How to Achieve the Flow State
You’re working on the latest blog post for your side-hustle and you find yourself fully entranced in the work you are doing (not at all talking about myself lol). There is nothing that can get in the way of the flow you feel. You’re pumping out more words per minute than you could have ever imagined and it’s all due to this amazing feeling and focus you have at the moment. What if any time you were trying to complete a task you could feel this way? Wouldn’t you be absolutely over the moon if that were the case? Lucky for you this article is going to break down what flow is, how to achieve the flow state and how we can utilize it to the best of our abilities.
What is Flow State?
By definition, the flow state is a “feeling where, under the right conditions, you become fully immersed in what you are doing.” It’s that feeling you get when you have become one with the task you are doing and nothing else in the world matters. I often find myself in this state when I am running, recording, or editing a video. It’s the place we all wish we could be during each and every monotonous task we have to do in this world. High-performing people around the world utilize the flow state to actually achieve world-class performances in various sports and activities.
From football players to chess grandmasters, surgeons, and more the flow state helps us as humans utilize the mind to reach new heights both physically and mentally. If you have ever had the best performance of your life on a test, sporting event, or even video game then you know exactly what it is like to be in the flow state.
Benefits of Flow
The benefits of this state are vast and positive across the board. According to verywellmind.com’s article on flow state, a person can experience the following when they are in flow:
- Better emotional regulation
- Greater enjoyment and fulfillment
- Greater happiness
- Greater intrinsic motivation
- Increased engagement
- Improved performance
- Learning and skill development
- More creativity
Now that is a laundry list of benefits to achieving this state. I mean, to be honest, I’m not quite sure whether there is another type of mental feeling like this in the world.
How Can We Trigger the Flow State?
In order to achieve this state, one might think it’s pretty difficult considering all of the benefits that come along with it. Lucky for all of us it’s actually not that hard of an achievement. Even though many of our tasks in the world appear mundane and incapable of getting us into flow there are ways we can trick our brain into this state. Here is a list of some of the ways that we can trigger flow.
- Set clear goals: When it comes to being in the flow, we cannot just fly by the seat of our pants and hope for it to happen. In his book on flow, Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi explains that flow will more likely occur if we are completing a task with specific goals in mind. In the case of running a race, your clear goal is to run a certain time or win. Due to this your mind is entirely focused on achieving that goal and nothing else until the race is over.
- Create Novelty: By changing your environment into a “rich environment” filled with novelty you can put yourself out of your usual workplace rut and enter the flow state. Many people find this by going to a new coffee shop to get work done. This is an example of a great way to break out of the normal day-to-day and be in flow. If you want to do this within your home then try working in a different room or at a different table. Change is good when it comes to flow!
- Risk / High Consequences: When you have something huge to reach for or something big to lose your mind is going to be more focused on that topic than otherwise. While not everyone has the same level of risk tolerance, it is important to try and find a level of risk in the little tasks you have to complete in order to achieve flow in them. Have a work project you really don’t like? Give yourself an arbitrary time deadline and make a bet with yourself to achieve flow and get it done quicker and better!
How You Can Utilize it
The flow state is something we all can utilize in our lives as the normal novelty of new jobs and activities wear off. Each and every one of us has constants in our lives we wish were more lively and gave us the same level of flow as they did on day one. With that being said, we all can utilize flow in order to improve upon those same mundane tasks. By understanding the triggers of flow state and putting them in a place where we can, we can find a more meaningful, positive, and fun life. While I may be “the productivity guy” and think this mental state is one of the greatest efficiency tricks of all time, it is not lost on me how beneficial flow can be for our mental health.
By being happy in the work you are doing, the rest of your life will be a breeze. Most people from what I’ve noticed find the majority of their stress in that 9-5 grind. They are constantly complaining about their work and wish they could have less of it. While working less could be great, I ask you all this question. Wouldn’t it be great if you could love working? While it may not be able to help with everything, I truly believe flow can get you part of the way there when it comes to your workplace happiness.
For me, I’m going to keep utilizing the flow state in my daily life and with all of the tasks I enjoy and the ones I otherwise wouldn’t be too fond of. If you are looking for a way to build a better life then I would recommend finding a way to utilize flow today.