How to Tap into the Flow State
to Skyrocket Your Business
Let’s talk about flow, that magical, hyper-productive state of mind we all enter from time to time.
Work seems to flow effortlessly, and we get more done in a short period of time than we ever thought possible.
Below I'm teaching all about flow including:
- the key uses of flow to maximize your business day
- the biggest enemy of getting into the flow state
- how to get in the zone faster
- what to avoid to stay in the flow
- the magical ingredient to slip into the zone
I hope you find it super valuable.
Flow State: the Magical, Hyper-Productive State of Mind
Flow State is a state of mind and one us introverts are particularly good at triggering. It’s when we allow ourselves to be completely focused on one goal and we’re motivated to get things done.
Of course, it helps when we enjoy our work, but that isn’t always necessary. In fact, it can be the opposite. Something we’re finding boring or annoying becomes fun and easy to do when we manage to get into the flow.
Except for business accounting! (Or am I the only one???)
And one of the best ways to be creative and focused in your business is to get into the flow. When you start to work on a project in the flow state, all the pieces seem to fall into place. You’re making more progress than you thought possible and your day is smooth and productive.
Getting into the flow helps you in quite a few different ways when it comes to your business. Not only will you get things done faster, but you’ll also work smarter.
Sometimes flow is a happy accident. We wake up and are ready to tackle whatever the world throws at us. Other times, flow is born out of necessity, usually in the form of a hard, unnegotiable deadline. When we know it has to get done by 5pm, the work starts to flow.
But wouldn’t it be great if we could get into the flow on demand?
Since it’s a state of mind, we can. But it takes a little effort and practice.
That’s what I’m going to be teaching you today.
Start by analyzing what flow feels like to you.
Can you pinpoint what brings it on?
You already know it’s a state of mind, but it’s also a state where you feel both productive and confident.
Your happiness endorphins are flowing helping you get more done. Since you’re happy and confident, you no longer waste time second-guessing yourself.
This state helps you stay alert and energized while you're in the flow.
Add to that the laser focus we experience when we get into the flow state. It’s no wonder it’s such a powerful and productive state of mind.
Some days getting into the flow with your work assignments and projects is easy. Other days, not so much. You end up sitting at your desk for hours waiting for inspiration to strike. If only there was a way to move things along and give yourself a chance of getting into the flow.
The good news is there is.
There’s a lot you can do, but often the simplest and most effective way is to start your task. Make up your mind that you will get the work done. Don’t even worry about getting in the flow or not. The only thing non-negotiable is starting and getting done what you can. Give it your best effort.
You’ll be surprised how often that’s enough to get you in the flow. Before you know it, the words start to pour out of you, the spreadsheets start to make sense, or a plan comes together. You’re in the flow and work is flying off your desk.
When you think about it for a minute it makes sense that moving in the right direction helps you get in the flow. The flow is all about momentum and motivation.
Work on the first task on your to-do list and get that done. Move on to the next item and so on and so forth. Before you know it, you’re making massive progress and chances are good that you’ll find yourself in the flow. If not, that’s ok. At least you’re making some serious progress. That’s what counts. Flow is nice, but not always necessary.
Keep trying and you’ll find that more often than not, you do get in the flow. There may be plenty of distractions, yet you get into the flow by taking action and making progress.
Sometimes the simplest ideas work. Give it a try and see if getting started doesn’t help you get in the flow state.
The biggest enemy of getting into the flow state
It would be great if you could get into the flow state on demand. Yet, this particular mental state isn’t all that easy to get into. And it gets even harder when you lack self-confidence and conviction in whatever you’re setting out to do.
Let me explain.
By far the biggest enemy of getting into the flow state is indecision. Getting into the flow requires you to sit down and focus while ignoring everything else.
That requires a good bit of confidence and willpower.
Your first goal in an attempt to spend more working hours in the flow state should be to move past indecision.
Get in the habit of making decisions, making them fast. Then stick to whatever plan of action you committed to. Like any habit, it will take a little time and mental effort to get there, but it will be well worth it in the end.
There are other benefits to ditching indecision.
The first thing that happens is that you will be more confident. You may not feel confident yet but being firm with decisions helps grow your confidence.
You’ll also be more productive regardless of whether you manage to get into the flow state. You’re wasting less time thinking about and looking into different options. Instead, pick what’s best based on the information you have and follow through. Not only does this allow you to get more done, but it allows you to finish more projects faster. This is a vital skill to bring to your business.
Finishing things will also transform your confidence.
The habit of indecision creates a vicious cycle which will stop you from moving forward. Becoming a firm and fast decision maker, however, will make it easier to reach that elusive flow state.
Setting the mood to help you get in the zone faster
Getting in the zone so you’re in a flow state is all about your mind. Yes, you can “think” your way into a flow state, but like meditating, it isn’t easy to get into the flow. It’s something that takes constant practice.
You can make things easier on yourself and hack getting into the flow state by setting the mood.
Use the following ideas to help you along the way.
Our brains are susceptible to smells and sounds
Have you ever smelled something, and a vivid memory pops into your head? How about hearing an old song and you remember a person you haven’t thought about in years?
Our minds make strong associations between mental states and both scents and sounds. Use that to your advantage. Pick a pleasing scent and a song you love and make them part of your “getting into the flow” ritual. Before long, smelling that particular scent or hearing “your” song will get you ready to get to work.
For me, I listen to a playlist of three songs on repeat when I’m doing tasks that need thinking and concentration. If you're curious, the three songs are:
1. Should be True by Phaeleh
2. Destiny by Zero 7/Sia
3. Hayling by FC Kahuna
When I’m doing other tasks, I listen to success affirmations on repeat.
I’ve always worked like this, even in a day job when I was able to. Music helps me shift my state of mind into the zone fast.
Being uncomfortable can be distracting
Where you work will become another important part of your routine – more on the routine part in a minute. Pick your workspace with care. Nothing's more distracting than cramping up because you're in an awkward position for too long.
Find a comfortable spot that’s good for your posture where you can sit for extended periods of time. Yes, breaks are important. But let’s face it, there are times when you’re in the zone and you forget about time and getting up to move around.
A routine can be helpful for getting back in the flow
Let’s wrap it all up by combining everything we’ve talked about so far and whatever ritual works for you. This becomes your routine. It helps to follow the same few steps to prepare yourself for getting into the flow each time. Before long, going through the motions of your routine will transport you into the zone or flow state.
The magical ingredient to slip into the flow state
Wouldn't it be great if there was some sort of magical dust you could sprinkle on your head and poof, you're in the flow? Well, I checked online and so far, I haven't been able to find a reliable source of this type of magic dust. If you find it, shoot me an email.
I did, however, come across something that works as well. Think of it as mental magic dust. And that's motivation.
Yep, you read that right – motivation= magic dust.
Here's what I mean.
When you're motivated to get something done, it becomes much easier to get into the flow. But there's a trick to it. There's a key ingredient to motivation and willpower. Making sure you get your to-do list ticked off isn't going to cut it.
When you have some skin in the game, you are more likely to see it through.
Find something that motivates you deep in your core. Connect what you want to achieve with a strong emotional response.
For example, you could get motivated to wrap up a project in your business so you can make new sales. The extra money will allow you to buy your daughter the new bike you've promised her. Or maybe you’re saving up for the down payment on your dream home. Or perhaps you want to get away on a nice trip this summer.
Think about what motivates you. Dig deep and be honest with yourself. I'll give you a hint. Money isn't a true motivator. What that money allows you to buy and do is true motivation. Find that motivation and use it to help you get into the flow. I promise it works almost as good as magic dust.
Avoid this to stay in the flow
Getting to a place where the work flows and you’re being productive and creative is a wonderful feeling. Being pulled out of it by a phone call, a spam email, or a Facebook notification about your best friend’s picture of a cat? That isn’t so good for your flow state.
Getting into the flow is either a happy accident or something that took you a lot of work to get into. Once you’re in the flow state, your next goal is to stay in there as long as possible and get things done.
And the biggest enemy of staying in the flow is distractions.
Your goal then before you attempt to sit down and get to work in a state of flow, is to cut out as many distractions as you can. That means closing your office door or finding a quiet place to work.
You should also take your phone off the hook and set your cell phone to silent or flight mode. Don’t set it to vibrate. That little vibration can be as much of a distraction as your phone ringer is. Even worse, you may think you feel it vibrate or hear it rattling in your desk or pocket, even when it isn’t. You don’t need that kind of distraction.
Also, make sure you put your phone face down or in another room if it’s on silent. That way you don’t see the notifications come through. You need laser focus to stay in the flow.
What else might distract you from your tasks?
Distraction can be as simple as not having a clear idea of what your next few steps are. Mapping out your project will be a great start. You may also find it helpful to create a task list or to-do list once you have your project mapped out. Write it down and keep this list next to you while you work away. You’ll know exactly what you need to be focusing on at a glance, helping you drop all other distractions.
Last but not least, let’s talk about multi-tasking. We all pride ourselves in being able to juggle 3 projects and 5 tasks all at once. It makes us feel super productive, doesn’t it? Well, the fact is, tasks take us longer to complete when we try to multitask.
Our brains work much better when we focus on one thing at a time. And it’s much easier to get into the flow this way. We don’t have to keep mental tabs on where we’re at with every single multi-tasked project. Instead, we have one project and one task in front of us. That’s what will get you that laser focus you need to stay in the flow.
Thank you for reading this small part of my full toolkit about getting in the flow. It's been so much fun to put together for you. Below are the details of the complete toolkit. Take a look.