Find your state of flow – and become more productive in your business!

Have you ever found yourself working away in the office, and you become so immersed in a task that everything feels effortless? Suddenly, you look up and 2 hours have passed, and you wonder where the time went.  

What you’ve just experienced is being in a “flow state”,  which simply means you’ve been in an optimal state of mind to perform at your best.

But try as you might, sometimes it’s not that easy to get back into flow state again; and instead of being met with inspiration when you sit down to tackle your to-do list, you’re sitting and staring at a blank screen, waiting for motivation to strike.

In this blog, we’re unpacking some daily practices that can help you find your flow state again, so you can achieve more, high quality work for your business! 

Can everyone experience flow? 

Interestingly enough, each person’s capacity to experience flow state is different. Studies have shown that those with an autotelic personality can find it easier to reach flow. People with an autotelic personality are internally driven, with a tendency to engage in activities for their own sake, rather than being extrinsically motivated to chase a distant goal. On the other hand, people who struggle with anxiety and self-criticism can find it harder to reach a state of flow. 

However, this doesn’t mean that you HAVE to have an autotelic personality to get into flow. It just means that you may have more barriers to reaching this state than others do.

The good news is, anyone can reach flow, you just need to put yourself in an environment which will allow it! 

How to find your natural flow state

One of the first things in understanding how to get into your state of flow, is to identify when you’re naturally in this state. For some, it could be when they’re engrossed in a drawing, and for others, they could be putting together a presentation for work or leading a meeting. It’s important to note that flow is only achieved when you’re completing an active task or activity, whereas reading a book or watching TV would be described as passive activities. 

The more you participate in activities or tasks that put you in a state of flow, the more you’ll want to experience it. So, by analyzing when you reach your natural flow, and how, it’ll be easier to repeat again and again. Often, working in a state of flow is less about the actual activity itself, and more about the feelings and emotions connected to it. For you it could be about being connected to a team, or the desire to help your clients on a deeper level. Whatever it may be, take the time to identify the emotions and “why” behind your flow, and the environment you’re in when you reach it – are you working solo, or are you in a team environment where you can collaborate? 

Set yourself up for success – create an environment that helps you achieve flow 

Here are some strategies and tools that can assist you in finding your flow state. 

  • Add “focus” time into your calendar each day, at the same time: For most entrepreneurs, days are often filled jumping from one task to the other. Block out at least 1 hour into your calendar each day and label it “focus”. This is the time to work on those important tasks, in the environment which is most conducive of creating flow for you. This will help build the habit of reaching flow consistently, because the more you do it, the easier it becomes! 

  • Consider when you naturally reach your flow, and replicate those emotions: If you are someone who reaches flow when you are working toward helping others, then attach this emotion to each task or activity. Consider HOW the task you’re immersing yourself in will have a positive impact on someone else, and lean in to these feelings. 

  • Recreate the right environment for you: Do you need to be working on your own, in a quiet place to get into flow? Or do you like the hustle and bustle of working around others, or in a team? Trying to find flow when you’re in the wrong environment will only cause frustration, so plan this accordingly.

  • Turn off all distractions: It’s easy to become tempted to check your emails or social media while you should be working on those important tasks. Pop your phone and computer on “do not disturb” or airplane mode, so that the constant pings and notifications don’t take your focus. 

  • Try binaural beats to help you focus: Binaural beats are differing frequencies of sound, without lyrics, that can help put you in a trance-like focus. You can find playlists on Spotify or Apple music. 

Just remember, finding your flow is a practice whereby the more you do it, the easier it is to replicate again and again. If you have an off day, or you struggle to experience flow, be kind to yourself and try again the following day. By putting yourself in an environment where you can better achieve flow, you are creating opportunities to work at your best, to benefit both yourself and your clients. 

Are you ready to take the next step in your business? Book in for a business coaching session here. These sessions are confidential and there’s no cost or ongoing commitment required!

References: 

Kara Cutruzzula, May 4, 2020, “The key to productivity is tapping into your flow state. Here’s how”, https://ideas.ted.com/the-key-to-productivity-is-tapping-into-your-flow-state-heres-how/

Mike Oppland, February 15, 2021, “8 Ways To Create Flow According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi”, https://positivepsychology.com/mihaly-csikszentmihalyi-father-of-flow/

Rahul Vohra, September 23, 2021, “Finding flow: your personal toolkit for achieving the flow state”, https://blog.superhuman.com/finding-flow-your-personal-toolkit-for-achieving-the-flow-state/