Working from home means constantly avoiding distractions and temptations. You are surrounded by all your own things and offer unlimited possibilities to deviate from the task. For many of us, this leads to a situation where we don't get much done. Unless you count catching Pokemon …
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But imagine if there was a way to take out that distraction and get a state of hyper focus that would make you can burn through tasks like Bradley Cooper in Limitless .
Well, there is, and you've probably experienced it before: it's called a flow state . Here's how to get into a power state when working from home so you can really optimize your time.
What is a power condition?
Flow states were first described by the psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, who observed them all over the city. a wide variety of disciplines and even sports.
The term describes a state of extreme focus, which is accompanied by changes in the brain. Specifically, the individual experiences something known as & # 39; transient hypofrontality & # 39 ;. That fancy term means that they experience a decrease in blood flow to the cerebral cortex, which is accompanied by a decrease in activity in the region.
Why is this a positive thing? Because while we associate the cerebral cortex with higher-level thinking and planning, it is also responsible for such things as fear and our inner critic.
In other words, if you find yourself thinking things like "I need to check Facebook to see what Jeff said about my photo" or "I'm not sure I do this right, I just have to stop, "then it comes from your prefrontal cortex.
What we're looking for is the kind of intense focus on just one task you experience when you go to the movies. You have to be so intensely focused on what you do that you don't even have any other thoughts.
Here you lose track of time and tasks become almost meditative. At this point, the real work is being done, and it is often the most insightful and useful.
It is at this point that the real work is done.
There are subtle differences, however different brain regions play here, depending on the type of activity. The point is, however, that at some point the brain is & # 39; locked in & # 39; gets into whatever you do and you can do 10x as much work. Most people have experienced this at
Now the next question is: how do you get into a power state?
The first thing to understand is that power states require a period of steady, focused work. By definition, a flow condition requires that you focus on on only one thing so anything that breaks your concentration or forces you to switch tasks will bring you back to reality.
Estimates suggest that it takes about 30 minutes to get into a power state, and in my experience that's about right. This means that you should avoid distracting emails or notifications for at least that long.
Flow statuses require a period of steady, focused work.
It also means fighting the temptation to open Facebook, or otherwise go to another task. An excellent video from BetterIdeas explains how this often seems more difficult at some point: almost like hitting the wall during a marathon run.
The key must be determined enough to pass through that barrier. and yet stay focused. It may be boring now, but eventually you reach a point where everything else fades. Just knowing that can be enough to help you enjoy much higher productivity.
Getting the dopamine hit
The other problem is making sure that the work you do is challenging without being demoralizing, and that it is inherently engaging and interesting for you.
When you play a computer game, it is very easy to completely forget everything else you are doing. Computer games are perfect to actually create flow states!
There are a few reasons for this.
The first is that action-packed computer games are constantly new and ideally cool. We find it easy to play computer games because we love to play computer games!
The other reason is that computer games have a feedback loop with many rewards. If you do something right, you will hear a pleasant sound or see explosions all over the screen. This triggers reward centers in the brain, releasing large amounts of dopamine (which is the brain's motivational hormone).
Finally, computer games are at the perfect level of difficulty: just hard enough to take on an exciting challenge, but never so grim that it completely destroys your motivation.
How to fix your boring job
Now compare this to your work: often it is extremely boring and repetitive (certainly not cool), there is no continuous reward and the difficulty level is often extremely low with occasional peaks.
This is also why certain tasks are much easier to focus than others during a working day. Personally, I find video editing extremely addictive while writing articles on topics I'm not interested in can be a real grind. That's because video editing is often more creative, but also because it includes an instant feedback loop. The same goes for programming.
So if you want to know how to get in flow, you should do the following:
- Ideally choose tasks that are inherently engaging
- If that is not an option, try to make the task interesting or find something about what you can do with
- Set shorter goals so that you have multiple smaller 'wins' throughout the day' Achieve
- Keep track of your work so you can see progress  Ask for more responsibility if your work is too easy
- Or make it more difficult by enlarging your own sandards
However, as with all things it is a matter of practice and time to learn how to get into flow states. Keep going, and in the end you will find it easier and easier to achieve maximum focus!
What do you think? How do you get into a productive flow state?