You are said to be in a flow state when fully immersed in an activity. Popularised by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Jeanne Nakamura, the flow state is said to occur while pursuing something that you enjoy and in which you are pretty skilled.

People who have experienced flow have described the experience as a highway for hyper-productivity and creativity.

Achieving Flow State

Let us quickly explore ways to achieve it and the various benefits of pursuing it.

You are much more likely to achieve a flow state when your mind is free from distractions, so ideally, it would be good to take things off your mind and store them elsewhere.

You can do that by simply opening up an app like Routine before a work session and writing down every thought/idea that pops into your head.

This exercise intends not to make a perfect list of ideas but to create a trusted place to store these ideas, and this is a method advocated by David Allen in his book, Getting Things Done.

The flow state is also commonly experienced when you are engaged in challenging and stimulating activities over a long period.

So when you have a challenging or stimulating task, it would help you block a longer time slot and then get started on it.

You can again block time on an app like Routine or the Google Calendar.

Blocking time will ensure that you don't have anything else on your plate during that period, increasing the chances of achieving the flow state.

Finally, another strategy to achieve a flow state would be to clean up the clutter from your workspace to ensure that you are not distracted.

You could take a two-step approach to this:

  1. Clear out your physical surrounding. This means everything that is not part of your task should not be present on your desk, so be ruthless about it and stash non-relevant items away.
  2. Clear out your desktop or laptop if you work on these devices. This includes closing all tabs that are not relevant, cleaning up your desktop if exposed to it, and finally disengaging with any tool or app that might cause a distraction by closing them or muting notifications.

Let's quickly summarise the four strategies that can be used to achieve a flow state:

  1. Download all your thoughts and ideas into a trusted place like the Routine App or even a physical notebook.
  2. Finding vital tasks and doing them for a while.
  3. Blocking time for specific tasks and avoiding multi-tasking.
  4. Clean up the clutter both physically and digitally to avoid distractions.

Benefits of the Flow State

Some of the most significant advantages of achieving the flow state are:

  1. Achieving high levels of productivity and creativity.
  2. Nurturing a certain level of mastery in a subject or topic since those who are achieving this state are constantly challenging themselves.
  3. Lack of mental chatter that hinders productivity.

Conclusion

So that is about it when it comes to Flow state. If you would like to learn more about it, we highly recommend the book Flow by psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi.

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