Find Balance in Everyday ActivitiesJan 29, 2024
It’s not unusual to find the grind of everyday life exhausting and dispiriting. We’d all like to find practical ways to balance a joyful existence while still attending to the necessary day-to-day work and family tasks. Fortunately, this needn’t just be wishful thinking. More people are recognizing how tapping into the flow state can help them be more positive and productive.
So, what is the flow state? Well, if you’ve ever been so joyfully absorbed by an activity that you lost a sense of the passage of time, you likely tapped into the flow. It’s not a new concept by any means, with psychologists first studying the concept in the 1980s. You might also know it by another title, such as being “in the zone.” But in essence, you tend to gain greater focus on your activities, experience more control over your tasks, and — importantly — get great joy and even peace out of doing so.
It’s a beautiful concept and one well worth striving toward. While it’s a very individual experience, there are some actions you can take that put yourself in the position to achieve the flow state in your everyday activities. Let’s explore a few of them.
Achieving a flow state in your everyday activities can be quite challenging. Perhaps the most difficult aspect is the potential for external influences to disrupt your state of mind. Not only can this be a frustrating derailment when you’ve tapped into a positive way of being, but disruptions mean you have to start the process over again. Therefore, as much as possible, you should put some effort into minimizing potential distractions around your activities.
Choose the right environment
Environment is so important to achieving the flow state. Naturally, different people find different spaces conducive to their flow. Nevertheless, aim to perform your tasks in a place where you’re less likely to be interrupted. This might involve making a soundproofed space where you’re not going to be annoyed by the noise of traffic. It could simply be a spare room in your house where you can step away from the hustle and bustle of family activities, one that features a positive energy flow.
Declutter your space
Believe it or not, the objects you surround yourself with can impact your ability to maintain your flow space. In particular, the chaos of being surrounded by a lot of unnecessary clutter can be very distracting. Regularly take the time to declutter your space. Identify unwanted items that you can donate to good causes, which is both environmentally friendly and gives your objects a second lease of life. Not to mention that you’re contributing to your community in positive ways. Alongside this, spend a moment at the beginning and end of each day simply organizing your space.
You can’t expect others not to disturb you if they don’t know you’re trying to free yourself of distractions. Therefore, it’s important to clearly communicate to others your need for privacy. This doesn’t mean you have to spend your whole day in isolation. You can identify periods of each day you want to optimize with your flow state. Let clients, family members, and colleagues know you’re only available in the event of emergencies during these times. This gives you the space to focus.
Setting Clear Goals
A truly joyful flow state doesn’t tend to come from aimless activity. Rather, one of the key recognized tenets of achieving the state is to have clear goals you want to meet. This is because research has shown that the flow state is associated with activity in the brain related to feeling rewarded and the pursuit of achievements. The enormous sense of well-being you get from completing a component of a task can put you into a positive frame of mind that drives you to further achievement.
So, what should you be doing?
- Identify simple and achievable goals: At the beginning of each day or task, take a little time to establish what your goals are. These shouldn’t be ambiguous or complex. They can be challenging, but ultimately achievable. You can even divide larger tasks into smaller individual goals. The aim is to get that positive boost from every goal you meet and move on to the next one.
- Seek sources of feedback: There should be a clear way to see that you’ve achieved each goal. Certainly, in the simplest circumstances, there will be an obvious finish line for the task. However, you can seek other sources of feedback to show you’ve achieved your goal, such as confirmation from clients or colleagues. Another form of unambiguous feedback can be that your achievement of the task unlocks your ability to take the next step in an activity.
There will, of course, be times when you need to perform tasks that don’t have that obvious sense of instant gratification upon completion. Nevertheless, it can benefit you to dig deep for the potential signs of achievements that you hit along the way. This might be something as simple as utilizing a skill or maintaining control over your activities.
Making Engaging Career Choices
Many people want to achieve the flow state in their work environment. It’s not difficult to see why getting a high sense of positivity from your job and losing track of time might be an attractive prospect. In many jobs, you can certainly adopt some of the steps we’ve already outlined. That said, you may be more likely to achieve a regular flow state at work if you choose a career you find engaging.
It’s not unusual to be put off due to the perception that enjoyable jobs pay less. This isn’t always necessarily the case. For instance, there are careers that those with adventurous personalities can pursue that are relatively high-paying. Wildlife biologists, electrical powerline installers, and travel nurses all have solid median salaries while offering the potential for varied and fascinating experiences.
If you don’t have a specific career in mind, think about the types of activities you’re most interested in. Look at your hobbies, as these can be great indicators of what tasks keep you mentally and emotionally engaged. You can then research jobs that involve similar types of skill sets and subject focuses. In essence, you’re looking for careers that give you the baseline engagement upon which to build your habit of achieving the flow state.
The flow state is a superpower well worth mastering. Like any peak mental and physical state, it takes some practice, planning, and optimization to achieve. Remember, too, that you’ll need to tailor your approach to your specific needs and goals. Indeed, you may find that your route to achieving the flow will be different depending on the activities you want to pair it with.
Be observant. Look out for elements to positively influence your efforts and what tends to disrupt it. This sets you on your deeply personal path to having a balanced and joyful experience.