The art of achieving flow

In the attempt to understand what makes us feel happy, it seems I cannot overlook the topic of achieving flow. As several psychologists have researched, experiencing this state in which we are completely involved in what we’re doing, losing track of time, being focused, having clarity and losing our worries is a main ingredient to give us a sense of meaning and purpose.

Ever experienced this state of mind in which you are über productive? It is as if you can almost observe yourself smoothly creating the outcomes you have set for yourself. It feels great and is worth fostering to spread into our daily lives.

According to Dr. Csikszentmihalyi, we can reach the flow state when getting the balance right between how challenging the task is and how well we are skilled at it.

flow1Simply put, our skills need to be aced and the challenge needs to be challenging enough. If any of the two factors are out of balance, worries and anxiety can overwhelm us or we get too comfortable and bored in order to be productive.

Watch his Ted talk here.

The foundation for getting into flow

Think about the challenge. Whatever the task is that you wish to complete, make sure it is challenging enough, but not unachievably difficult. If it is too easy, we get easily bored and our mind is likely to look for distraction. Likewise, if it is too difficult, it will be hard to keep up the concentration.

Develop the skills. Apparently it requires 10 years of practice to be perfectly skilled at something. While this number may seem off-putting at first, it suggests the complexity of how our brain functions. When we attempt to become highly productive at something, we need to practice, practice, practice.

Know your goals. A sense of achievement comes from completing tasks. Knowing your goals and working towards them does not only give us that, but it also ensures that we can stop at a certain point, to recharge our mental and physical batteries.

Link body and mind. A good mental state requires a healthy body as a foundation. It is therefore imperative for us to prepare for productivity through regular exercise and healthy eating. Many successful people integrate this into their morning routine, by starting their day with workout, mindfulness and a good breakfast.

Related article: How to close the gap between wasting time and productivity

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