FLOW: State in Productivity

This section should really come with a health warning. Flow is seriously addictive. I am positive that once you have experienced you will want more. First though let’s explained what flow is. If you haven’t heard of flow it’s an enhanced state of productivity. It’s where time seems to disappear as you get so wrapped up in what you are doing. Tasks seem to whizz by more quickly and easily than you had anticipated. Achieving a state of “flow” is as much about creating the right conditions as anything else. It’s the complete opposite of multitasking. It involves focussing on one thing at a time and giving it your full attention. No emails popping up, no messages, no phone calls, and no interruptions – just 45 or 90 minutes of pure productive pleasure. Flow enables you to achieve more than you thought possible and it also makes you much happier. Here are my tips for achieving a state of flow;

  • Be prepared. Follow the steps in Sow the Seeds to Success and create focussed working time
  • Schedule in time for focussed working. Achieving a state of flow won’t happen unless you create the conditions for it. If you leave this until “you get time” then I can almost guarantee it won’t happen at all.
  • Protect your boundaries. Remind colleagues, family and friends about your focussed working time and ensure you have no visitors for 45 minutes.
  • Ditch distractions. Stop or block anything that can prevent you being distracted for 45 minutes.
  Here are some of the things that might make it easier for you to achieve a state of flow more regularly;
  • Make family, friends and colleagues aware of when it is OK to contact you.
  • Set your mobile phone to do not disturb for focussed working periods.
  • Try not having voicemail on your phone – this saves you having lots of messages to catch up with after focussed working.
  • Turn off automatic download of emails to your devices, on smartphones this is often referred to as “push”.
  • Turn off any notification sounds of emails and messages arriving.
  • Schedule a break after your focussed working sessions.
  • Build up by increasing the number of focussed working sessions in your diary.

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