Getting into the flow. What does it mean and how does it happen?

Beckie ManleyCreative Process

I was doing some research today related to a client project and I came across the concept of “flow” and its definition according to a group called the Mind Tools Team.

FLOW MODEL JPEG

Have you ever been so involved in doing something that you lost track of time? Everything around you – from the ringing of phones to the people passing in the hallways – seemed to fade away. Your attention was focused entirely on what you were doing, and you were so engaged that you might even have missed lunch. You felt energized, even joyful, about what you were doing.

I instantly understood what they meant because this is how I feel most days since starting Fierce Strategy + Creative. There is nothing and no one hindering my success in this solo entrepreneurial effort and the sense of joy, productivity, and complete focus as a result is intoxicating. Often times my husband will find me sitting in the dark in my office, oblivious to time or anything else going on around me. I have found my groove.

So how do you get there? Here are some tips referenced in their article:

How do you know when you’re experiencing flow?

  1. Having a clear understanding of what you want to achieve.
  2. Being able to concentrate for a sustained period of time.
  3. Losing the feeling of consciousness of one’s self.
  4. Finding that time passes quickly.
  5. Getting direct and immediate feedback.
  6. Experiencing a balance between your ability levels, and the challenge.
  7. Having a sense of personal control over the situation.
  8. Feeling that the activity is intrinsically rewarding.
  9. Lacking awareness of bodily needs.
  10. Being completely absorbed in the activity itself.

Remember that all of these factors and experiences don’t necessarily have to be in place for flow to happen. But you’re likely to experience many of them when flow occurs.

Three things that must be present to get into the flow:

  1. Goals – Goals add motivation and structure to what you’re doing. Whether you’re learning a new piece of music or creating a presentation, you must be working towards a goal to experience flow.
  2. Balance – There must be a good balance between your perceived skill and the perceived challenge of the task. If one of these weighs more heavily than the other, flow probably won’t occur.
  3. Feedback – You must have clear, immediate feedback, so that you can make changes and improve your performance. This can be feedback from other people, or the awareness that you’re making progress with the task.

This was where my alignment with their philosophy stopped, but I thought their points were accurate. Check out the entire article here to learn more: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/flow-model.htm