How to Flow?

In Flow, Part 2, I talk through how to choose Flow activities, and how to create the conditions for Flow

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There are so many different ways to access Flow. Here I talk through how to chose activities, and how to add Flow elements to what you already do

What type of activity?  

  • In flow the experience of the activity is intrinsically rewarding - i.e. no bribery required for the 3 year old! And as adults, what would you do for work if you had all the money in the world?? The answer will give us clues about what get us into a state of Flow. 
  • You need a sense of personal control over the situation or activity - you're not passively watching or scrolling. It forces us to be creative or active in some way. This is also a great way to have ‘active rest’ outside work. Sports and creative pursuits naturally have these characteristics. 
  • The activity provides immediate feedback. Skiing is an example for me - I find myself so absorbed and mindful - every bump and how you move with it will produce a sensation - which you then have to respond to. 
  • Sensorial experiences - 3-6s are  need to use as many of their senses as possible. This is why the kitchen is one of the best sources of Flow - mixing, making bread, spreading, chopping. This extends to us as adults, things like gardening, art , cooking, and physical activities quickly absorb our senses, quieten our minds and get us into flow.
  • Feeling that you can succeed. For kids this means varying the challenge to make sure it is not boring on one extreme, or overwhelming on the other. The same goes for us at work. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the goal or project, you won’t be able to get into flow, you’ll just be stressed. You probably haven’t chunked it down enough. And what about the people you manage - are they bored or are they overwhelmed? This means the challenge needs to be chunked differently so that they can be energised and motivated instead!

Creating the conditions 

Does your lifestyle allow enough unstructured time? Or is there too much rushing around?  Do you and your children have long enough to get completely lost in activities? And at work, are people forced to be in noisy open plans all the time or are there spaces they can escape to or work from home to experience deep concentration? 

I'd love you to jot down one thing you can do to experience flow this week - it could be at work or at home.

Maya Gudka, Executive Coach, London Business School

Executive Coach & Facilitator; Positive Psychology Practitioner & Researcher; , YourPlate; London Business School

I use evidence-based Positive Psychology approaches, as well as years of Economics Consulting experience to access the right level of breadth and depth for each client on their personal and professional journey. I am one half of YourPlate, which uses strengths and personality based approaches to make lasting shifts in Nutrition and Health behaviours, with a fortnightly podcast where Nutrition meets Positive Psychology. I coach and facilitate on Leadership Programmes for London Business School Executives and am currently researching Leader Development.