The “flow” state is a period of immersion in which you become “one” with your work. It is absolutely fantastic, and I’m slightly in one as I write this now.
Getting into a flow state isn’t that difficult after you’ve practiced. With practice & momentum, you can regularly get into a flow state!
Why Flow State?
Flow states help you achieve more. While working in “flow” your brain is operating at optimal performance. This allows you to find creative solutions to complex problems fast.
Flow states are also extremely pleasing. They help give you a sense of fulfillment & enjoyment with the work that you are doing.
There are numerous benefits to flow states, but they can all be summarized into increasing effectiveness & enjoyment of the work that you are doing.
How To “Flow”
Getting into a flow state is a practice that requires time & effort over a long period of time. If you’re lucky, you’ll get it early.
Flow states get easier to achieve with practice, so keep going at it!
Key #1: Working Out & Movement
Working out releases endorphins and all kinds of other feel-good chemicals in your brain. This increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which makes you smarter & happier.
Look, I can’t explain the exact science of why working out is amazing. It just is.
I like to go for a hard run every morning, along with stretches, and push-ups/sit-ups. With practice, you can also begin achieving a “runner’s high” or other work-out high that makes workouts extremely pleasing & addictive.
While working, make sure to move often as well. Not moving restricts blood flow and makes you tired.
Make sure to stop, jump, do push-ups, and keep moving. Movement keeps you engaged.
Key #2: Be Distraction-Free
Turn your phone off, or at least put it on do-not-disturb. When entering a “flow state,” it’s critical that you be free of distractions.
Distractions will take you off your game and may potentially upset you as well. If you want to immerse yourself in work (or whatever), then do exactly that! No distractions!
You should already be working free-of-distractions. The text, phone call, or whatever, can always wait.
Key #3: Sleep Well
Make a practice of improving your sleep quality.
One of the best things you can do is wake up at the same time everyday, and then go to bed whenever you feel tired. Make sure to also turn off electronics & artificial light an hour before bed so that you can enjoy deep rest.
Waking up early tends to improve my ability to enter a “flow state.” This seems to be true for many other entrepreneurs that used to consider themselves “night people.”
Anyone can get into a habit of waking up early, or being a “night owl,” so practice improving your sleep & getting up early.
Key #4: Improve Your Diet
About 90% of your brain’s serotonin is produced in the gut for example. Serotonin is a feel-good chemical in the brain that increases your feeling of well-being & peace.
Sugar, fast food, and processed foods are not meant for your body. They are drugs designed to taste good so you get addicted. Sugar is 8x more addictive than cocaine. Let that settle…
You also should find out if you any food allergies. Many people are sensitive to gluten. They can eat gluten products, but they may develop brain fog the next day without even realizing it is the gluten which causes it!
This can be done through self-experimentation. I recommend checking out the book “The Ultramind Solution” for more information.
Key #5: Hydration
Your body needs water to survive. Most people are under-hydrated, especially in hot places, or certain countries in Europe that don’t have free water available like the USA.
Drink 2, or even 3x more water than you normally would, and watch the transformation. You’ll find your brain fog diminishes, energy increases, and you can focus!
You will have to use the restroom more frequently. That’s okay. It’s okay to take a break every 30 minutes to pee because you’ll be so energized & focused from the hydration.
Key #6: Breaks & Happiness
It is advised to take occasional breaks for nothing while working. For example, you can start taking a 5 minute “nothing” break every 30 minutes.
The “nothing break” does not mean check your phone & get distracted. It means you lay down, breathe slowly, and let things settle for a moment before re-engaging.
You should also find pleasure & fulfillment outside of flow/work. The nature of life is yin & yang.
You may flow & work deeply, but you should find a way to enjoy your life freely also.
Call some friends & plan a fun adventure together. You will feel much more inspired to work if you know that in 4 hours you’re going somewhere cool or doing something fun!
Sometimes flow states are boring. Sometimes work is boring. That’s okay. By making sure you’re pleased outside of work, you increase your ability to handle boredom.
I do not define pleasure as watching TV. Conscious pleasure is much more fulfilling & energizing than passive pleasure.
There are some exceptions to this. I’ve met people that love watching movies. They think about the movie, criticize it, and really immerse themselves in the experience. Most people I know aren’t like that though, and TV/video games are a form of passive pleasure.
Key #7: Avoid Drugs
You do not need coffee to get into a flow state, although it is one way to boost yourself into one.
You can regularly go into a high-energy flow state without coffee so I advise against ever using coffee in the first place. When you try enter a flow state without coffee, you will feel depressed, slow, and not as happy until you detox.
Being sober can be painful at first as you get rid of addictions you didn’t even realize you had. After the adjustment period, you’ll begin naturally feeling amazing most of the time, making flow states much easier!
Key #8: Passion (Maybe)
Passion isn’t always needed in order to enter a flow state. I’ve entered flow states for fairly boring things before.
Passion helps though. If you enjoy what you’re doing, it’ll be that much easier to get into the vibe.
Don’t become dependent on this though or obsessed with “your passion.” It’s not about finding what you love. It’s about learning to love what you do.
By passion, I also mean that you should find a way to make it more rewarding & pleasing. You can give yourself rewards for achievement for example. You can also move & laugh more while doing this!
Key #9: Prioritization
You can’t enter flow if what you’re doing is too easy/boring, or impossible to achieve. You need to prioritize your work in an order that is stimulating & pleasing.
Set small, realistic goals which can be achieved every hour. Build your momentum & work up like that.
I find that it’s best to start with creative pursuits (ie. this blog writing), then towards my most important work, all the way down towards the least important work.
My goal is always to end the day with the most boring, repetitive work, and start with the most stimulating, engaging work.
You also only have 4 hours of effective work per day. It’s best to spend your precious energy & brain chemicals doing what’s important/creative in the first 4 hours, then end with the boring, repetitive, basic stuff.
Outsource anything that is too basic or unimportant. For example, I have a task that takes almost an hour every single day which involves updating an Excel sheet. Soon I’ll be hiring a virtual assistant to help with this task so I can “flow” in more important activities.
Key #10: Momentum (The Most Important)
Building momentum & practicing “flow” is the most important thing to do. Notice how I said “practice,” not achieve. You can’t expect yourself to enter flow 100% of the time, or too early.
Entering flow is a practice that gets better/easier with time.
It’s best to be consistent in your practice & develop some type of work/life routine.
The more you enter flow, the easier it gets to return to flow. Enter flow often, and practice staying in flow for longer periods of time.
Even if you feel bored/distracted, you should keep trying to focus & work. Pushing yourself to keep focusing even when you’re bored and distracted is what allows you to develop the ability to enter flow.
Good luck, and may the flow be with you. 🙂