Imagine the last time you were so focused on something you lost all track of time. Maybe it happened during a group project, or maybe while you were writing, or drawing, or drafting out the plan for a new business idea. All other thoughts faded from your head as you applied yourself to the task at hand. You felt challenged and stimulated, but confident you could accomplish your goal. In short, you felt fully alive.
This is what’s known as a flow state. Psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi defines a flow state as an “optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best.” He writes that this state involves “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”
Harvard professor Teresa Amabile found in her research that people who experience this state of mind report higher levels of productivity, creativity, and happiness for up to three days after experiencing flow state. Yes, you read that correctly: not only does it help you accomplish more, achieving a flow state makes you happier.
At FlowStations we believe everyone deserves to find their flow state, because happiness is contagious and the world could always use more of it. We believe every time you look up from your work with a giddy smile because you just flowed through the entire afternoon in what felt like the blink of an eye, you will spread that joy to other people in your life, and the world will become a little bit better because of it.
With this in mind, we’ve made it our mission to provide the resources necessary for people to work with passion and self-expression to find their flow state. To this end, we want to offer you not just the supplies you need to optimize your work station, but the knowledge and insight to help you maximize your productivity and creativity. On that note:
How Do I Achieve a Flow State?
While there’s no exact formula for reaching the flow state, you can do a number of things to make it easier:
A key indication you’ve entered a flow state occurs when your actions and awareness merge. For instance, a writer becoming so engrossed in his or her work that the activity becomes almost automatic, the words pouring onto the page without hesitation as the process begins to feel almost effortless. They set aside their sense of self, and work becomes play.
Csíkszentmihályi says flow states happen when a person’s skills are “fully involved in overcoming a challenge that is just about manageable, so it acts as a magnet for learning new skills and increasing challenges. If challenges are too low, one gets back to flow by increasing them. If challenges are too great, one can return to the flow state by learning new skills.”
In other words, when we push ourselves slightly past our comfort zone each time we work (that is, when we seek out the creative challenges that are still within our skillset to overcome), we can put ourselves in a state of concentration, productivity, and creativity that helps us grow and leaves us feeling happier and more fulfilled. What’s not to love about that?
How do you achieve your flow state? Tell us a little about what you do to find reach it, or how you make your workspace work for you, and earn the chance for you and your website to be featured in one of our blog posts!
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