Increase Productivity By Practicing These 5 Easy Steps To Find Your Flow

Developing the ability to enter a state of flow is life-changing.When you come into full contact with the present moment and lose track of the world around you, time flies, productivity skyrockets, and you experience a deep sense of fulfillment.

Positive psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wrote, spoke, and intensively studied the state of flow. He said:

“The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. Optimal experience is thus something we make happen” (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990, p. 3).

Here are five ways to find your flow every single day:

1. Select an appropriate task and make it challenging

If you want to enter a flow state, you need to select a task that’s challenging enough to create mental/emotional arousal — you need to be engaged. If you can’t find a task that’s stimulating and engaging, then you need to create more difficult goals within a task to create an optimal level of difficulty. For example, don’t just attempt to reply to emails — challenge yourself to reply to each as quickly as possible in a short amount of time.

2. Develop proficient skills to complete the task and then strive for more

After you’ve selected the task, you need to develop the skills required to meet the demands of the task. If the task is difficult and challenging, developing your skills to meet the demands of the situation will help you find flow — after all, if you don’t have the basic skills the task will be too difficult. If you have all of the skills necessary, then you need to re-frame your goals and find ways to make the task more meaningful — keep yourself striving to stretch your skills to the edge of their development rather than settling for something too easy.

3. Set clear goals for your flow session

Part of finding flow is being clear on what you want to achieve. Specify markers that will let you know if you’re in the process of achieving your goals and signs that indicate when you’ve successfully met your goals.These indicators will give you feedback during your task.

4. Eliminate distractions and set boundaries to protect your time/space

Put down your iPhone, turn off the television, close out of your group office chat, and glance at the clock. You’re going to need a minimum of 15 minutes to enter a state of flow, so make sure you have sufficient time allocated to the task at hand. Show your goals and the state of consciousness you wish to enter some respect by creating an optimally encouraging and safe environment.

5. Immerse yourself in the present moment

Start bringing your awareness to the now. Connect to your breath and what it feels like to be in your body. With deliberate movements, go about your activity while allowing the mind to remain focused on sensations and actions rather than being distracted by thoughts. As thoughts and feelings enter your mind, allow them to pass by like clouds against a blue sky. Remember, finding your flow means staying grounded as the sky and letting everything else melt away.

Csikszentmihalyi believes that happiness and peak performance come from within. His research led him to conclude that humans have the unique ability to create environments that facilitate the development of a state of flow. According to Csikszentmihalyi’s research, here are seven statements that summarize what it feels like to be in a state of flow:

You’re completely immersed in what you’re doing, such that you have a singular focus on the task at hand. There’s a sense of ecstasy pervading your experience that feels outside of everyday reality. You have the felt-experience of inner clarity originating in your knowledge of what must be done and the integration of immediate feedback from the environment. Because you have the necessary skill set, you recognize that you’re able to accomplish the task hand. No energy is directed towards distractions, fears of failure, or other concerns because you are only concerned with the here-and-now. Due to your immersion in the present moment, your sense of time falls from your awareness.

You experience flow is the reward! It demonstrates that the process is the destination. Become one with your task and enter the zone of peak performance. Learn to pay attention to what’s happening in the present moment and start enjoying your immediate experience. The more you practice the five steps above, the more proficient you’ll become at finding your flow.

Article credit : Dr. Matthew Jones from Medium

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