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Let's Talk Theory: Three Things You Need to Know About Flow State

Welcome to the very first video in my brand new YouTube series, Let's Talk Theory! You are going to takeaway 3 things you absolutely must know about Flow State. Why? Because understanding flow state and choosing work themes and activities that allow you to tap into that flow will give you a huge jump on your ability to do critical things like problem solve and focus over long stretches of time. Getting into flow will also improve your relationship with and enjoyment of work. 

WHAT WILL YOU LEARN IN THIS VIDEO?

1. WHAT ‘FLOW STATE’ IS AND ISN’T

2. WHAT ACTIVITIES GET YOU INTO ‘FLOW STATE’

3. HOW GETTING INTO ‘FLOW STATE’ CAN BENEFIT YOU

Now grab a pen and paper, because I'm going to hit you with an exercise a few minutes in so that you can get the most out of this! Are you ready?

 

Now if you prefer to read over watching a video, you can get the main ideas below:

WHAT IS ‘FLOW STATE’?

In Positive Psychology, a ‘flow state’ is being “in the zone”. You feel an abundance of energy and focus on your current activity.

HOW CAN I TELL IF I AM IN A ‘FLOW STATE’?

  • You feel totally immersed in what you are doing
  • You lose a sense of passing time
  • You have heightened creativity and productivity
  • You feel a sense of excitement or enjoyment
  • You don’t wish you were doing something else

WHO DECIDED ‘FLOW STATE’ WAS A THING?

A Hungarian-American psychologist named Mihály Csíkszentmihályi founded the term in 1975. While the concept was born in the field of psychology, it can be used across fields of study, various work forms, hobbies, and so on.

IS HYPER-FOCUS THE SAME AS BEING IN A ‘FLOW STATE’?

Nope, because hyper-focus is not always positive, whereas being in a ‘flow state’ is ideal. Hyper-focus can include becoming absorbed with non-productive activities such as television, gaming, and scrolling social media apps. It can also include becoming sidetracked by certain elements of project that prohibit you from completing the task as a whole.

WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF SOMEONE IN A ‘FLOW STATE’?

  1. A clothing designer happily sketches dresses for hours coming up with a seemingly endless array of iterations. She feels an overwhelming sense of  inspiration and possibility. She’s not distracted by anything around her.
  2. A guidance counselor is shocked to find his session discussing career options with a student is over. It was an hour long, but felt like just minutes and his ideas were flowing effortlessly. He can’t wait do it again.

WHEN DO I PERSONALLY GET INTO A ‘FLOW STATE’?

I'd like to share some of the activities that put me into a flow state to give you an even better picture of examples for when you complete the upcoming exercise.

  1. While coaching my clients 1:1 on strategy and motivation
  2. While painting or doing other arts and crafts like needlepointing
  3. While goal planning

WHAT CAUSES YOU TO GET INTO A ‘FLOW STATE’?

Time to reach for the pen an paper. Set the timer for 10 minutes to work on the following:

  1. Imagine a typical day: what activity/ies do you get lost in? Which activities do you look forward to the most?
  2. If you could get paid to do anything, what “thing/s” would you choose? Hint: don't pick something you don't know how to do- you have to have at least some skill in the area.
  3. What activities give you the reaction of losing time or sense that time is passing quickly?

WAIT, WHAT IF MY WORK NEVER GETS ME INTO A ‘FLOW STATE’?

Let’s assume you need to make money- don’t quit your job just yet! Are there any elements of your work that relate to activities that put you into a flow state? You can use them as leverage in dealing with work you do out of flow. For example, get your taxing tasks done first and then reward yourself with your flow tasks after. Is that totally impossible because there is nothing about your work that gets you into flow? Well, it might be time to consider a career that capitalizes on ‘flow state’, at least in part. 

CRITICAL TAKEAWAYS

These are the three takeaways mentioned in the video and post title. 

1.‘FLOW STATE’ IS BEING ‘IN THE ZONE’. Imagine an NBA player out on the court, in his element. Or if sports aren't your thing, imagine a professor of botany researching edible plants into the wee hours of the night for the 40th year in a row-- and she's still endlessly fascinated. Either way, pick a visualization and tie it to the phrase 'flow state' so that you can remember it beyond basic definition-- because it is a feeling after all!

2. SPENDING TIME IN ‘FLOW STATE’ WILL INCREASE YOUR PRODUCTIVITY, CREATIVITY, AND GENERAL ENJOYMENT OF YOUR WORK. The reason flow is so significant is because it improves your working experience across categories.

3. WHEN YOU KNOW WHAT ACTIVITIES GET YOU INTO ‘FLOW STATE’ YOU CAN PINPOINT YOUR PASSIONS AND UNLOCK YOUR FULL POTENTIAL. By paying attention to what puts you into flow, you can design and shape your life accordingly to be the most successful, true to self vision of you that you can be!

Stop back to the CWK blog weekly for more business tips, theory and tricks for current and prospective entrepreneurs and creators!

Pin this video to revisit it later and share it with your people!

 

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