Personal Flow Strategy (techniques for flow)
How to get into flow? That’s the big question. This is a follow up to this post about the basics of flow. This is a very important chapter of the book Flow Hacking Now!, because it can skyrocket you into flow, by analyzing and dissecting previous flow experiences. Most people, if not all, have experienced flow before. Maybe they even rejected the idea of repeating it, because it felt so special or even mystical. By recalling these experiences, finding commonalities and connecting the dots with a few simple steps, you can repeat the process you subconsciously know already and make it conscious. This conscious understanding and formulation of previous flow experiences can now be used to setup up the right conditions. I made these techniques for flow as universal as possible.
Using the steps in this chapter you can create your personal flow strategy and find a way that works for you!
Recall previous flow experiences.
Children often experience flow. In flow, a part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex is shut off. Steven Kotler said that children might be more wired for flow, because their prefrontal cortex is still in development. With this said, you probably experienced flow as a kid. Ask yourself; When did I have an experience that caused the effects of flow? Here are some of them:
You lose your sense of self.
Your perception of time changes or even vanishes. 10 minutes can feel like hours, or what felt like 10 minutes turned out to be hours.
Total absorption in the activity.
Extreme focus and awareness of the moment.
Action and awareness merge.
Certain activities are more likely to trigger flow. To take look at the post’flow triggers‘ might help you to recall your past flow experiences as well. Basic knowledge about the flow cycle is needed to underdstand the strategy here. Click here to read about the flow cycle. It’s super easy, so don’t get alarmed!
Analyze the experiences.
Try to remember what happened before and after the experience, as well as what happened during the actual flow state. You can use this later to figure out the full cycle behind it.
Tip; Write down as much as you can remember, from before until after the experience. What did you do before the experience? How did it feel? What were you doing? What did you feel after the experience? What was the set? What was the setting?
Now you should be able to find out about the cycle of the previous flow experience. Which stage was easy to move through? Which stage was hard to go through? Which stage took longer to move through? Remember, the four stages are 1. Struggle, 2. Release, 3. Flow, and 4. Recovery.
The answers to these questions can act as gateways to learn to move through the Full Flow Cycle more efficiently. When it took you a long time to get the motivation to push yourself through, or even start to get into the struggle stage, you now know why it’s worth the struggle. It can eventually lead you to more flow. Now that’s great motivation if you ask me! What helped you to move through the stages? What made it harder? Read the post’Flow Triggers‘ and ‘The effects of Flow‘ to guide you through answering these questions.
Recreate & repeat!
Now you should have enough knowledge of your previous flow experience, like the Full Flow Cycle and possible improvements you can apply to recreating the experience.
Get yourself in a similar environment with similar conditions. If you were in nature, go to nature again. If you were mountain-biking in the forest, take your mountain-bike and go there again! Whatever it might be that you now know to have caused flow; recreate & repeat!
Tip; You can change the activity while taking flow with you. After mountain-biking in the forest for example, you can sit down and write an essay. Make sure not to change too many factors that trigger flow.