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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It’s only after you reach a state of competence that you’ll be able to achieve a flow state. How do we get good at getting into this optimal zone?
Distraction is the enemy of flow.
If you can, sit somewhere quiet. If you’re in an office, try using noise-canceling headphones.
Music or ambient sounds can be really helpful; preferably calm, repetitive, atmospheric sounds so your brain doesn’t focus on melody or words.
It's almost impossible to get into the flow state if you're doing something you don't like. Look for experiences that are inherently enjoyable, meaningful, or satisfying.
Even in our dream job, we might have to do repetitive or unpleasant work. But, if you generally find it difficult to find flow in your work throughout the day, question whether your tasks are challenging or complex enough.
Your ability to achieve a lasting flow state hinges upon your energy and health.
The four types of rest necessary for creative flow are:
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.
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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