You rush back to the task at hand instead of rushing for freedom, even as the hour hand hits five o’clock and rolls on to six. But you don’t feel tired, you may even feel energised. You are a Super Creative! You are at one with the project!
Congratulations, you have found flow!
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How to Create Flow
1. Know the Task at Hand
This is a two-fold equation. First, you have to know what you’re working on and what is expected at the end. Second, you have to know that the project you’re working on is within your skillset and that you’re capable of carrying it out.
This requires you to know a lot about the task before you even start. I’d daresay you want to know everything you can: Stopping and starting to ask questions or track down materials puts a damper on flow.
2. Eliminate Outside Distractions
The biggest disruptors of flow are distractions. Do your best to eliminate the ones within your control, like turning down the ringer on your phone, shutting down your email box and hiding your social media apps. Some distractions may be harder to eliminate, though, especially if you work in an office. You could ask coworkers beforehand if there is anything they’ll need from you before you dedicate your time to the big project you’re about to start.
Once you know what they’ll need and when, let them know politely that you’d like to not be disturbed for the next few hours. Try blocking off the time on your calendar so people won’t try to schedule meetings. Do everything you can to grab a few solid hours to focus only on the project at hand.
3. Get Comfortable
Pain or discomfort will inhibit your ability to concentrate. Case in point, the writing of this article was delayed several times due to a headache and a shoulder injury. Though I could have written an effective article with either, I knew the pain would make it hard to get fully immersed in the project, which could lead to typos, grammar errors and more.
Wear clothing in which you can relax, sit in a comfortable chair with your tools (pen, paper, laptop, tablet, whatever), and everything else that you may need, at a comfortable level in front of you.