Did you know that creating a routine can help you get into a flow state of mind whenever you want?
Getting into flow is challenging for most people because they experience it spontaneously, and it’s seen as somewhat of a fluke occurrence that can’t be replicated on-demand.
The good news is, getting into flow state can be triggered.
Though it’s not as easy as an on-off switch, you can get pretty darn close by establishing a routine that reminds you of the exhilarating feeling of getting into a zen-like state where you’re crushing whatever you’re working on.
It’s the closest thing to being superhuman that I’ve ever felt.
From experience, I know the triggers and routines can be learned and personalized, so here are the steps you’ll need to take to figure out exactly:
- What gets you into flow
- What steps need to be in your flow state routine
- How to trigger flow whenever you want
If you haven’t already, download your Flow State Canvas so you can fill out the “Routine” box as you read.
1. Recall a Time When You Were in a Flow State of Mind
Think of a time when you were in flow, and time felt frozen. It could be a moment as simple as having fun with your kids, swimming in the ocean, or hanging out with a friend. Whatever that moment is, capture it, and write down the basic steps of what you were doing that led to getting into flow and what you were doing while in flow.
2. Create a Flow State Routine Around That Specific Moment
Take that recalled flow state and repeat the steps you took to get back into flow. The more frequently you can take these steps, the more you’re ingraining the full routine to get into flow.
For example, say you recalled a flow state where you were playing Legos with your kids. Before that, maybe you took a shower, listened to music, meditated, and exercised all before you started playing Legos.
Every day for a couple weeks, take those same steps as your routine to get into flow. The goal right now is to create a long routine to keep getting into flow state.
3. Slowly Condense Your Routine
Stack up all the steps you must take before you start your grind, and before you know it, your routine takes an hour so that you can get into the zone.
You need to be able to trigger flow in a few minutes to maximize its impact on your life.
The key to doing this is to slowly shed bits of your routine that you require to get into a flow, boiling it down to a single action or item that takes you less than a minute to trigger your flow state.
This will take time because you want to make the changes so subtly that your body doesn’t notice and still gets you into flow.
I like to incorporate physical reminders into my long routine to trigger flow when I need it. For example, I carried a spray bottle of rose water with me to Costa Rica when I wrote my book in flow state.
When I started to shrink my routine, I kept the spritz of rose water to my face. I spray it, and now, I’m instantly energized and in the zone.
Action Item: Fill out “Flow State Routine” on the canvas. What moment can you turn into a daily routine, and how will you start to condense the routine slowly?
4. Block Out a Concentrated Time in The Day
Set a specific time of day to be in flow state. If you have control over your calendar, blocking off the first 60-90 minutes of your day to work in flow will yield a day’s worth of productivity.
However, I want to be clear that the idea of working in a specific time doesn’t mean only working on a single task.
You can shift to different things while in the zone, and if those things are too boring or easy, then you need to stretch a little bit harder to identify ways you can learn about your business so you can make marginal improvements.
5. Start With The Most Critical Task
Gary Keller, in The ONE Thing, emphasizes the power of simplifying and optimizing your workload by focusing on the most critical task first in the day.
I encourage you to use your flow state and apply it to the one thing that is so important that if you knocked it out first in your flow state, it would pay you dividends for the rest of the day or week.
6. Make Time For Recovery and Release
The flow cycle has three components:
Recovery is the process of giving yourself the space to practice mental, emotional, and physical wellness so you can maximize your concentration and flow state.
Look at it like this; every workout regimen includes a successful recovery time to allow the body and mind to recoup. It’s the same with flow state, and it’s vital you honor your recovery and make the time in your routine for:
- Nutrition and hydration
- Sleep: 7 hours minimum
- Social support: family, friends, and community
And one of the following:
- Practice Gratitude: 5 minutes a day
- Meditation and breathing exercises: 11 minutes a day
- Exercise: 20 to 40 minutes a day
On the other hand, a release is a brief break during your flow state. You know, the point where you feel like you need a quick break to stretch, rest your eyes, or re-energize with a quick bite to eat and drink.
Schedule in ten or fifteen minute breaks to help you release the workload or struggle from being in the flow. The release will help you trigger alpha waves to rest your brain momentarily, stimulate creative thinking, and help you re-trigger a flow state without feeling zapped.
Get Into and Stay in Flow Longer
I’ve broken down all nine components in my article, “Flow State Canvas: The One Page Plan to Get into the Flow,” and if you haven’t checked it out, I highly recommend downloading the canvas and answering the short prompts as you read.
Related: Free Flow State Canvas