Have you ever gotten up from your desk and realized you had completely lost track of time?
That’s a rare feeling, being so engulfed by your task that you lose awareness. That state is called “Flow.” Achieving Flow is key to having a good work experience. It increases your productivity and helps reduce your stress levels. In this article, we are going to take a detailed look at the flow state, covering what it is, why it’s important, and how to achieve it.
What is a Flow State?
The flow state is the feeling you have when the task at hand is being given your undivided attention. It is forgetting about the outside world to completely be immersed in the item in front of you.
You will recognize this state by the following qualities:
- Complete immersion on the task at hand
- Losing track of time
- Forgetting about the concerns of the outside world
- Experiencing a happy, free state of mind
- Experience high levels of creativity
It is similar to the idea of living in the moment and not concerning yourself with the past or future, but simply the present.
Why do we need it?
Focusing on one task at a time is the key to productivity. Multi-tasking, while impressive, can mean that items get left behind. But flow state dictates that you are giving your complete energy to one concept, making it much easier to dot your i’s and cross your t’s.
Flow supports quality over quantity. Giving complete focus allows you to create a quality product, as opposed to mass producing many mediocre products. To achieve this, it means you have to start focusing on getting important, larger projects completed, instead of getting lost in emails, phone, calls, and daily small tasks. Once you know where to point your focus, Flow is going to help you get it done.
Best of all Flow state promote enjoyment. Losing yourself in a task is far less stressful than juggling multiple small ones. Imagine how much happier you will be at the end of the day looking at your final product.
How do I we achieve a Flow state?
Surprisingly meditation, though a helpful tool, is not the answer. Flow is anything but mystical. It is practical and applicable to everyday life. Here are some steps to follow, to make flow an everyday experience.
- Work somewhere you love. If you hate what you are doing, flow state is impossible. You cannot give your full attention to a task you detest. Find projects and careers that inspire you and make you want to focus and create.
- Choose your most important project. If the item you are working on is too easy it’s hard to concentrate or care. Choose something that will have an effect and give you the return you want, for putting in the effort.
- Make it challenging, but not too much so. You should have to use your full concentration, but if the task is too difficult you may spend too much time on logistics and as opposed to application.
- Find the best time for you. Everyone’s internal clock is different; we experience highs and lows at different times throughout the day. Know yourself, and choose a time where you are ready for peak concentration.
- Remove all external stimuli. Turn off your music, put away your phone, clear your desk, and sit with this task. Distraction will only pull you away from the moment.
- Take as much time as possible. Give yourself all the time you need to get optimal results. Make sure you have no upcoming appointments or meetings so that you have no need to stress over time constraints and then slow down and concentrate.
- Have fun. Appreciate the feeling of flow while you are in it. Putting your all into something is exhilarating, enjoy it.
- Never stop practicing. This is not an easy thing to do. You will fail and you will succeed, the important part is to keep trying. Make each task bigger or take longer to complete. Challenge yourself to get better and you will.
- Feel the benefits. Notice how much happier you are in general. How much more fulfilled you feel at the end of the day and revel in it, because you deserve it.
Bonus Tip: If you would like to learn more about how to harness a Flow state in your everyday life check out this link here.