By: First Union
Flow State - The Ultimate Level of Focus
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I don't typically produce content. It's proven to be a challenge for me. While working on the last few articles, I've been consumed by the work, completely losing track of everything else. The feeling is one of complete focus, creativity, and productivity.
Given our time working from home, I've had the opportunity to take advantage of reintroducing high levels of focus, often referred to as "flow," back into my daily routine.
Flow state is a state of mind achieved when wholly immersed in a specific task. I've heard people describe it as "being in the zone" or "jacked in." Many people have experienced this at one time or another. However, it is a skill that you can hone. Here's how I have been practicing flow state.
Distractions tend to come in two flavors; external and internal.
External distractions are things like your phone, email, chat, and other people. To achieve a flow state, you need ten to fifteen minutes of undistracted focus, at a minimum. Turn off your phone's notifications, stay away from social media, and work at a time where other people won't be inclined to distract you. I find the early morning to be the best time for me, especially while working from home.
Internal distractions are things like stress or having too much on your mind. If something is weight heavy on you, it will be incredibly difficult to enter a flow state. Take care of any tasks that might prove to be a distraction. I can't provide insight into meditation. However, it has shown to be useful for others who are practicing flow state.
Find your peak time
Your peak time is when your energy level is at it's highest. For me, this also proves to be mornings. By lunchtime, our energy tends to diminish. Be sure to practice flow state when your attention is at its highest. You may find that you're able to dedicate deliberate focus after a 15 - 30-minute break. However, you'll want to use this time to clear your head. That means no social media, texting, or emails during this time.
Listening to music
Certain music has proven to increase concentration. It may also act as a "filter" for other potential distractions. Not all music may be suitable, so you'll need to experiment to find what works best for you. With that in mind, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Repetitive music tends to be best suited for focus. Additionally, playing the right song on repeat has worked for others. You'll want to avoid anything that you're unfamiliar with since this may end up being a distraction. I tend to listen to electronic or jazz.
Don't bother trying to achieve a flow state on tasks that you find uninteresting or mundane. These are not be suited for practicing flow state. Instead, do so when working on tasks you find challenging, or that you love. Sure, we all have aspects of work that we don't care for, but need to be done. Just don't anticipate reaching a high level of focus while doing them.
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