Your Creative Health - Deepstash

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.

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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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  • 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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  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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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

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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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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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“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 you but helps you grow).

3. Batch your days: in terms of creation, calls & meetings, etc.

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