Those who are in a state of flow tend to produce more, accomplish more, and feel more satisfied—it’s an amazing experience. Achieving flow has been the key to many success stories. With these seven simple implementations, you can experience flow any time you want. Have fun!
Definition of Flow State – What is Flow?
Flow is that elusive experience of total focus and immersion, where nothing exists outside of the task at hand. In fact, you will be so deep in the zone, you will forget about your surroundings, your existence, and even time itself.
When flow occurs, you have a clear path of ideas and creativity, and you become one with them. To achieve the state of flow, you have to have a clear objective and have a routine that you can follow.
For most, the state of flow doesn’t happen often, but when it does occur it is accompanied by an intense feeling of satisfaction.
8 Characteristics of Flow State
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the pioneer of Flow and author of the international hit book ‘Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience’, uses these 8 characteristics to describe flow:
- Complete concentration on the task
- Clarity of goals and reward in mind and immediate feedback
- Transformation of time (speeding up/slowing down)
- The experience is intrinsically rewarding
- Effortlessness and ease
- There is a balance between challenge and skills
- Actions and awareness are merged, losing self-conscious rumination
- There is a feeling of control over the task
How to get into a state of Flow
When you think of flow as being in a state of oneness and timelessness, it can make it a little easier to think of ways you’ve brought yourself to that state in the past and how to do it again.
*The points I mention below are based on my own experience and not taken from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book Flow. I’ve actually never read his book!
1. Have a Clear-Cut Goal and Purpose
Having a clear goal and purpose for the task at hand creates intention. This intention allows you to narrow down your focus to not get distracted by wondering what to do next or other forward-thinking. Thus, keeping your mind on the task at hand as opposed to thinking outside of it. This is what creates that mindless experience.
Go into your space with a plan and trust the path it takes you down at the moment.
2. Create A Conductive Environment
What is the ideal environment for you to get into flow?
It’ll likely share many of these characteristics:
- Clean and decluttered
- Comfortable arrangement
- A plant or two
- A room with no emotional attachment
- Aromatherapy diffuser
- Calm lighting and colours
- Light music or binaural beats
The more your space shares these characteristics the better chance you’ll have at finding your flow.
3. Eliminate Distractions
Distractions are the arch-nemesis to finding your flow. You don’t see professional tennis players checking their phone in between sets, do you? Why not? It’s obvious, right?
The tiniest distraction will prevent you from getting into a flow state or snap you out of a flow state if you’re already in it. Do yourself a favour and put your phone on silent or ‘do not disturb’.
If you’re on your computer or laptop, turn off all background notifications for emails and social media. Better yet, block all social media websites from being accessed in your browser settings.
If you’re sharing a house or space with another, kindly ask them not to disturb for the next x amount of time. You can even place a ‘DO NOT DISTURB’ sign on your door as a reminder.
You get the point.
4. Meditation / Breath Work
To get into a state of flow you must be one with your body and mind. There’s no separation between the two. There’s no “body” doing the work. There’s no “mind” thinking the thoughts.
Practising meditation or breathwork has a proven track record of assisting people into this state of oneness.
5. Have To Be Somewhere? Set An Alarm
Given that the state of flow is also a state of timelessness, constantly worrying about what time it is will prevent you from being in a state of flow. If you have a future time obligation, set your alarm to ensure you snap out of your flow when needed.
6. Get Quality Sleep
It’s no secret that not getting enough quality sleep hinders our cognitive processes. We become more impatient and easily agitated. Our memory becomes distorted. We tend to have more ‘brain farts’ and our ability to think clearly gets lost and foggy.
This is why pro athletes, speakers, musicians, singers, etc. all emphasize the importance of sleep. There’s no hack to make up for a poor night’s sleep, no amount of stimulants will make up for it.
We’re all different and therefore our sleep needs are different. Generally, most people need between 6-8 hrs of quality sleep to perform optimally.
7. Brain Supplements (optional)
I hope you enjoyed this article on flow! With the seven simple ideas provided in this post, you’ll be on your way to achieving a state of flow anytime you want. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me in the comments below. Thanks for reading, I hope you found some useful information here that will help you achieve your goals.