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3 Ways to Go From Burnout State to Flow State
Flow isn’t harder to achieve these days. You just have to schedule it.
In our current world, mired as it is in political, social, and medical quicksand, flow seems like a relic from another time.
One of our main limitations these days is of course: interruptions.
There is little opportunity to be fully absorbed in anything.
But “little” is not the same as “none.”
Achieving the bliss of flow is possible — even now — with a few smart strategies:
#1 Figure out what times of day are least likely to be interrupted
Many people like to rise before their households solely to experience peace and quiet.
Maybe you and your spouse trade off childcare duties, so 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. is a possibility, and your colleagues seldom start pinging you before 9:30 a.m.
This leaves you a chunk of early morning time to work with.
Maybe your roommate reliably vacates the premises on Saturdays.
Analyze your schedule until you know what chunks of time might be available, and if there’s more than one chunk, figure out when you have the most energy.
If you get in your groove after 9 p.m., and your household is quiet then, that can work too.
#2 Match the right work to the right time
Slot projects that allow for full absorption into the time slots where flow is possible.
Creative and analytical projects are good choices; I like to write and edit in open, uninterrupted chunks of time
#3 Set yourself up to succeed
When you’re in a state of flow, the experience can be pleasant enough to preclude actively seeking out disruptions, but some can still find their way in.
So take a moment before you begin to set the stage.
Turn off phone or computer notifications.
Keep a water bottle handy so thirst doesn’t stop the flow prematurely.
And keep what I like to call a “later list” next to you.
This is where you jot down any semi-useful thoughts (“I should take the food out of the freezer for dinner”) that pop, unbidden, into your head.
You will deal with these later, which is when you’ll handle email and other things that can be done in between the kids demanding tech help or the dog barking to be let out.
Those sorts of things will never lead to flow.
The work that does should be treated as special.
And making time for flow is an important part of everyone’s mental health.