Have you ever lost all track of time because you have been so absorbed in your work? Where hours feel like minutes and you forget everything else that is going on in the world outside? When you are completely focused on the one task at hand, happy, in control, creative and productive? Then you are likely to be in a state of flow! Being in flow is liberating.
When you achieve flow, you tend to be happier as it is an innately positive experience. Your stress levels are reduced and your productivity is increased. You achieve your goals and you enjoy your work. You focus on quality not quantity to achieve meaningful things instead of just being busy.
This level of focus is a concept introduced by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a positive psychologist, in what he called being in a state called flow. When you are in the moment simply being present.
Do you ever find yourself in the zone? In flow? What does this level of focus give you? Being in a flow state can give you power, flexibility, clarity, persistence, drive and creativity. All critical elements for your decision making. Flow is a state of security, relaxation and control without worry or concern. It is that sweet spot which sits between anxiety, frustration and fear of failure and boredom, routine and loss of interest.
“Enjoyment appears at the boundary between boredom and anxiety, when the challenges are just balanced with the person's capacity to act.” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
In flow, you have a sense of calm. There is no magic recipe for finding happiness but in flow you can have optimal experience where your mind is in order. Therein lies the magic of flow.
You may have heard of Parkinson’s Law where any task you undertake swells to the amount of time you allow yourself to spend on it. Do you time chunk your diary so that you are working on income generating tasks and key result areas in the times of day when you are most likely to be in a flow state? When you do so, you will be far more productive and achieve better results but how do you know when is the best time?
One solution is to work in alignment with your chronotype! We all have different biological clocks but are you working with or against your natural rhythm? Clinical Psychologist, Dr Michael J Breus has researched into this area and talks about it in his book The Power of When.
Breus designed a free quiz which will help you to identify when is the best time for you to do everything in life and it is fascinating how effective it is when you adjust your activities to be in flow with your natural body clock. There are four chronotypes. Lion, bear, wolf or dolphin. I am a Lion! Give it a go. Which chronotype are you?
As an advocate of midlife beginnings, I believe it’s never too late to be what you might have been to create a life of fulfilment, meaning and purpose.
Start with finding your state of flow.
When will you know if you are in flow? When you’re in a true state of flow, you’ll know! Flow is healthy. Flow is energy. Flow is where you grow!
Seek to grow. Focus on flow!
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The key to flow is focus. The key to focus is flow.
What does flow look like to you?
Find a quiet, peak time and focus on a challenging, important task in an area that you love. Filter out the distractions and enjoy simply being in flow.