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In The Flow: How To Master Your Brain's Peak Productivity

What Flow Is Not

  • It’s not easyFlow is not just a state where we love the work so much it just pours out. Flow is a state where hard work meets joy and meaning. 
  • It’s not for beginners. The act of learning how to do something won’t always allow us to get into the flow. Getting into the zone in a specific discipline is something that needs to be learned and practiced.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

In The Flow: How To Master Your Brain's Peak Productivity

In The Flow: How To Master Your Brain's Peak Productivity

https://blog.trello.com/brain-flow-state

blog.trello.com

7

Key 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.

The Six Parts of A Flow State

  1. Intense concentration on the task at hand.
  2. A merging of action and awareness - “being and doing become one”.
  3. A loss of reflective self-consciousness.
  4. A sense of personal control over the situation.
  5. A distortion of the perception of time.
  6. Autotelic experience: the activity itself is intrinsically rewarding, rather than the expected outcome.

What Flow Is Not

  • It’s not easyFlow is not just a state where we love the work so much it just pours out. Flow is a state where hard work meets joy and meaning. 
  • It’s not for beginners. The act of learning how to do something won’t always allow us to get into the flow. Getting into the zone in a specific discipline is something that needs to be learned and practiced.

Be Focused On The Right Tasks

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.

Practice Makes A Perfect Flow State

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?

  • Learn how others do it
  • Try it yourself
  • Analyze your performance
  • Try again, based on what you’ve learned
  • Repeat

Find The Right Environment

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.

Your Creative Health

Your ability to achieve a lasting flow state hinges upon your energy and health.

The four types of rest necessary for creative flow are:

  • Mental rest - Meditation, reading fiction and things unrelated to your work.
  • Social rest - Using social connectedness to relax.
  • Spiritual rest -  Going to a place of worship, or just taking time to think about the big questions in life.
  • Physical rest - Getting horizontal or taking a bath. Exercising can count as rest if you normally sit down all day.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

The Flow State

Flow is the mental state where we are so immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity that we lose sense of space and time...

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.

Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi
Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi

"In the flow-like state, we exercise control over the contents of our consciousness rather than allowing ourselves to be passively determined by external forces."

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How to trigger the flow state
  1. Flow follows focus, and taking physical or social risks drives focus into the now.
  2. Change your routine and increase novelty, unpredictability, and complexity
  3. F...
Research Findings On Flow
  • When a person is in a state of flow, all five potent neurochemicals massively amplify the immune system.
  • While on flow, stress-causing hormones are flushed out of body, and the autoimmune and nervous systems go haywire.
  • A Gallup poll found that most American workers are disengaged and spends less than 5% of their day in flow.
What Flow is

Flow is an optimal state of consciousness, when you feel and perform your best. It’s the moment of total absorption.

Time speeds up or slows down like a freeze-frame effect. Mental and physical ability go through the roof, and the brain takes in more information per second, processing it more deeply.

“Work, Play, Fit, Push” Framework
“Work, Play, Fit, Push”  Framework

1. Set priorities on Sunday.

2. Map out work (limit to top 3), play, fit (plan for at least 30 minutes each day), and push (do something that scares yo...

One hour of writing

Writing for an hour a day can improve your personal and professional life.

A lot can be accomplished by a focused hour of creation time, in which you are not disturbed. Deep creativity tasks,...

Increment progress matters

We tend to underestimate incremental progress. Successful people have a willingness to set micro goals and focus on the process instead of the end goal. It is natural for many to miss this as they cannot see the immediate progress.

Writing helps mental health

Writing daily can help in improving our mental health.

  • It lowers anxiety
  • It makes us feel present for that time
  • A good habit that we enjoy makes us look forward to it
  • It heals our painful experiences by making us see them objectively.

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Organize your office
Organize your office
  • Start with a purge to create an office that is free of clutter.
  • Create a catch-it space for incoming junk to sort through.
  • Keep your desktop clear of c...

Your Desk
The “sit-stand desk” is the optimal choice, because you can sit for a portion of the day and stand for the other portion.

Put your monitor high enough to keep your neck straight, s...

Organization

A cluttered desk sometimes triggers a cluttered mind. That's why everything should have its place, even if that place is just “the right-most stack.” A desk system that matches your personal organization style saves both time and headache.

Colors
  • Red accelerates the heart rate, giving you a jolt of energy. Your eye is instantly drawn to red, and it promotes physical activity and emotion.
  • Orange is a social color, encouraging interaction. It works well in meeting rooms or other social spaces.
  • Yellow stimulates creativity and optimism. 
  • Green is calming, and also causes zero eye strain over long periods of time.
  • Blue is calming and stable, it helps most people focus on intensive tasks.
  • Purple stimulates problem solving, despite not being a very popular color in workspace decor.

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Figure out your morning flow

Starting your day on a high note sets the tone for the rest of your day (or even week). 

Think about the one thing that boosts your mood in the morning and incorporate it into your ro...

Take regular breaks

Not looking away from the computer doesn’t translate into productivity. A good way to boost your motivation throughout the day is to take small exercise breaks.

You can do anything from stretches to treadmill runs, just to get your blood flowing and boost your brain function by moving your body. It also sets the tone for a more energetic afternoon.

Write it all down

Mapping your goals in a visual way is key, as seeing them makes them more real. You’re more likely to follow through on your ideas if you pen them.

Write down your top priorities and designate ways and blocks of time to tackle them. Also minimize distractions (i.e., social media notifications, alarms, news alerts, etc.) to get these things done. 

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Finding happiness at work

Not only is it possible to find happiness at work, but that doing so is unambiguously good. 

Happier employees do better on all fronts, from day-to-day health to productivi...

Portrait of people who are happy in life
  • They have an easy time feeling good and recovering from adversity
  • they have close, supportive social connections
  • they believe that their presence in the world matters.
4 key pillars of happiness at work
  1. Purpose. Our purpose is a reflection of our core values, and we feel more purposeful at work when our everyday behaviors and decisions are aligned with those values.
  2. Engagement. Prioritise some fun. Take ownership of decisions that affects you. Adopt a flow at work.
  3. Resilience. The ability to handle, adapt to, and productively learn from setbacks, failures, and disappointments.
  4. Kindness. Being kind at work involves treating others with dignity and respect, extending empathy and compassion, practicing gratitude, and constructively managing conflicts.
Flow is the state of mind

... where we are so immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity that we lose sense of space and time.

It is thought to be t...

Why it’s hard to achieve flow in your workplace
  • The processes, policies, and busy work gets in the way.
  • Most jobs don’t have a clear goal.
  • Feedback can be inadequate.
  • The pace of work has increased, and it’s hard for people to spend time thinking deeply.
  • Your skills aren’t well matched to the challenges you are allowed to pursue.
  • There’s a lack of control over interruptions or when and how you work.
  • The job doesn’t push you out of your comfort zone.
Take more risks

... to push your mind beyond its comfort zone. Flow happens when we get a bit out of our comfort zone. Too much, and you get anxious; Too little and you get bored.

You need to know your physical or emotional limitations and consciously push past them.

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Take a Nap

Dreaming is a source of inspiration because your brain is working even when you’re asleep.

If you can’t seem to break through your brainstorming session, take a nap.

Drink

People who are concentrating too hard will sometimes block the creative processes necessary for problem-solving.

A drink or two might just help calm your brain.

Listen to Music

Music can put you into a “mind-wandering” state that’s perfectly conducive to coming up with new and creative ideas.

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