Have you ever felt so focused on a task or activity that you seem to forget everything else going on around you? I thought it was just an expression to be in a state of ‘flow’, but it turns out that it’s a full-fledged mental state, defined by positive psychology in which a ‘person is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment of the activity, i.e. the complete absorption in what one does.‘ (source: Wikipedia)
How cool is that!? I find I experience flow most consistently when I play sports. I’m completely absorbed in the game and all my worries, past and future concerns and external thoughts seem to disappear. There are days too with homework or projects that I just get in the zone. I don’t get distracted or procrastinate, I’m just extremely productive for a period of time.
Steve Pavlina discusses how we can apply this to our daily productivity. He says the average American worker actually only does 90 minutes of work in an 8-hour day; the rest is spent procrastinating (surfing the web, snacking, coffee breaks etc.). So he suggests, why not just do 90 minutes of solid work and call it a day? What we can do is set a timer for 60 to 90 minutes, pick a single high-priority activity, get rid of potential distractions for that period (no email checking for example) and focus on that task. This is probably the best way to get into that state of flow where your productivity skyrockets!
Eben Page supports this idea (check out the video), saying he is 10x more productive by having 2 one-hour chunks in his day of no-distraction focused ‘flow’ work. This time is dedicated to the highest importance / highest value tasks you need to do any given day.
Let’s go with the flow.
Picture from here.