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Virtus Daily Blog #32 – When are you in flow?

When are you in flow? It’s a question that we should know how to answer. If we can say what our flow state looks like, there is a good chance we will know how to get there.

Unfortunately, most of us, (me included) struggle to get into flow. Struggle to get in the ‘zone’. And are unable to be as productive as we desire to be.

Sure we can blame the attention grabbing, notification flashing, phone beeping, boundary pushing 21st century lives that we live. Or we can take responsibility for our lack of productivity and do something about it.

Flow, if you don’t already know is that magical place between anxiety and boredom. That place where time seems to sit still, where you’re completely immersed in your work, seemingly invincible to any or all distractions that may be thrown your way. Simply put, it’s the place we all would love to spend large chunks of our days.

Jeanne Nakamura and Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi identify the following six factors as encompassing an experience of flow:

  1. Intense and focused concentration on the present moment

  2. Merging of action and awareness

  3. A loss of reflective self-consciousness

  4. A sense of personal control or agency over the situation or activity

  5. A distortion of temporal experience, one’s subjective experience of time is altered

  6. Experience of the activity as intrinsically rewarding, also referred to as autotelic experience

There is plenty of literature to dive into on the concept of Flow.

If you’re a video lover, click here for Mihaly’s Ted Talk.

If you’re a book lover, click here.

My suggestion.

Dive into the reading/watching. identify where you feel most in flow.

And do your best to organise a step by step process to spend as much time in the zone as you possibly can.

Me: I feel most in flow when I am focused on something/someone external to myself. When I’m writing on a topic I am incredibly passionate about. When I’m an hour deep into a podcast conversation I think will never end. When I’m helping someone find their purpose, meaning or true north. Or, when I’m playing a game of football and I’m just ‘on’. Or even when I’m 6 beers in and being a pest..maybe.

To our flow.


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Fig 1. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi flow graph

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