Getting to a place where the work just flows effortlessly and you’re being productive, creative, while having a great time is a wonderful feeling. Being pulled out of it by a phone call, a spam email, or a Facebook notification about your best friend’s picture of a cat on the other hand isn’t such a good feeling.
Getting into the flow is either a happy accident, or something that took a lot of work. Once you get into the flow state, your next goal is to stay in there as long as possible and get things done. And the biggest enemy of staying in the flow is distractions.
Your goal then before you attempt to sit down and get to work in a state of flow, is to cut out as many distractions as you can. That means closing your office door, or finding a quiet place to work elsewhere. You should also take your phone off the hook and set your cell phone to silent. Don’t just set it to vibrate. That little vibration can be just as much of a distraction as your phone ringer is.
Even worse, you may think you feel it vibrate or hear it rattling in your desk or pocket, even when it isn’t. You don’t need that kind of distraction. You need laser focus to stay in the flow.
What else might distract you from your tasks? Maybe it’s as simple as not having a clear idea of what you should be doing and what your next few steps are. Mapping out your project – be it at work, at home, or even something fun like planning a vacation – will be a great start.
You may also find it helpful to create a task list or to-do list once you have your project mapped out. Write it down and keep this list next to you while you work away. You’ll know exactly what you need to be focusing on at a glance, helping you eliminate all other distractions.
Last but not least, let’s talk about multi-tasking. We all pride ourselves in being able to juggle 3 projects and 5 tasks all at once. It makes us feel super productive, doesn’t it? Well the fact is, tasks take us longer overall when we try to multitask.
Our brains work much better when we focus on one thing at a time. And it’s much easier to get into the flow this way. We don’t have to keep mental tabs on where we’re at with every single multi tasked project. Instead we have one project and one task in front of us. That’s what will get you that laser focus you need to stay in the flow.