What we call productivity is an elusive term that almost everyone interprets in a different way. We are all familiar with the rules of being productive — following the 5 P’s of Performance, for example: prepare, concentrate, concentrate (read, think), focus, and concentrate (take action). But how do we actually do it?

When you work efficiently, you’re in a flow state — and when you’re in a flow state, you are very focused on the task at hand. Your body is cooperating. Your mind is relaxed. When you’re in a flow state, your body and mind have one focus — and it’s on getting the right action now, which will allow you to get things done in the time you have allotted for that task.

To get into a flow state, you must change your current circumstances, which include your current brain processes. You will have to adopt a different mindset. You will have to set aside your initial responses to the current situation (which was, for you, full of anxiety and uncertainty). You’ll need to flip a switch, and change the way you react to events in your life.

To overcome anxiety and uncertainty, you must accept that you can’t predict everything that will happen. Instead, you must go with the flow of events. You can’t control what goes on around you, but you can manage how you respond to it — and how you handle it.

In the start-up world, we use productivity techniques and tools constantly to manage our time and manage our people. We get tons of emails, and tend to check them about four or five times a day. I’ve found that the way to get everything done is to check two emails on two days, and stay with one email for most of the day. When we check email, we check it in the same way — every 10 minutes or so. This means that we check that email every couple of hours, not once or twice.

If you can do this, you will instantly feel like you’re in a flow state.

Here are a few tricks to help you get going.