“You know that what you need to do is possible to do, even though difficult, and sense of time disappears. You forget yourself. You feel part of something larger.” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on the concept of flow
Flow: that perfect intersection of heightened focus, creativity and happiness.
What if you could tap into flow more often? What might be possible?
Think of it this way: flow is short-term concentration coupled with long-term purpose. You need both. Not ready to tackle your purpose in life today? Try these as starting points for increasing flow in your work.
Block distractions. This means shutting off your devices. Closing the real or virtual door. It doesn’t have to mean silence—your iTunes playlist or the happy cacophony of voices at Starbucks might lift you. You want to ditch the energy-zapping clutter around you—happy creative stimuli are one thing, stacks of to-do’s are another.
Establish rituals. Discover the set of habits and practices that make creative thoughts literally course through your veins. Think back to when you were last in flow mode. Were you alone? Where? What contributed to the experience? I pour a fresh cup of tea and head for the balcony with my laptop, email turned off. Stepping over that threshold signals creative time.
Overlearn. Dig deep. Stoke your curiosity daily. Think broad concepts to the arcane stories and details of your subject. Take Judy Snyder, an international award-winning waterfowl carver (and my step-mom). She immerses herself in the birds she carves: borrowing the stuffed versions from the museum; learning their feeding, nesting and mating habits; making expeditions to their natural habitat, binoculars at the ready. When she carves (to a continual music feed), time stands still.
Flow. Short-term concentration applied to long-term purpose. When are you in flow?