You’ve probably heard the term ‘flow’ used a lot by a meditation guide or yoga teacher, but what is it? It’s being fully immersed in the complexities of a task and its execution process to perfectly execute it. It comes to a point where you feel like you’re floating and your body is only made to do that one thing, at that time. Kind of an out-of-body experience where you are only vaguely aware of the other things around you.
This is known as “the zone”. The mental state of operation which leaves a person feeling energized and focused. Numerous people use this state of mind for professional sports where you must be 100% focused to perfectly execute a goal. It is not a concept that is unique to just professionals. It is a concept that should be implemented into everyone’s life. The peace and tranquillity that can be accomplished can leave you feeling accomplished and fulfilled.
So, get in “the zone” right now and read on through for some powerful insights on the flow state.
Stave Off Anti-Flow Emotions
To achieve a state of ‘flow’, there are numerous factors that can affect your state of mind. And one of the most important things to know is that ridding yourself of the following emotions will help you accomplish flow sooner:
As this complex state of mind lingers in the conscious zone of arousal and control, it is highly important to take around 15 minutes to accomplish ridding yourself of the listed anti-flow emotions. Make sure you do not pressure yourself to achieve it sooner, simply let the feeling of it take over.
It is already tough in itself to be in the state of mind where you achieve flow. Add to that anti-flow emotions or distractions, and you can break your work concentration in a matter of seconds.
The examples you may experience in the breakage are:
- Worry and anxiety due to deadlines or unreasonable expectations placed on you by yourself or others.
- Being upset about personal issues such as friction within your work’s organisation.
- Loss of enthusiasm about activities and goals. Noted that this can happen from activities being either to easy or too difficult.
- Feeling too relaxed collides with the conscious zone of arousal and control. In order to feel yourself in control and aroused you must find the zone of wanting.
8 Ways to Promote the Flow State
1) Do not commit to impossible tasks
It may seem straight forward, but in our day-to-day lives, we get the constant ‘lists are stacking up’ feeling. If you have this feeling, it is normally because a task you have been assigned is not achievable. You need to take initiative and make it clear. If you are sure that the goal is impossible, you are going to lack the confidence levels needed to enter the state of flow.
2) Create distraction-proof time on your schedule/remove distractions within your control
Working within an office or working from home can be two very different environments. Within an office space, flow may seem more accomplishable to reach as you are surrounded by like-minded, and influenced co-workers who are working towards the same deadline.
At home, the story can be a bit different from person to person. If you have children, or even living in a share house, removing distractions can seem impossible. Working through the night can be more accomplishable for a lot of people due to the elimination of distractions. This confidence level is very powerful, it removes the worry of being interrupted.
3) Understand your goal and why it is important
Without clear focus of a goal, the importance of the goal is hard to establish. Mentally preparing for an outcome or visualising an outcome can set clear guidelines for you to stick to. This is why a lot of people say they “work better under pressure”, they are at a mental point where they can see the work they must accomplish. To achieve flow earlier, avoiding potential anxiety is vital for peak performance to understand your goal early in the work.
4) Try to collect as much information as you need ahead of time
If you are preparing for a large task that you feel may be nearly impossible, gather some information before you commit to the task. When you start unlocking various sectors of information or gaining a new perspective, this may lead you to enter flow sooner.
5) Make a list of your top priorities, stresses or anxieties
Adding a sense of concern or urgency by laying out the problems you are anticipating to face eases any potential anxiety and adds structure to the concerns polluting your mind. From here, you can ease into the flow zone by setting accomplishable goals and focus on the processes at hand.
6) Focus on the process, not the result
As mentioned above, the process is vital! Being aware of the end result is a great control step, however the process is the critical increments to accomplish the final result. From accomplishing a sense of flow, you will find the process to act as muscle memory as you flow through and achieve one step at a time. By staying in the moment, you stay in the flow.
7) Do not relax
Although it sounds unusual, relaxation cannot be a part of flow. Flow is the state of both arousal/motivation and confidence. If you are too relaxed, as we all know, your mind will start to wonder and distract the core goal from becoming accomplished.
Making work environments to accommodate a working space instead of a relation space is obviously much easier within an external office environment. However, working from home may take some time to adjust. Find the time to see what is and isn’t working for you, and remember to enforce self-established guidelines to avoid self-interruptions.
8) Take breaks to refocus
The pressure of working through a long winding process can be overwhelming at the worst of times. If you need to take a break to regain inspiration or a positive attitude, you should! It is proven that people who take time to re-align their flow in a productive manner are more energetic than those who have lost interest.
This may be as simple as re-evaluating your time schedule, removing distractions or taking a moment to reflect on the work you have accomplished already. Developing a sense of confidence to move around your ideal flow is an important movement within the flow process.
The Ebb and Flow of it
Flow takes time to develop and structure. Once you have mastered implementing flow into your everyday working schedule, hours and minutes will streamline quickly. Immersion into tasks can feel like muscle memory in no time if you listen to your body and motivate your mind to feel inspired, energized and focused.