Flow is a state of concentration so focused that it amounts to complete absorption in an activity. Both the right and the left sides of the brain are in use at the same time. Where you are so engrossed that time has no meaning, you are energised and on a roll. Athletes call this ‘being in the zone’, musicians say ‘in the groove’.
Nine Conditions of Flow
1. Clear goals
2. Immediate feedback
3. Balance of challenge and skill
4. Action and awareness merged
5. Distractions excluded from consciousness
6. No worry of failure
8. Sense of time distorted (there is time)
9. Autotelic activity (enjoyment for its own sake)
In Flow you are in a state of relaxed concentration so that your body is not tired; you are not tense, or rushing around being stressed. You feel:
• Alert and strong
• Relaxed control, effortless
• At ones peak
• Transformation of time
• It is intrinsic, it cannot be measured externally
How can I achieve Flow?
Routine tasks will not do it – you need a challenging activity that needs your full attention
Clear goals and feedback are need – what are you going to achieve? How will you know when you have done it?
Focus on the task. Recognise that it is either important or interesting right now.
Be reasonably distraction free. Telephone calls will break your concentration.
Relax. Breathe deeply. Don’t rush.
Adapted from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: the psychology of happiness