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In the simplest of terms, flow requires you to do something – to engage your mind in a particular challenge or task which gives you a certain sense of satisfaction. Typically, this means that activities such as watching TV or having a bath probably aren’t going to induce a state of flow.
To achieve flow, complete a task which allows you to feel a sense of achievement without too much of a challenge.
Instead, achieving flow is about setting yourself a goal. This can mean different things for different people – while some might enjoy the challenge and eventual satisfaction of a creative task such as a painting or drawing, others might find the difficulty frustrating, and therefore fail to reach a state of flow. Tasks which help you to achieve flow can also include academic or mental challenges such as learning a language or completing a puzzle.
But what if you haven’t got time to introduce a brand new activity into your daily routine? In this case, Perry recommends reconfiguring your daily tasks and “finding the flow” in whatever you do.
“Add some challenge into a task – figure out how to make it novel rather than the same old chore,” she explains.” It’s also important to find ways to arrange your environment in such a way as to make deep focus and flow possible. That may mean setting aside a time and a place where you will not be disturbed.
“I have found that different personalities enter and experience flow in various ways, so some, for example, have to ignore all phones and e-mail for a set period, while others learn to resume what they were doing immediately after a distraction breaks their flow. So play around with these ideas and learn what works for you.”