3 Daily Habits that Help You to Get Into Flow on a Regular
In an effort to get ready for my second book, I’ve been thinking about the habits, systems, and routines that enable me to find flow on a daily basis. Like any normal person, I slip. There are occasional days when I check Tweetdeck or Facebook or email in the morning.
However over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed a consistent pattern. When I start the day with some source of distraction, I find it harder to write, and harder to get into flow. I crave sources of distraction throughout the day. But if I stick to a certain set of habits, don’t deviate from my rituals, I manage to find flow rather quickly.
After I set the coffee to brew, the first thing I do each morning is open up the Calm app and meditate for 10 minutes. Since I’m waiting for the coffee to brew, it’s a perfect time to do it. As one of my mentors said, “human beings are the only species with the ability to pause between stimulus and response.” When we can develop that capacity through meditation, we find flow more easily.
3. Task Completion
It really doesn’t matter what the task is. It could be writing 1000 words. It could be editing a podcast. It could be writing a line of code. Things like checking email, logging into Facebook and other sources of distraction give you a shot of dopamine, which keep you craving them like a junky all day long.
If you start off checking your email first thing in the morning, you’re checking your email all day long. And if somebody is not sending you an email, you send an email to someone else to bother them. — Brian Tracy
Task completion, on the other hand, does something to else to your brain. It results in visible progress, which is a precursor to flow. Start the day by finishing a task and you start the day with momentum.
Once I’m done with writing my 1000 words, I usually hit the gym where I do about 40 minutes of cardio while reviewing the latest episode of the Unmistakable Creative or listening to an audiobook. Exercise not only helps you to see the world through a more optimistic lens. It releases endorphins, one of the chemicals that cause flow.
- On the days when I hit the gym for 40 minutes of cardio early in the morning my productivity goes through the roof.
- On the days that I surf, when I sit down to write, the intensity of my focus increases, and I end up doing a lot more deep work.
- On the days that I don’t do either , my mind is scattered and I keep getting distracted by things.
By making the time for exercise, you increase your ability to focus, and as a result need less time for all the other things that currently prevent you from making time for exercise.
What Flow Feels Like
When you’re in a state of flow, you’ll notice that your heart seems to beat much faster, the world around you disappears, and time flies.
- If you’re writing you’ll type faster.
- If you’re playing music, you get lost in the sound of it.
- Sources of distraction lose their appeal.
- 1000 words turn into 1200, 1500, 2000 and so on.
Whatever agreement you’ve made with yourself, whatever milestone you’ve set as your marker, whatever obstacle stands between you and what you’re trying to accomplish, flow makes it feel effortless. Develop a set of daily habits that gets you into flow on a regular basis and you’ll get to where you’re going faster.