FLOW: THE KEY TO ACHIEVE EFFICIENCY AT WORK
Working to alevel where one loses the track of time, food and everything else in between.Well, entering that most productive side of the brain where one can focus andenjoy every minute of what they are doing while contributing to something thatmay add value to other people is called the state of flow.
While you, meand everyone else is in need to achieve a state of flow while working, it mightnot be as it easy to achieve as the process that may lead to being in the stateof flow is requires certain thing in order to ensure that they achieve that mentalstate where a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling ofenergized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of theactivity.
The concept offlow was named by the visionary Mihály Csíkszentmihályi in 1975 and has beenrecognised and claimed to exist in thousands of years under other namesincluding the eastern though systems of Buddism and Daoism as it shares variouscharacteristics with hyperfocus.
According to thescientist, at any moment, humans can focus on only limited information of whatthey receive. They can manage what they can or cannot focus on except a fewbodily feelings like hunger and pain. However, when one achieves a flow statethey can only focus on one task at hand without making a conscious decision todo so, lose awareness of all other things: time, people, distractions, and evenbasic bodily needs.
HOW TO ACHIEVE THE FLOW?
Now, the flowcan be achieved when a task is done with full dedication and various activitiescan induce flow states more easily than others, to truly achieve flow requiresdeliberate intention and effort. While the three conditions of flow involveactive participation, immediate feedback and a good balance between the skillsand challenges, the third condition is needed to ensure one has confidence inperforming the task at hand.
Anything whichis either too easy or too difficult for a person to perform can lead one tofeel relaxed and anxiety respectively. This is exactly what one does not lookfor when they are trying to achieve the state of flow. Now, what one can do?
First, havingthe ability to control the consciousness is required to "concentrate attentionon the task at hand and momentarily forget everything else", with the ultimategoal of leading a more meaningful life not only doing great at work.
There arevarious challenges one might experience and here is how they can overcome themto achieve flow.
While the stateof flow can allow one to focus only on the work at hand and not on anythingelse, it does not mean that one should starve but to have a good scan of whatthe body needs and making sure they are satisfied to avoid the distraction atwork.
Hunger is a keychallenge and may kill the flow. If one is working towards achieving flow, theyshould not be focused on hunger but does not meanwhile work they are snackingor consuming stuff they should not. The act of consuming the high sugar junkfoods and energy drinks that will offer one with the short term energy is goingto lead one to crash hard, yanking them right out of the flow state.
Now, thehigh-quality fuel one feeds their body with can lead to flow as it will releaseglucose slowly into their bloodstream. Options like nuts, fruits, vegetables,seeds, and lean meats are great while the options like processed snacks withlots of added sugar/sweeteners should be avoided.
2. Cut Out Distractions:
Achievingfreedom from the distractions can lead one to focus on what they can neveractually achieve flow if they are distracted as the human brain cannot justhandle it. They are in a place where
Certainly,there are circumstances in which distractions are unavoidable. But much of thetime, you can work to minimize or eliminate distractions. Here are ourfavourite tactics for doing so:
3. Use the Pomodoro Technique
We're big fansof the Pomodoro technique here at College Info Geek. When you just can't focusor are procrastinating on a big project, it makes an enormousdifference. The Pomodoro technique is setting a timer for 25 minutes (or anyreasonable length of time) and working only on one task for that time. Nochecking your phone, browsing Twitter, or mentally going through DDR steps.Once the timer is up, you're free to take a short break (usually 5 minutes).
So how does thisrelate to flow? You can't just enter a flow state at will. It's something youneed to ease your brain into. The Pomodoro technique makes this possible byhelping you jump the biggest mental barrier: getting started. Because onceyou're immersed in a task, you may find yourself working well past when thetimer goes off.
4. Don't Multitask
Multitaskingsounds like a great idea in theory. Doing multiple things at once is moreefficient, right?
Well, it wouldbe, except that our brains don't function that way. We can't perform multipleconscious tasks at once without what's called the cognitive switchingpenalty. Essentially, every time you switch from one task to another, it takesyour brain time to get back into the previous task you were doing.
Since the flowis so dependent on pursuing a single task with laserfocus, multitasking is its enemy and opposite.
5. Get Enough High-Quality Sleep
Sleep is agame-changer for your health and general well-being. But it's also key toreaching flow states. If you're tired, your ability to concentrate willdecrease, and smaller distractions will more easily pull you away from theflow. Just think of how alert and ready to conquer the world you feel whenyou've got a solid amount of sleep.
By the same token, it's important that you get not just a sufficient quantity of sleep, but also that your sleep is high quality. Spending nine hours in bed is no good if you spend most of it tossing and turning. Read how to get better sleep.