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Flow State: What It Is and How to Achieve It

The Flow State

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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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 ...

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."

Self control to trigger a state of Flow

To get into a state of flow more often, we need to be able to increase our level of control over our consciousness:

  • Find standards to determine whether any action you’re going to take is desirable towards getting into a state of flow.
  • Self-control and flow depend on immediate feedback; find ways to constantly monitor your performance and adjust as you continue.
  • Be wary of your mental energy. Define your work schedule to account for the variations in mental strength throughout the day.
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.

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 bal...
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.

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.