Get In Your Flow.

get in your flow

How your day going so far? Going with the flow?

Adapting gracefully (1#%!) even though what you really wanted to do today is now on the back burner yet again?

I can hear you saying ..” if only everyone would leave me alone to get my jobs done.. I can’t get time to do the creative stuff any more.. why did I ever get out of bed today?”

And the head talk goes on and on and on…..

Ok, so trust me here.. I’d like to take you to another place (and seeing that I was in Whistler, Canada this time last year having just fractured my left wrist, that’s where we are going (I’m really missing the snow and cold) so…close your eyes, make yourself comfortable in your seat, relax your shoulders, take 6 deep breathes and on your exhale, breath out slower than your in breath.

Ok, now you are ready, each time a thought passes across your mind just let it fly away and focus back on your breathing…

“Imagine you are skiing down one of your favourite slopes. Powdery snow flies up on both sides of you like white sand, Conditions are perfect. You are entirely focused on skiing as best you can. You know exactly how to move at each moment. There is no future, no past. There is only now. You feel the snow, your skis, your body, and your consciousness united as one. You are completely immersed in the experience, not thinking about or distracted by anything else. Your ego dissolves, and you become part of what you are doing.”

Just sit with this and tune into your thoughts, what do you notice? What sounds you are aware of, how is your body feeling? What are you thinking about?…

We have all felt our sense of time vanish when we lose ourselves in an activity we enjoy. I bet you can think of a few right now. However, we can also do the opposite – when we have to complete something we don’t want to do, every minute feels like a lifetime and we watch the clock constantly! Funny though isn’t it, that someone else might really enjoy doing what we don’!.

What makes us enjoy doing something so much that we forget about any worries we have? When are we happiest? When do we feel satisfaction? When do we feel like our lives have purpose?

There is no one magic recipe for finding happiness, living according to your ikigai, but research and literature supports the ability to reach “a state of flow”, and through this state, to have an “optimal experience.” It makes sense then, based on the research, to increase the time we spend on activities, work and/or family life related, that can bring us into this state of flow and limit getting caught up in things that give us immediate pleasure. Chess players, engineers and athletes spend much of their time on activities that bring them to the flow state.

So what happens to our minds when we are in a state of FLOW? Just a wee bit curious? When we flow, we are focused on a concrete task without any distractions. Our mind is “in order.” The opposite occurs when we try to do something while our mind is on other things.

According to researcher Owen Schaffer of Depaul University, if you want to achieve flow, this is what you need to have in place… really a self coaching checklist:

Knowing what to do

Knowing how to do it

Knowing how well you are doing

Knowing where to go

Perceiving significant challenges

Perceiving significant skills

Being free from distractions.

So now you could be thinking.. “this is all very well for you..” here a few ideas I use to limit my distractions and create space and time to increase my chances of reaching a state of flow – getting in touch with my ikagai:

*Not peeking at screens first hour in morning and last hour before sleep

*Turn off phone or use “do not disturb” function for emergencies

*Make one day per week a technology fasting day – only allow e-books and music

*Go to a cafe that doesn’t have wifi

*Read and respond to email twice per day

*Have a ritual to start your work session and finish with a reward

*Use a timer – i.e 25 minute of work, 5 minute rest or 30 minutes work, 10 minutes rest

*Use positive affirmations when you are distracted to get you back to focus.

*Choose a space of no distractions to work, away from home, another office space.

*Divide activities into groups or related tasks, set time and place.

*Bundle routine tasks like making phone calls and invoicing and do them all at once.

Have a great day and give a few of the above a “red hot shot!” I’d love to hear from you so connect now.

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