The ‘Flow State’ is a state of mind in which you are entirely focused on the task at hand. It can happen during almost any task: exercise, sport, gaming, creative activities, and even more mundane work-day tasks such as gathering information or data entry. The defining feature is that feeling of immersion and sense of being “shut off” from the outside world. It is often referred to as being ‘in the zone’ or ‘in the flow’, but the psychological term for it is ‘the flow state’.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the flow state is that it doesn’t have to occur randomly. Although it does often seem to come along by itself, there are actually ways to induce it. There is a lot of speculation around exactly what works best to make this happen but, luckily for you, team P1C has done the dirty work for you.
1. Set Up Your Environment
The first step in preparing yourself for a period of flow is preparing your surroundings. You want to create an environment that is conducive to productivity. The best way to do this is to think about your senses.
Vision – Think about cleaning and tidying your workspace to ensure there isn’t any clutter in front of or around you. Then ensure you will be free from distractions during the period you want to focus. If you are in the office, perhaps you can move into a private meeting room or pod. Or, if you are at home, ask anyone you live with to give you a little privacy for a while.
Taste – Grab yourself a glass or bottle of water to ensure you aren’t distracted by thirst.
Hearing – Now think about sound. If you like to work in silence, grab sound noise-canceling headphones or pop on some white noise. If music is your thing, try a ‘flow’ playlist or put on a playlist of your favourite artists (just as long as it isn’t one that distracts you!).
Smell – Finally, consider lighting a candle or spraying an invigorating scent near your workspace to fire up your olfactory senses.
Touch – Is your chair comfortable? Are you comfortable in your clothes? Make sure you are comfortable enough to stay in the same spot for a while, but not so comfortable that you might start drifting off to sleep!
1. Set Your Intentions
The next step is to set your intentions for your flow period. How long are you going to be in the flow state? What goals do you want to achieve whilst in your flow state? Make sure you challenge yourself, but be realistic – don’t give yourself an impossible task!
1. Clear Your Mind
Finally, the most productive flow sessions start with a clear mind. Try a short meditation to refocus and prepare yourself for the task ahead.
Once your “flow” period is complete, don’t forget to wind down. Being in the flow state can be taxing both mentally and physically, so it is really important to bring yourself back to earth gently. Try another short meditation, take a quick break, and then review what you achieved during your flow state before moving on to your next task.
Not ready to get in the zone right now? Bookmark this blog for next time you really want to immerse yourself in a task (and don’t forget to let us know how it goes!)