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What's the flow state about?

Tasks that encourage flow

These are tasks that tend to have high consequences (e.g., rock climbing or public speaking), clear feedback, and take place in a varied environment.

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What's the flow state about?

What's the flow state about?

https://bigthink.com/personal-growth/what-is-the-flow-state

bigthink.com

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Key Ideas

To enter the flow state

  • An activity must have a clear set of goals and progress.
  • A task must have clear and immediate feedback.
  • There must be a good balance between the perceived challenge of the task and the individual's own perceived skills.

Flow = focusing on the present moment

When you are experiencing flow, it seems like the task at hand is almost performing itself.

But there's still a sense of personal control over it, and working on it feels very rewarding.

Tasks that encourage flow

These are tasks that tend to have high consequences (e.g., rock climbing or public speaking), clear feedback, and take place in a varied environment.

The flow state

We experience the "flow state" when a given task becomes effortless and time slips by without our noticing. It's an absorbing, intrinsically rewarding state that we enter when performing certain tasks.

When in the flow state we experience mindfulness and actions and awareness merge, so that it seems like the task is almost performing itself. Despite this, there's still a sense of personal control over the task at hand, and performing it feels intrinsically rewarding.

Choosing an activity to enter the flow state

Arguably, the most important criteria in the pursuit of flow is to pick intrinsically rewarding tasks that have high consequences (e.g., rock climbing or public speaking), clear feedback, and take place in a rich and varied environment (so not your office cubicle).

To enter the flow state...

  1. The activity must have a clear set of goals and progress, which adds direction and structure to the task.
  2. The task must have clear and immediate feedback, which enables the person to adjust while performing the task.
  3. There must be a good balance between the perceived challenge of the task and the individual's own perceived skills. Lacking skill for a challenge produces anxiety, while being over-skilled leads to relaxation.

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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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...

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.

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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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The Flow State

Is an optimal state of consciousness where we feel and perform our best. It happens when we are completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Your whol...

Factors that often accompany the flow state
  1. Having clear goals about what you want to achieve
  2. Concentration and focus
  3. Participating in an intrinsically rewarding activity
  4. Losing feelings of self-consciousness
  5. Losing track of time passing
  6. Being able to immediately judge your own progress; instant feedback on your performance
  7. Knowing that your skills align with the goals of the task
  8. Feeling control over the situation and the outcome
  9. Lack of awareness of physical needs
  10. Complete focus on the activity itself
Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi
Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi

 “Flow also happens when a person’s skills are fully involved in overcoming a challenge that is just about manageable, so it acts as a magnet for learning new skills and increasing challenges. If challenges are too low, one gets back to flow by increasing them. If challenges are too great, one can return to the flow state by learning new skills.”

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The subconscious writer

We sometimes have to get out of our own way.
Too much conscious thinking about anything will become a source of stress; it makes us anxious and over-cautious as the fear piles up.

Get into daily rituals

Use them to support your body, your emotions, and your intellect.
For this to happen, make sure you:

  • sleep well
  • eat nutritiously and intentionally
  • exercise
  • read and find intellectual stimulation
  • connect with others
  • do things that excite you and give life meaning
  • live your values.
Get into journaling

It helps you in the process of developing the right mindset of a writer.
Journaling makes you reflect on your life, imagine future possibilities, and you get to play with words because this is also a writing exercise.

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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 involve..."

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Defining Flow

Being in a state of flow means being immersed in the activity you are doing that you forget abut the outside world.
And you are most likely to reach this state when your skills are well-matched with your goal’s challenge.

Achieving Flow
  • Set specific goals, that are aligned to your purpose, passions and values.
  • Focus all your attention to the task in front of you.
  • Enjoy the moment, and do not worry about the result
The Flow State

Flow happens when we hit a rhythm and our work hums optimally; when we find "the zone" of productivity. It’s a state that’s easily disrupted by distractions but can be achieved and sustained...

Tactics To Get Into Flow
  • Separate some time to deep pursuits and leave the rest open to everything else. Channel your inner monastic for a limited stretch of time. Afterwards, return to regular accessibility.
  • Remove the obstacles of “when” and “where” by setting a time and a place for deep work, and making it a habit.
  • When you need to do deep work on demand: fit it into your schedule whenever you can. Developing the ability to "switch on" your deep work muscles is less challenging than dedicating the free time to purposeful work.
Lifestyle Gamification
Lifestyle Gamification

It is when you to turn a task into a game to motivate yourself to finish it.

It motivates the "player" to chase after rewards as he gets points and achieve new levels with new challen...

What Makes Games Addictive
  • Epic meaning and calling to finish a mission.
  • Development and accomplishment inspires us to finish the game.
  • Empowerment of creativity to bring imagination to life.
  • Ownership and possession of rewards.
  • Social influence and relatedness or envy.
  • Scarcity and impatience to have things we don't have.
  • Undpredictability and curiosity of what the next challenges are.
  • Loss coins and chances and avoidance of failure.
Be a Game Master
Attach rewards to your to do list. 
  • Reward yourself for fulfilling one or several tasks

Use surprise rewards.

  • Determine a reward by chance.

Engage in time-based challenges

Make a deal with your friend.

  • Challenge and motivate each other to finish a task

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The Pomodoro Technique

Pomodoro is doing focused work in 25-minute sessions throughout the day. After each session, take a five-minute break. After completing four consecutive Pomodoros, take a 20 to 30-minute break.

The Problem with Pomodoro

Pomodoro is excellent for tackling tasks you don't feel like doing or jobs that require little thought.

However, other tasks, like writing or coding, require uninterrupted time. The problem with the Pomodoro method is that the timer is a consistent interruption that prevents you from getting into a state of flow.

The Flowtime Technique

It is a modified Pomodoro. And it solves Pomodoro's big problems.

  • It works by writing down one task you intend to work on during a focus session.
  • Then work until you start feeling tired or distracted, write down the end time, and take a break. A break can be anything from 5 minutes to 15 minutes.

Because you're not tied to a timer, you're more likely to find yourself in a flow state from time to time.

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Components Of Mental Toughness
  • Challenge: Viewing challenges as opportunities rather than obstacles.
  • Control: Believing that you are in control of your life and destiny.
  • Commitment:
Believe In Your Ability To Succeed

Mentally tough people truly believe they can succeed. That extends to encompass even mundane things in their life.

Whatever you challenge yourself with, believing in yourself is essential. Avoid negative self-talk and instead focus your energy on staying positive and self-encouraging.

Seek Intrinsic Rewards

Intrinsic motivations are those that come from within an individual and involve doing things for their own sake. They drive them to do better, push harder, be stronger, and persevere.

Mentally tough people don't focus on the possible rewards that may await them at the end of a challenge. Instead, they see participating and overcoming challenges as rewarding in and of themselves.

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