An influential book to me was Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. In the book, the author theorizes that a meaningful life is one where the person spends their time in a state of optimal experience called Flow. And through living in Flow creates a sense of fulfillment and happiness.
Flow state theory suggests that when individuals are in a state of flow, they experience deep immersion, focus, and intrinsic motivation in their activities.
Let’s talk about getting into the flow. You know what I’m talking about, that special state of mind we reach sometimes – quite by accident – where work starts to flow effortlessly and we get an insane amount of it done in a short period of time. It’s a great feeling and something well worth trying to get into more regularly. Here’s how to do just that.
Step 1 – Get Prepared
Start by getting yourself prepared. It’s hard to get into the flow when you’re constantly having to get up to grab more supplies or grab a file. And it’s not just the stuff away from your desk. You don’t want a train of thought to be interrupted so you can go find a figure or a document on your computer.
Prepare as much as you can. Make sure you have all things and information you may need at your fingertips. Of course that isn’t always possible, as new ideas and things pop up while you’re working, but do your best to eliminate having to stop and look when you’re in the flow.
Step 2 – Get Comfy
Next, it’s time to get comfortable. That means creating a comfortable work environment: finding a comfortable chair and desk to work at, but also, create a setting that’s conductive to flow. What motivates and inspires you? Is it energetic music, the smell of lavender, pictures of your family, or the calendar with the project outline posted on it? Use whatever it takes to transport yourself and your mind into the flow state.
Get Your Head In The Game
Step 3 – Get Your Head In The Game
Last but not least, you need to get your head in the game. Getting into flow is mostly mental. Yes, the outside stuff we talked about helps, but you can sabotage all the preparation in the world if you go in with a bad attitude.
Instead spend a few minutes visualizing what it feels like to be in the flow state. Then think about why it is important to get this work done. Who will it benefit? What impact will it have on you, your job, your customers, your team, your family? Find some internal motivation to make you want to get this done. That’s when you’re ready to get to work and get into the flow.
Give this three step process a try and use it anytime you want to get more done in less time. As an added bonus, you’ll find you’ll have more fun doing your work and you’re gaining a lot of pride for a job well done in a timely manner. And let’s not forget that this leaves you plenty of time leftover for the important stuff – spending time with your loved ones and relaxing with one of your favorite hobbies.