In a time of complete and constant interruptions finding your flow is like finding a rare diamond ring at a vintage store. Not completely impossible but if you find it you are one of the lucky ones, the utterly annoying ones that everyone is jealous of.
Flow can be loosely defined as “getting into the zone.” Reaching the zone, or finding your flow has been said to increase happiness and offer you the best experience possible.
Where is the is this rare “zone” and how do you get there, you ask? Well good news is that some smart people have put together 3 ways that you can find you flow! I want to give you their highlights as well as put my own twist on how I find my zone.
I am far from perfect, but I wouldn’t be still be here after being an entrepreneur for 6 years if I had not found it every once in awhile!
- Clear mental clutter. Full disclosure…this one made me laugh out loud…but I am giving this a chance! I can’t imagine a day without mental clutter so I decided to approach this like I do most things. Set a small goal and see if I can reach it and then increase. So I adopted the check your email twice a day model. I check it once in the morning before anyone else is awake. I decide what I need to respond to and once I am out of bed and in front of the computer I respond. I check once again around noon…this is a triage check. Any emergencies are responded too. Everything else waits until the final check of the day which I try and do around 4pm so I can make my loving and supportive boyfriend happy by giving him his love language time. The in between is where the “flow zone” presents itself. And quite frankly if I can stick to this 2 days a week my week feel happier at the end. Control = happiness for me. So if I can exit the week having made great strides on my action items and keep the distraction of email to a minimum I feel naturally more successful!
- Build a bridge and then get over it and build your fortress. Your fortress of concentration. This one is a challenge for me. Mostly because I work better when there are 100 different things flying at me, when the noise is blaring, and when I am overwhelmed. I know that I am not the only person in the world that works better this way…I see you Starbucks, co-working, busy bodies…I feel you. I get how people that are on the other side, the quiet side, can find their flow, but how do we as people who need to be distracted to perform find a flow?! For me being in the office is actually a production downer. Putting the small home tasks aside are pretty easy when I am at home. Actually doing work other than meetings, touch bases, phone calls in the office is near impossible. I know I have to do all of these things but they are not what makes me get up in the morning. They are not what keeps pushing me. They are just necessary. So my fortress exists by working at home. I also have started to create work days. 3 out of 5 of the official work days are blocked off. We try to not have any calls or any meetings so that we can find our flow. This has been working really well but it is hard to block off days.
2.5 I would be remiss to not mention some good tips for finding your flow no matter how you work best.
- Take care of everything that may be distracting you before you start.
- Remove anything from your work space that may cause an interruption.
- Close everything on your computer except that program that you need to work in.
- Turn off your phone and set your wearable tech aside.
- Grab a snack and some coffee.
- Run to the restroom and make sure your fur assistants are happy.
- Shut the door and put on your noise cancelling headphones.
- Prepare your brain for the zone. But do not do anything crazy. Start by taking some deep breaths. Do a quick stretch. Make sure your body feels as comfortable as possible. Oxygen feeds the brain and the blood. Some nice deep stretches followed but some deep breaths will allow maximum oxygen to the brain. No need to do a full yoga session but definitely steal some of their techniques.
Our bodies also need food and water to allow for proper brain processing. Start with a small snack and do not overeat. Being at home makes this an easy task for me. I constantly snack all day. When I am not at home I probably look like a food hoarder, or a really prepared Mom. I always have something in my purse. I also try to meal plan for most of the week. Water after coffee…literally can’t get enough. The only problem with that is the frequent breaks to use the restroom!
Lastly, turn on some music or white noise. For some people music can create energy and increase concentration. For me all noise increases my energy. Finding your flow can be greatly rewarding. Again start small, find it for a few hours and break. Trying to increase a few hours by 10 minutes each day. Work on your routines and rules. You are the boss of you and your brain so do what you need to do to find your flow!