State of Flow (or Flow State): how to maximize your performance
The State of Flow (or Fluidity State) occurs when we are so immersed in an activity that it seems that time flies and we enjoy the pleasure of every second that passes. If you have ever experienced the Flow State, you will have noticed that you are so focused or concentrated on what you are doing, that you forget what is happening around you and do not want that moment to end.
The term Flow (flow in English) is introduced by Mihály Csikszentmiháyi and is related to creativity, talent and happiness, and is one of the basic pillars of positive psychology. For Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (2009),
"The Flow or State of Flow is a subjective state that people experience when they are completely involved in something to the point of forgetting time, fatigue and everything else, except the activity itself."
How do we experience Flow's state or flow?
The State of Flow It feels pleasant and liberating, since we are immersed in an activity that stimulates our passions , curiosities, interests and our senses. We lose the notion of time and a state of creativity and productivity is very high. If you have experienced the Flow State at some time, you may have noticed that:
- The focus is on the task and you experience a high degree of concentration
- The activity is intrinsically rewarding
- There is a pleasant feeling related to what you are doing
- You get lost in time
- The task is perceived as workable and you think you are competent to carry it out
- Notes that you have control over the effort you make.
- The feeling of fatigue disappears
- The state of consciousness is almost automatic, it does not require effort
Tips to take you to Flow State
The State of Flow is related to well-being and happiness, since it is pleasant activities that make us feel special and happy with our life.
Following the contributions of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi , here are some tips to be able to flow and reach the optimal state in which your task will become very rewarding.
1. Do something that you find interesting
The State of Flow appears naturally when it exists intrinsic motivation or you feel curious about the activity you do. To increase productivity and creativity in what you are doing, you must enjoy what you do.
2. Set yourself clear and achievable goals
The objectives that you make in the activity must be specific and achievable. If you get the objectives in that activity are in tune with your skill level , it is possible that you can flow during the realization. On the contrary, if the objectives that you signify suppose a degree of difficulty that demands an overexertion, then it can be stressful.
You have to understand that if the task you are going to perform does not represent any degree of difficulty, it is very possible that you get bored. The key is that there is an adequate level between the motivation for the task and the ability to perform it.
3. Find a quiet moment and avoid distractions
For many people, a quiet place is better to induce a Flow State. In this way, it is easier that there are no distractions and you can enjoy the moment in its entirety. Continuous interruptions do not favor the state of fluidity is present. If you want to be more productive, you can identify the time of day when you pay more . Some people work better in the morning, others in the afternoon and others in the evening.
4. Keep the attention as long as you can
Once you have found that quiet moment without distractions, try to keep your attention on the task . Sometimes, especially if you practice an activity for the first time, it is normal that you do not spend a lot of time concentrated. As you master the activity, you will have more time to enjoy it. On the other hand, you should pay attention to the physiological needs (such as eating, going to the bathroom, drinking, etc.) because they interfere with your level of attention. Therefore, it is important to cover these needs to favor the Flow State.
5. Your skill level must match the difficulty of the task
If our skill level is in tune with the activity we do, this will be more pleasant. In other words, If we are well prepared to do something, there are more possibilities to experience the State of Flow . But adding a bit of difficulty to the task can keep our motivation high. The problem arises when the task comes great, then it stops being pleasant.
6. Focus on the process, not on the result
The State of Flow or Fluency is related to the completion of the task, not the result . An attractive result can be motivating too, but what is really important is to enjoy what is done. The State of Flow refers to having fun in the present, that is, getting lost in that moment of happiness.
- Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2009). The flow. Positive emotions (181-193). Madrid: Pyramid Editions.