Question: What do you need to create flow?

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Flow is the state when all systems are go and you just do and forget about time. It’s when you feel completely involved and concentrated on whatever you are doing. Even if the task involves a strong challenge, you feel that you are able to meet it. You’re in control, yet not pushing anything. And you feel happy and whole and at peace.

It’s a term developed by a pschologist whose name I can’t spell or pronounce: Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi. (I remember the name this way: “Mick: ‘High chick sent Mick high!'” I’m not the only person who has trouble with his name.

These days I’m working against the clock and around the clock, like many of us at this time of year. But sometimes flow kicks in. Do you experience flow in your working life? Do you have any tips on how to get into flow?

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9 Responses

  1. My trick, shutting down all the miscellaneous windows on the computer, jamming some serious heavy hip-hop on the computer, and then losing myself in the task.

    😉 Karenne

  2. Hi, I don’t know how to get into flow although I am often in it. Thank you for the tip.
    BUt I definitely know how to pronounce Mihály Csíkszentmihályi:

  3. Dear Anne

    I normally multitask in whatever I do and create ‘ flow’ if it can be called that way. Is flow created only if you are engrossed in one thing?
    I need others ‘around me’ or at least with me in thoughts’ to kindle my spirit and overflow their own good energy as well on to me like in a theory of two waves of the same strength or ‘amplitude’ which only can create synergy.

    Belgrade, Serbia

  4. @Karenne: Hiphop! Ok, great. BTW, I’ve asked Santa if he could please give you a second twitter account for @kalingoenglish, my favorite typo. Lots of tweets there, I’m sure. Where does @kalinagoenglish come from?

    @Barbara: That’s good. For me, when I’m under pressure and thin gs are not flowing, I really have to step on the brakes, so I sort of do have to know where they are.
    Did I pronounce his name right, then? I suppose not… I’m not sure whether “h” is a “k” or a “h” sound. Can you correct me?

    @Natasha: I suppose you could be multitasking and very connected with people and be in flow. Flow refers to your energy flow, something that feels very good and is equally productive. But not hectic.

  5. Like Barbara, I’ve no idea how to get into the flow, though what I do know is that for me, being in a relaxed mood seems to be the key to getting there.

    Loud music used to be the soundtrack to my flow, but these days its more likely to be chillout music or Mozart.

  6. I think it is called working temperature in engineering. Yes, right you are. I don’t like hectic rhythm either. It is couterproductive and detrimental to one’s health since then one is accident prone. But so many employers consider as a good quality that one is able to work under stress and pressure. Is it really?

    Belgrade, Serbia

  7. Hi everybody,
    Flow: well, I think a lot depends on one’s age and of course frame of mind.
    There were times when I couldn’t get going – flowing – without always having something blaring away in the background – the radio, a record, a casette or even the telly!
    Nowadays, many moons later, I enjoy peace and quiet – just quiet.
    But, then again I’ve become more attached to my pc, blogs, UTube etc. and the combination of these gives me my flow.
    For me, the world has become a different place with new havens.

  8. Thanks for your comments so far! Thinking them through, I remembered something:

    When I was at college I read a wonderful book on the history of women’s health by the German historian Barbara Duden “Geschichte unter der Haut” (History under my skin). She’d found the diary of a country doctor from Eisenach dating from the early 18th century who treated women. His journal documented that the women of that time and place had a concept of “circulation” that was very clearly pre-modern. It had nothing to do with what we think of as our circulatory system, specifically William Harvey’s discovery of blood circulation. Women would go to the doctor and complain that their “flow” (Fluß) had stopped. They were talking all sorts of flow there, it wasn’t menstrual flow, and not just “liquid”. Duden in fact found that the feeling of being unwell came quite close to the energy the Asians know as “chi”, something those of you who do yoga probably know well.
    For me, being “in flow” is connected to that feeling of being well, when you feel the energy flowing through you, and you can enjoy it and give it back in the shape of being productive and/or supportive.

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