Don’t you just love the flow state?
It’s a feeling when you get immersed in your work, and the surrounding world disappears. Hours pass by, and you get a lot of meaningful work done.
The flow state is an ideal scenario for our everyday work. So if you’d like to achieve this magic state, here are some tips to get you started.
Requirements for Reaching Flow at Work
Before you can even start dreaming about the flow state, you need to have certain fundamentals in order.
To ensure a better chance for a flow state, make sure that:
- No one is disturbing you.
- You have rested well.
- You are excited about the task you are about to do.
- The task you are working on is meaningful to you.
So, did you nod your head to all the points above?
You are now ready to start your journey towards the flow state.
8 Ways to Put You in a Flow
This list is not an exhaustive one on how to get into the flow. But they are great starting points for sure.
1. Take a Nap
When I’m talking about naps, I’m referring to power naps. This is nothing more than a 10-25 minute short nap that can boost your productivity dramatically.
So if you feel tired, take a power nap first before you work on your task. Feeling refreshed ensures that you can focus on your work without getting distracted by sleepiness.
2. Listen to Songs on Repeat on YouTube
Good music can also put you in a flow state. And by good music, I’m talking about music that you like.
Based on my experience, instrumental music works the best for me since I’m not paying attention to words, just the melody. But naturally, your taste can be different.
Sometimes, a specific song “hits me hard.” In that case, I love to listen to it on repeat. I listen to music through YouTube, and it has a handy looping feature.
All I have to do is to right-click on top of a video and choose Loop.
3. Put Your Own Tweaks to the Common (Time Management) Advice
There is a lot of general time management advice floating around. And while some of them are good (like work on your important tasks first), some need more adjustments to fit your scenario.
One typical advice is to work with a “system” that someone else has developed. One of these systems is the Pomodoro Technique.
While you can use Pomodoro (and similar techniques) with success, following it to the letter will cause a threat to your flow state.
For instance, with the Pomodoro Technique, you should take a 5-minute break after working for 25 minutes.
Taking breaks is good, but when you destroy your flow state because of the break, they are not so good anymore.
Therefore, if you find yourself immersed in a task, continue working with it until you naturally feel that there is a need for a break.
For instance, as soon as you daydream, start watching your phone or get lost on a random website, you know it’s time to get away from your computer for a while.
4. Work from Home
This blog is all about remote working productivity, so this tip is self-explanatory. Yet, it’s one of the best ways to isolate yourself from all the typical cubicle “hassle.”
Especially if you have a dedicated room in your home, you can turn it into a distraction-free space, where focusing becomes a breeze.
Home office space is less distracting since you don’t have to worry about noisy colleagues or ringing phones. And since you get less distracted in a home office, getting into a flow state and keeping it becomes much easier.
5. Work in a Different Room
Just recently, I noticed that even if I work from home, specific tasks are easier to do in a particular room.
For instance, I had a phone meeting with clients, and usually, I’d have the meeting in my home office. However, my wife was working on her computer next to me, so I wanted to have the meeting elsewhere.
So I headed over to our fireplace room, just with my laptop (no phone or anything else). I had the most focused meeting for ages.
This little change just showed me that working in different rooms can improve the focus, sometimes even considerably.
6. Work While Commuting
Working while commuting has been one of my favorite ways to immerse myself in a task at hand.
I take a bus ride to the office three times a week. It takes approximately 50 minutes (one way) to commute to the office.
It may sound counterintuitive, but the bus ride helps me to get into the flow state. I typically do writing work when I commute, but I’m still able to immerse myself in the work I do.
So why does this environment work, even though it is noisy? I guess it’s because of the coffee shop effect.
The idea behind the coffee shop effect is that your brain concentrates better on noise. And that’s just in a coffee shop.
Based on my non-scientific observation, adding moving scenery and the coffee shop effect makes the whole thing even more useful. But hey, that’s my experience on it.
So if you commute or make business trips, work on your tasks while doing so. You’ll find yourself in the destination without realizing it.
7. Know the Tasks You Should Be Working On
It’s easy to jump from one task to another, and you’ll eventually realize that you have got nothing meaningful done. This phenomenon occurs when you don’t know in advance the task you should be doing.
To prevent aimlessly jumping from a task to another, know precisely the task you should work on. Then work on that task only.
Moving from one task to another is a guaranteed way to lose your focus or flow.
8. Work on a Single Task
This final tip also contributes a lot to your focus.
I notice that when I’m working on one task only, I’m able to reach and maintain the flow state much easier. And naturally, this single task should be easy enough so that you can make progress on it.
Conclusion: 8 Ways to Find (and Keep) the Flow at Work
There are many ways to reach the flow state in your work. The tips I’ve shown to you in this post have worked for me, and they can also work for you.
Your task is to pick one tip and test it in your everyday work. And if you find a tip that doesn’t work, then jump to another one! Just keep the good ones in your toolbox :)
Now it’s your turn: What are your best tips for reaching the flow state and staying there? Leave them in the comment area below.