Even if you don’t know it, you’ve probably experienced flow state. Maybe you were working. Maybe you were running. Maybe you were just doing the washing up! Either way, you’ve likely felt at least a few moments of being in true flow.
Flow state is more commonly referred to as “being in the zone”. It’s those beautiful moments when you get truly immersed and lost in an activity, to the point where it feels effortless and like you are 100% present in your task. It’s in these moments that we often are our most productive, or have our most brilliant ideas because we are completely and utterly focused.
Like we said, flow state can happen with anything from yoga to chores, but it’s most often associated with work. After all, who doesn’t want to be so immersed in a job that it feels like it takes almost no effort?
As Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of Flow writes, “Flow is important both because it makes the present instant more enjoyable, and because it builds the self-confidence that allows us to develop skills and make significant contributions to humankind” (42).
Productivity that feels good is a powerful and conscious goal to have when it comes to creating a work-life that is truly fulfilling. That’s why we wanted to share our 5 top tips for getting into a flow state.
Tip 1: Limit external distractions
Notifications buzzing. Phones lighting up. Podcasts and radio in the background. All of these external distractions can quickly pull you out of flow state, even before you get there! Each and every one of them is a way to bring you out of the present moment and your task, forcing you to focus your attention elsewhere.
If you want to get into flow state, the first and most important step is to limit distractions. Turn your phone off (or at least put it on airplane mode!), close any unnecessary tabs and perhaps even invest in a distraction-free writing software like Calmly. It can even be beneficial to put a sign on your door to tell anybody wanting your attention that you’re not available. That way, there’s little that can get between you and your flow.
Tip 2: Foster a calm mind
Getting rid of external distractions is all good and well, but it won’t benefit you at all if your internal distractions are still controlling your mind. Things like intrusive thoughts or mental to-do lists make finding flow a challenge, as they can stop your brain from easing into the task at hand. Like notifications for the mind, they bring you out of the present and break your focus!
Whilst it may not be possible to entirely get rid of internal distractions, fostering a calm state of mind can help. Activities like yoga, meditation, or simply a morning routine that serves you and your needs can set you off on the right foot. By dealing with stress early on, you give yourself the brain space to truly reach flow.
Tip 3: Create a flow trigger
Your environment is extremely important when it comes to reaching flow. We recommend creating some kind of ritual which you will eventually associate with more focused work. For example, maybe you turn on a certain lamp when you sit down. Or maybe you light a candle.
Our Detox scent is the perfect option for clearing the mind of distractions, whilst giving you a sense of calm, both of which are essential for finding flow. It’s formulated with an uplifting and invigorating mix of peppermint, spearmint, bergamot, lemongrass, rosemary, and juniper. We think it’s the ultimate flow trigger!
Tip 4: Find balance in your tasks
Truth is, we can’t always be in flow whilst working. Although that would be amazing, it’s just not possible for every type of task. This is because if something is too easy, you’ll get bored. If it’s too difficult, you’ll be more inclined to stop working or lose focus.
As such, the tasks that you try to find flow with should be a good balance between the two. Find something that challenges you, without feeling impossible, so that you can have consistent small wins that will keep your motivation levels high.
Tip 5: Listen to music. But be mindful!
We know that we sound like hypocrites right now after telling you to get rid of distractions but stick with us.
We don’t recommend listening to music that will get you hyped up. For example, your favourite playlist that you listen to whilst getting ready for a night out is probably not the best choice. In fact, we would even recommend avoiding songs with lyrics altogether. That can be a recipe for losing focus!
However, music that puts you into an almost meditative state can be extremely useful for actually bringing you into the present moment. We love the Mellow Beats playlist on Spotfiy as one option.
It’s important to remember that it’s impossible to be in a state of flow all of the time. However, by practising these 5 tips, you can make flow occur more frequently and for longer periods of time. Not only will this help to boost your productivity levels but, more importantly, to find moments of happiness in your everyday work life.