Sometimes when we’re working, we hit a state of maximum efficiency and productivity. This state of pure creativity and focus is called flow. Mihaly Csikszentmijalyi, the psychologist who coined the term, describes it as “a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter.” This state can be a boon for entrepreneurs who are trying to maximize the amount of productivity they get out of their day. Below are some tips for establishing a flow state that will enable you to achieve big things at work.
The most important way to get into a flow state is to eliminate distractions. For some, this may mean turning off the computer and turning to pen and paper to draft out ideas. It may not be a bad idea to separate yourself from devices that may be a distraction, like your phone or computer, for a little while; their interruptions, be they emails, text messages, or calls, can easily break your focus. If possible, try clearing your schedule for the first two hours of the workday.
Writing out your plans can help to keep you focused on achieving your goals. While some people may like to keep a mental roadmap, it can be especially helpful to write it out visually. Keep this plan in front of you while your working to keep yourself focused and engaged. To help boost accountability, conduct daily feedback sessions with yourself or one of your mentors to keep track of your progress and how far you are from your goal.
It may be counterintuitive, but sometimes another activity outside of your work can invite flow. Let your curiosity guide you and invite the flow state. Once you get into your flow, transition to work. For example, you might run or meditate. To sustain your flow, you might want to take a few short breaks, but make sure that they are short enough that they don’t fracture your attention span. Another way to invite flow is to get out of your usual workspace and go somewhere new, even if it’s just your patio.
Plan for Flow
Making sure that you have enough time in your schedule for your flow state is essential. Experts typically recommend somewhere between 90 to 120 minutes, which allows you enough time to reach your flow state, which can take up to 45 minutes, and then remain there without the stress of an impending deadline. Once you’ve blocked off your schedule, set a goal to work on during that time.