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6 steps to dive into the stream
6 steps to dive into the stream

The ability to immerse yourself in a state of flow is useful in any area.

6 steps to dive into the stream
6 steps to dive into the stream

Flow, which is characterized by focus, pleasure in doing work, and a distorted perception of time, can dramatically increase productivity.

The state when we are completely immersed in our occupation, psychologist Mihai Csikszentmihalyi, who first proposed the concept of flow, describes as an action in itself. Such actions completely depend on the mentality and preferences of a particular person. Some, for example, experience a flow state while working, doing yoga, or cooking dinner.

We perform self-directed actions for their own sake, since the sensations associated with them are the goal.

Mihai Csikszentmihalyi "In Search of the Flow"

In a state of flow, the brain works faster, it is easier for us to process and comprehend information. And if you increase the time spent in it by at least 15–20%, productivity will double.

Steven Kotler writes about this in his book "The Rise of Superman". He attributes this increased performance to a mixture of five neurochemicals produced by the brain during a flow state: norepinephrine, dopamine, endorphins, anandamide, and serotonin. They make flow one of the most enjoyable and addictive states.

But productivity doesn't stop there. Kotler believes that the state of flow is very beneficial for health, especially for the immune system.

You can immerse yourself in the state of flow by changing your attitude to work. There are six easy steps to help you do this.

1. Get rid of long-held myths about work

The flow state is very different from our typical work view. Being in the flow, we experience a feeling of lightness, pleasure and depth in our business, we are relaxed and focused at the same time. Outside of it, we are nervous, we cannot concentrate, we have the feeling that we are not in control of the situation and are not doing anything.

Csikszentmihalyi believes that we are in a state of flux, where the task we are working on matches our skills, but at the same time remains complex enough that interest in it does not disappear. However, even when these conditions coincide, we do not always enjoy our work. It's simple: many people think that work should be unpleasant.

Some equate stress and discomfort with productivity, believing that hard work contributes to quality results.

Everything is exactly the opposite. In such a situation, time usually flies between periods of rush and procrastination - and by the evening we fall off our feet without really doing anything.

So before you try to dive into the flow state, get rid of any past prejudices about work.

2. Have a clear goal

A prerequisite for a flow state is a clear, clear goal. For example, a 2003 study found that hospital cleaners feel like they are part of a team helping people get well.

Such a view brings awareness of our goal and evokes a different attitude towards work, completely different from when we think only about salary or career.

Therefore, it is very important to define your own goal that will integrate your current position with your personal mission. If you find it difficult, think back to the part of the job that gives you the most satisfaction and think about why you enjoy it so much.

3. Develop "flow" thinking

People prone to self-directed actions are usually open to new experiences. They have developed intrinsic motivation. They do not work for someone else, but for the pleasure of completing an interesting task. And since they are not tied to results, they find it easier to immerse themselves in a flow state.

All these qualities can be developed in oneself. Start by focusing on a specific task. If you notice that you are distracted by extraneous thoughts or fear the consequences of failure, return to your task again and concentrate on completing it.

Use positive self-hypnosis. During the study of the habits of runners, it was found that it helps athletes to increase the state of flow. … Before you take on a new business, imagine that everything goes like clockwork. Just a few seconds of such self-hypnosis will make it easier to immerse yourself in the stream.

4. Reduce distractions

The constant distractions in modern offices make it the most difficult to immerse yourself in a state of flux. As soon as we start one business, we are distracted by something else: calls, emails, meetings, requests from colleagues. Because of this, productivity drops noticeably.

Therefore, try to reduce distractions as much as possible. Keep only those browser tabs open that you need to complete the task at hand. Close all unnecessary programs. Unplug the phone or put it in a drawer.

5. Give up multitasking

Instead of doing several things at the same time, group your responsibilities. For example, when replying to mail, do not try to communicate with the client on the phone. Of course, this approach requires a lot of effort: you have to plan your day in advance, perhaps even warn colleagues and managers.

To try this method, set aside several time blocks to work on different groups of tasks. After finishing with one group, mark these tasks on the list of accomplishments for the day.

By celebrating such small victories, we give ourselves an impetus to help us cope with big things.

Naturally, this is not suitable for all professions: in some areas of activity, it is necessary to react quickly.

6. Cultivate Mindfulness

If you don't develop awareness, any thought or urgent request that comes to mind will pull you out of the flow. To train your mindfulness, try doing specific exercises on a regular basis. Here are some examples.

Feet on the floor

Feel your feet on the floor. Pay attention to where your feet come into contact with your socks or shoes. Press lightly on the floor with your feet, feel its firmness and stability. This will help you feel connected to the present moment.

A minute of awareness

Set a timer for one minute and count the number of breaths taken. Repeat several times to determine your average number of breaths per minute. Then make it a rule to arrange for yourself such conscious moments several times a day.


Only knowing where you are now can you move forward. Pay attention to how you are feeling at the moment: notice your thoughts, emotions, physical sensations. Now focus on your breathing. Feel the air entering and exiting the chest. Gradually expand your focus, try to feel every part of the body.

This way, you can stay in a state of flux at work even when something distracts you, such as when you make a mistake or read an angry email from a coworker.

Now it will not be difficult for you to deal with the problem that has arisen and immerse yourself in work again.