Have you ever stopped to notice how often you’re truly present with the task at hand, otherwise known as a state of flow? Athletes call it, ‘the Zone’ and artists know it as the birthplace of creative genius. However, you don’t have to be an artist to reap the rewards of deliberately accessing a mental state of working effortlessly.
It starts with understanding what naturally helps you get there, and doing more of it. When you do, you stand to experience greater levels of happiness, productivity and inspiration, across all areas of life.
Turn off all distractions and practice deep breathing, to drop into a state of flow.
Forgetting that time exists
What do you do, on a daily or weekly basis, that enables you to lose awareness of time? You’re not wishing the hours away, nor are you scrambling for more. You’re so present with your task, that time simply doesn’t exist and the doing of it is completely effortless. Perhaps it’s gardening, working on a fulfilling project, swimming, practicing yoga, learning a new skill or playing with a pet.
If you’re thinking that, for you, time never ceases to exist, it generally means mental clutter is getting in the way. Make a point of organising your tasks and planning when, exactly, to do them. This way, you can concentrate properly on dropping into a state of flow, without those constant, nagging thoughts that you should be doing something else.
When you’re in a state of flow, you’re actively, yet effortlessly, pursuing a goal.
Actively pursuing a goal
Contrary to popular belief, there’s nothing passive about being in a state of flow.
Contrary to popular belief, there’s nothing passive about being in a state of flow. It doesn’t mean simply drifting along in some kind of happy fairyland akin to daydreaming. In flow, you’re intentionally choosing your actions and directing all your resources at the task at hand, in the present moment.
While this may feel effortless, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re engaging in an easy task. It’s in this state that highly complex problems are solved, works of art are created and world records are broken. Total focus, without extraneous thoughts or interruptions, is razor sharp, therefore enabling you to produce or accomplish great things.
Deliberately dropping into flow
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It’s possibly to find yourself accidentally in a state of flow, especially when you’re doing something you thoroughly enjoy. Everything just ‘clicks’ and runs smoothly until, before you know it, it’s eight hours later and you haven’t eaten a bite. However, everyone from elite athletes to entrepreneurs perform routines to deliberately access the state. This is as simple as turning off all distractions, such as phones and the TV. Set up water and snacks within easy reach, so hunger doesn’t interrupt. Put music on or light scented candles, if that helps you relax into focus. Allow at least 15 minutes for your mind to settle on the task at hand, without succumbing to procrastination, and take deep breaths to calm erratic thoughts.
Before you know it, you’ll be creating your own work of art - whether it’s tonight’s dinner or a successful investment plan - with the effortlessness of flow.