“Who you are, what you think, feel, and do, what you love—is the sum of what you focus on.” – Cal Newport
Flow, that too often fleeting state of momentum we have all experienced. The outside world melts away and we concentrate fully on what’s in front of us. Deep in our subject. Keeping our attention pure. Keeping our energy channelled.
This is the rare air. The state we seek out but that can be hard to come by.
Flow is Preceded by Focus
A necessary first step, and entry point, into the flow state is focus. Focus involves avoiding distractions, or finding a way to manage them. It involves single-tasking. Putting on the blinkers.
Without this first step, flow just will not appear. While focusing in a world so full of potential distraction is a challenge, we must find a way if we are committed to uncovering our best work and getting the most from our investment in any activity.
Setting Ourselves Up to Succeed
The good news is there are habits we can ingrain that help us find focus.
We can seek out environments that encourage focus. A coffee shop, with the white noise of passing custom in the background, may suit you. Or perhaps complete silence, shut away somewhere may be a better fit. Headphones on with some easy listening music or the sounds of nature outside may do the trick for you. There are many ways.
If we’re writing, perhaps we intentionally turn off our connection to the online world to ensure we don’t distract ourselves with email or surfing the web ‘researching’.
If it’s a physical challenge we are pursuing, perhaps we put our clothes out the night before, get our snacks ready so we have less reason to talk ourselves out of it in the morning.
Commit to removing distractions and finding more focus in your life so you can get a little closer to that all too rare flow state.
To dig deeper, I highly recommend the following resources:
- The One Thing by Gary Keller, Jay Papasan
- Living the 80/20 Way by Richard Koch
- Deep Work by Cal Newport
Originally published at frictionlessliving.net