Tell me if this has ever happened to you:
You begin a project that you really enjoy – it engages you to the point where you lose all track of time. You literally sit down to work, and the next time you look at the time, HOURS have gone by. But instead of feeling drained or tired of the task, you feel completely engaged and happy.
THAT, my friends, is called ‘flow”, or alternately, ‘zone’. And it’s a wonderful thing.
When work doesn’t feel like work, that is the best kind of work to do and work that you should strive to get more of in your life. Here are 8 ways you can achieve flow:
Choose tasks that are JUST challenging enough
Studies show that if the work (or challenge) is too great, we become disheartened and can begin to feel anxious about the task, which gives us a negative feeling that we will associate with similar future tasks.
Aim for projects that balance both skill and challenge, and if you strike the right balance, you’ll find your enthusiasm will increase,
Have a clear understanding of the task at hand
It’s fairly obvious that the clearer the task outline is, the easier it will be to go from start to finish, whereas if you get partway through the task, and experience a hiccup of sorts, this can be construed as a minor setback, which interrupts the possibility of “flow”.
Give yourself uninterrupted time
Reducing interruptions to the best of your ability will allow you to immerse yourself in the task, giving you a greater chance of achieving flow.
Determine your most productive time of day
This is also known as biological peak time. Do you work best in the morning? Aim to block out time in the morning for specific tasks that require a lot of attention. If you’re a night-owl, the same applies – block out your evenings and limit all distractions.
If music helps you achieve flow, make sure to tune in
Some people work best with music, others need complete silence. There is no right or wrong answer with this, it’s very individual. Choose what works best for you and stick with it.
Have a clear goal
When you’re able to establish a clear goal, it helps with limiting distractions, and keep your mind from wandering off-task. Without knowing the expected outcome, how will you know when you’re actually finished the task? Without this goal, you’ll be more likely to procrastinate, therefore, you won’t enter flow.
Enjoy some caffeine
Caffeine’s not for everyone, but if it doesn’t produce any adverse effects, coffee can help you focus more intensely, work longer and improve your short-term memory. The ideal amount of caffeine? About 200 mg (or two cups of coffee).
We all know how important drinking water is for our overall health, but did you know that without sufficient hydration, your energy production decreases, which leaves you feeling foggy and fatigued. In order to achieve flow, your mind needs to feel sharp and up to the task. Drinking adequate amounts of water can enable you to think up to 14% faster! Fill that glass!
When you reach the state of flow, you’ll definitely know it. You’ll feel ultra productive and uber happy. Like a superstar! Tasks you enjoy working on play a very big part in achieving flow, so when you find the right ones, make note of them and look for more of the same.
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