I was recently turned on to the psychology term “flow.”
It’s a mental state where a person is so completely immersed in an activity, they enter into a state of pure focus and concentration where time has no meaning and bodily needs are essentially ignored. I’m familiar with the concept from the more common descriptions like being in the zone or in the moment.
For creatives, “getting there” can be very challenging, and the lack of “being there” can prevent any motivation to engage in the creative process. But when it happens, hours slip by and productivity skyrockets. Stuff gets done and it feels great! I’m lucky enough to experience it occasionally, but like other creatives, I’d love for it to be way more often.
I believe that you can’t make flow happen, but I am convinced that there are things you can do to nudge it along. Here are a few:
- Practice meditation – a great way to explore the present moment. There are a zillion techniques to learn how to mediate. Learn what it feels like to be in the moment so you can call on those feelings when you need to relax. A few minutes of stillness before engaging in an activity can prepare you to enter a state of deep focus.
- Remove distractions – we are inundated with distractions. Email alerts, texts, and old-fashioned phone calls can break your focus and end your concentration. That’s not to mention our collective fomo that drives our personal addictions to social media. Turn it off (at least for a while). It’s impossible to reach a state of flow if you’re constantly interrupted.
- Be comfortable – make sure your environment doesn’t cause unnecessary roadblocks. Look around. Is your space conducive to what you’re trying to accomplish? Do you have enough light? Is it too noisy? Does your chair make your body sore? Whatever it is that’s preventing you from full immersion, fix it!
These are just a few simple and free things that you can use to start with to set the stage to experience flow.
[box options]Jason Mundok is a producer of creative performing projects at the Wood Stove House in Lancaster, PA including the Wood Stove House Concerts and Around the Wood Stove, an interview podcast series. You can also find him on Twitter.[/box]