conditions: Different people may find that they are more likely to enter flow state in different environments and under different conditions. Experiment with different settings to see what works best for you.
By following these strategies and finding what works best for you, you may increase your chances of achieving flow state in your own life.
I Hope You Get In The Zone!
Flow state can be incredibly powerful for productivity and creativity. By adjusting your environment and using strategies to reach flow state, you may be able to achieve improved results in various activities. So challenge yourself to find activities that you enjoy, and that will stretch your skills and abilities, and see if you can get in the zone. I hope you, too, experience that flow-state-magic.
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