“The best moments in our lives are not... - Deepstash
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

“The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times… The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.”

MIHALY CSIKSZENTMIHALYI

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MORE IDEAS FROM THEARTICLE

Work On One Very Specific Task

When it isn’t fully clear about what exactly you’re going to work on, it’ll be highly unlikely that you reach flow state.

Therefore be very clear about what exactly you’re going to work on.

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Eliminate Internal Distractions

Whenever you experience stress or have too much on your mind, it’ll be incredibly hard to keep your mind focused on your task at hand — and therefore it’ll be impossible to reach flow state.

  • Give morning and evening journaling a try.
  • Meditate for at least 10 minutes each day.

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Listen To (The Right Kind Of) Music

Music can actually help you become highly focused and, therefore, highly productive.

Especially when you listen to music on repeat (or repetitive type music such as techno, classical music or trance) it’ll be easier to reach a state of flow.

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Eliminate All External Distractions

You can get into flow state only when you can focus with undivided attention for at least 10–15 minutes.

Whenever you get distracted it takes on average 25 minutes to gain back your full attention on the task at hand. This is because of something called ‘attention residue’, which implies that some of your attention is still left behind at the previous task or distraction that you were dealing with.

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Strategically Consume Caffeine

If you consume up to 200 milligrams of caffeine (about 2 cups of coffee), it has been proven that you can

  • Focus more intensely.
  • Work for longer without giving up.
  • Have a better short-term memory.

All of this will help you in reaching flow state.

Preferably, don’t drink coffee more than 2 cups per day and don’t consume after 17:00, as this will impact the quality of your sleep.

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Work At Your BPT (Biological Prime Time)

Getting into flow state is hard if you are low on energy.

Your 'Biological Prime Time' is the time of the day when you have the most energy, and therefore the greatest potential to be productive. To calculate yours, chart your energy levels for at least three weeks.

Another option would be to enter flow state right after you took a break of about 15-30 minutes.

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THE FLOW STATE

Flow state is a very powerful state of mind where you are extremely productive and also feel great.

You don’t have to force yourself to work hard. Rather, it seems to go automatically. It seems as if you are ‘flowing’ through your work.

An example is a gamer spending hours behind the computer without feeling bored, fatigued, or hungry. 

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Stay Hydrated

Drinking enough water makes sure the energy production of the brain is functioning well.

While not drinking enough leads to lower energy production, leaving you to feel foggy, fatigued and not sharp. All of which leads to heavily decreased productivity levels and make it harder to reach flow state.

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Create A Mental Cue

Do something special each time before you sit down to go into flow state.

Whether it’s repeating a special sentence or affirmation, taking a few deep breaths or anything else — do that same exact thing each time you want to get into flow state. Over time, this will help you create a mental cue for your brain.

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Balance Challenge & Skills

Flow state can only be achieved when an activity is

  • Challenging enough to keep your brain interested.
  • You’re skilled enough to tackle the challenge without it being too difficult.

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Have A Clear Outcome or Goal

Whenever you lack clarity about what you want to accomplish, your brain will struggle to get into optimum concentration. Therefore, clearly set out what you’d like to accomplish to avoid this mental hurdle.

Procrastination loves it when this lack of clarity exists, as it’ll try to push you towards quitting earlier or switch to easier tasks instead.

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RELATED IDEAS

The Flow State

Flow is characterized by complete concentration in the activity at hand, resulting in a loss in one’s sense of space and time. It’s a state of both high challenge and high skill—a place where we’re capable of stretching ourselves to overcome difficulty.
Anyone is capable of inducing such a state of deep productivity and creativity.

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Requirements To Enter Flow

To enter flow, you need appropriated self-control, environmental conditions, skills, task and rewards. Besides that, you must know what you’re doing, be able to see whether or not you’re doing it well, and be pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone.

The last point is especially important, it's mastery combined with challenge that brings flow. Too much challenge and we get overcome with anxiety. Not enough, and our brain loses focus and looks for other stimuli.

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Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

“I developed a theory of optimal experience based on the concept of flow—the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it”

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