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According to psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, flow “is a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; The experience is so enjoyable that people will keep doing it even at a high cost to do it. "
When you get into this state, you will be most productive and produce higher quality output.
In this state of flux, top performers often produce their best work. While they may not necessarily know when they are in this fluid state, there are certain important similarities mentioned by high achievers. The flow state is a thoughtless state in which the mind calms down. Flow can even extend to groups of people working together.
Tasks that can take days can be done in hours if done with the required mental focus and clarity.
This is in complete contradiction to the "hectic culture" and the mentality that is always active. You cannot achieve flow in a pressure state. Just because you are always active and busy doesn't mean you are productive.
Related Link: Why Busy Culture Could Be Toxic To Your Business
Product design and UX company Design Partners released a report based on the insights of 11 experts and top performers. By observing the behavior of the best in the world at work, we can understand how we can begin to create flow states for ourselves.
The brain and the flow
An added benefit of the flowing state is luck. The feeling of doing a task optimally and achieving superior performance leads to a release of dopamine in the brain. So when you are working at your peak, the greatest job satisfaction lies. Stress and anxiety counteract the flow, so learning how to deal with it is important.
The flow state also temporarily reduces the prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain that deals with long-term planning) so that we are able to stay complete in the present moment.
By focusing on the process rather than the final state or desired result, you have full freedom to immerse yourself in the present and produce your best work. It may not seem intuitive, but the more we can let go of the result, the better we mentally focus on the task at hand.
Related link: How to Use Flow to Be More Productive
What circumstances must exist for a flow to occur?
You need to be an expert in your field, but that is not enough. Achieving a state of flow depends on a state of continuous improvement. For flow to occur there has to be a challenge, but not a challenge so great that it creates a sense of stress. The challenge should be right outside your expert comfort zone. This means that the challenge works best when it is gradually increased and expanded. For example, if you work out in the gym, you can always lift bigger weights. Otherwise, trying to do too much too soon can injure you.
The world-famous sculptor and designer Joseph Walsh, whose works were commissioned for the Pompidou Center in Paris and the Art Museum in New York, says: “The secret is not to see the expert as a milestone but as an attitude. An expert is someone who is constantly striving to improve. "
This experience of the river is intense and can also occur in group scenarios in which the team works as one person, with each individual in his or her own genius zone. In certain circumstances, such as in an operating room, this can mean redefining the response to stress (once the mind is stressed, it can get you out of the flow). It is therefore important to be able to channel the pressure to stay in the state of flow. Interestingly, something as simple as a joke can keep stress and anxiety at bay.
Flow is not limited to creative fields. It can be used by anyone who wants to be innovative, solve problems creatively, or produce their best work.
Related Link: Daily Rituals That Lead to High Performance in Business and Life
How can we get in flow?
In the design partner's report, the group of experts reveals personal rituals that were developed to get into the state of flow.
The rituals usually focus on calming the mind through the use of relaxation techniques and creating the conditions for success by creating an environment that supports a flow state. For example, this could be turning off your phone or internet to avoid distractions.
Control of your surroundings may not always be possible, but it also seems that certain tools or devices can create that feeling of flow. So if you are an athlete who uses a certain type of shoe or a photographer who uses a certain camera, these objects can become an extension of your identity so that you can stay in a state of flux, almost like a "lucky charm".
In this flow state, the action is automated and there is a state without thoughts.
When trying to figure out what our personal flow tools might be, it can be helpful to think about and understand what happened for us, what we did, and how we did it at times when we are at most felt in the river. Even if it only took a few minutes, it can help us find important clues about our process – making us more likely to achieve maximum productivity and quality performance.