And in contrast, how do you feel when you are absorbed in a task, in other words, in flow?
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Evidence shows that being in flow makes us happy. We like pursuing a goal that we have to concentrate our full attention on. We enjoy being so absorbed in a task that we lose track of time.
So why instead do we spend so much of our time flitting around, getting distracted, and not giving more than five minutes of our attention to anything?
We don’t always stop to think about the fact that besides making us more productive, swapping distractions for flow can also make us feel better.
So here are some strategies and suggestions to help you spend a little more of your time in flow and a little less of your time being distracted.
1. If people try to interrupt you, say to them: “Don’t interrupt me – I’m in flow.”
2. When you want to get on with a task, switch off distractions such as email, instant messaging and social media. Give yourself a headstart rather than holding yourself back.
3. Notice your breathing when you’re in flow and compare that to your breathing when you’re distracted or stressed. Which one seems like a more comfortable state?
4. Maximise the times when you are feeling focused. When you get into flow, stay there as long as you possibly can. Delay other less important tasks for as long as you can.
5. Don’t expect to be able to achieve this state all of the time. Some days it just won’t be do-able. That’s life.