Tasks that encourage flow

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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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.

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).

  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.

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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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IDEAS

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 triggered by a clear set of goals and having your skills pushed just beyond their breaking point while receiving and reacting to continuous feedback. Through Flow, we can work more and be happier, feel more accomplished, and get better at our jobs. 

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 whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.

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