flow – are you getting it?


Ever wondered why some days are spent in a flat spin accomplishing very little, if anything at all, and other days you are like a whirlwind, achieving with ease at lightening speed?  (and goodness help anyone that gets in your way).  No task is too big or too small and complexity is of no concern – everything just gets swept up in the path of accomplishing.

It might all be explained by a theory called flow.

Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity.” Wikipedia.

Totally focused it can bounce you around from one task to another with simple ease and natural progression, completing, solving and finalising projects that have otherwise been languishing or not even on your radar.  Frustratingly I always seem to achieve this magnificent state  – the day before I go on holidays.  A time limit is a sure fire way to ignite your inner being and set you on your way to super-hero status of achieving.

Other ways that you may find flow works for you are:

A purpose. Having clear goals and a step by step plan.

Being toally un-interupted or distracted. (headphones are a good aide)

Experiencing a taste of success.  The promise of what can be achieved is a great way to rocket you to “getting things done”.

Just begin – sometimes starting with an easy task and one that you find enjoyable will set you on the path to completing others.

Whatever your strategy there is no denying that the momentum of accomplishing is intoxicating and purely addictive not to mention totally fulfilling.  Next time you experience flow, make a note of what it was that enabled you to get it and repeat often.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi- Hungarian psychology professor best know as the architect of the notion of flow and for his years of research and writing on the topic.

Reading:  Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (1990). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.


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