There is no such thing as too much time. Chances are, if you have a newborn or a child in college, you already know this. But we think when life gets overwhelming and your life starts to seem like it’s out of control it can be helpful to distill it down and simplify it so you can find a way to center it and reconnect again. That is the practice of getting “in flow”. And when you get your flow back, you are in a kind of internal peace and flow that can last for hours.
Get To-Do Lists
Be sure to look for lists, when you get into flow. When you’re in flow, you stop worrying about what is to come, you’re focused on what’s going on now. To-do lists can remind you of those things you need to do, but they give you a small push into a flow state. Look for lists at bedtime, or make a list at your desk when you hit your day’s average decision maker number of emails. It’s a little like taking a notepad and pencil, or a camera, or a portable speaker, and slowly getting involved in writing a to-do list. Think about which email topics are relevant to what you’re writing on your list, and set aside a few minutes to actually write it all down. I found once I actually got going it took less than 10 minutes, which is pretty encouraging.
For the things you have to get done, ask yourself a question like, what is that one thing that needs to get done that will move me into flow state? If the answer is a to-do list, think about that very question when you choose the items on the list. Now get into flow state. I wrote this list when I was 9 years old, and I remember thinking, wow, that is just one step off my list, now what am I going to do? And it stayed in my mind, and I have no excuse for not using it. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time, it’s like a crystal ball — you can see a plan ahead. This model of selection is what got me “in flow”. In flow state, your mind changes its focus from problem to solution, and you focus entirely on your task at hand.
Let’s say you are focused on completing a couple of tasks that are on your to-do list. You see that something needs to be done that is not on your list. Just immediately notifying the person on your list. And that is all. Posting your to-do list to a social network or email to a group. You have to have it on your list, it isn’t possible to stay in flow state if you don’t know what the issues are. That email is already in your brain, you are not waiting for you to have time to deal with it. Once you resolve the problem, your focus is on that little item you saw on your list that day, and nothing else.
It can be tough to create your own flow state. Sometimes it feels overwhelming to keep on going, asking yourself, how much time do I have? But by incorporating a few practices, or reminders that help you get in flow, you can get back on track.