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Beyond Performance – 7 Steps To Enter Flow State Now

Written by: Jeffrey Watts, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Have you ever found yourself so immersed in a task that you completely lose track of time?

Business man looking at his watch

You look up from your task to discover that hours have passed in what seems like just a matter of moments.


Your focus was so intense that the world around you faded away and all that mattered was the task in front of you.


… And you absolutely crushed the task you were working on.


Because you were so focused:

  • Your productivity skyrocketed. You were focused on one thing and only one thing for a long period of time. Because your focus was so intense, you made massive progress on that task – much more than you would normally make. Nothing took you away from what you were working on.

  • Your concentration increased. Normally you find yourself distracted when you’re trying to work on a particular task, but not this time. You were so “in the zone” that absolutely nothing could distract you. Your focus was at an all-time high. It seemed like every part of your brain was fixed on the job in front of you.

  • Your enjoyment of the task went through the roof. Because you were so immersed in and focused on your task, your enjoyment of your work went up significantly. You weren’t thinking about the things you would rather be doing. You weren’t worried about the things that normally worry you. Rather, you were 100% laser-focused on what was right in front of you.

How often do you experience what I just described? My guess would be not very often. Most of us find ourselves extremely distracted when we try to do our work. Our phone buzzes, social media beckons, text messages call for us, and a thousand notifications spring to life.


Just getting any work done requires a significant amount of effort. There are so many interruptions. So many distractions. So many things that take you off the task you’re trying to make progress on.


It’s almost as if the world is designed to distract us from working on what really matters most to us, our families and our businesses.

  • Our productivity is low.

  • Our concentration is scattered all over the place.

  • Our satisfaction with our tasks is minimal.

  • We don’t live up to our full potential or achieve maximum impact.

  • We are tired of relying on our grit and willpower.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.


What would you say if I told you that you could reach this state of heightened focus, increased concentration, increased productivity, and overall satisfaction on a regular basis?


What if I told you that massive increases in productivity, concentration, and happiness are not only possible but easily within your reach?


It’s true. Even in today’s noisy, crowded, seemingly overwhelming workplace, you can get into a highly focused, highly productive state.


That state is called “flow state” and it is the ultimate result of implementing high-performance habits in your daily life.


If you want to achieve maximum productivity (what we call BEYOND Performance©), you must understand “flow state.” It’s what sets the highest achievers apart from everyone else. Flow state allows a person to become a world-class performer in any area.


It can enable you to be hugely productive even in the middle of endless distractions.


If you want maximum productivity, as well as maximum satisfaction in your day-to-day tasks, it’s important to know how to get into the heightened state we’re calling “flow state”.


Are you ready to be more productive than you ever thought possible?


Are you ready to start making progress on your biggest, most important projects?


Are you ready to achieve more satisfaction and happiness in the work you do?


If yes, then you are ready to achieve flow!


7 Steps to Enter Your Flow State:


Step No 1. Choose A Challenging Task Worthy of your Attention


Remember, flow state happens when you’re applying yourself to a worthy, challenging task.


You’re probably going to have a difficult time getting into it if you’re working on mundane things such as:

  • Completing paperwork

  • Writing emails

  • Responding to notifications

  • “Busy work” tasks on your to-do list

  • Making phone calls

You need to set a challenging, worthy goal for yourself. A goal that will stretch you and require you to use your skills to the maximum.


"The benefits of flow state are tremendous. It can increase productivity, reduce stress, and enhance creativity, allowing you to reach new heights of performance and enjoyment." – John C. Maxwell

So, your goal with flow state is to make significant contributions. In other words, to achieve something noble and worthy. Something that will make a difference in the world. To achieve this, you must be working on an important, significant task.


When choosing your task/goal, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is my most important task right now?

  • What one thing would make everything else in my life better?

  • What would make the most difference for me personally or professionally?

  • What will move the needle most for my business?

We recommend going small when choosing your goal – as in a small step toward the bigger objective. It is key to break down the stages into sections that can be completed in your allotted “flow time” for the day.


In other words, choosing the ONE Big Thing that will make the most difference or progress when you accomplish it.


If you want to enter flow state, avoid trying to do everything.


Just pick a worthy goal that will stretch you and force you to fully engage with the task. Choose a task that will require your full attention.

Step No.2 Set Clear Goals You can Achieve in a Short Timeframe


When seeking to enter flow state, it’s important to be very specific about exactly what you’re trying to accomplish during a specific period of time – Your ONE BIG THING!


You must set a time limit for yourself and then choose what you’re going to accomplish during that time. When possible, always let this block of time be the first work you do in the morning. Setting boundaries forces you to concentrate very quickly so that you don’t waste time.


For example, let’s say that you want to complete the first section of a sales report that you’ve been putting off because you know it will be hard.


Give yourself one to two hours (or whatever is reasonable) to complete the first section. During that hour, focus intensely on completing your goal. Give all your attention to completing the sales report and avoid letting anything distract you.

  • Avoid email, text messages, and apps like Teams or Slack.

  • Commit yourself fully to completing the first section of the sales report.

  • Don’t let anything keep you from achieving your goal.

Do one thing and only one thing during your period of intense concentration.


You may want to consider using the Pomodoro method to help you enter flow state.


Here’s how the Pomodoro method works:

  • Set a timer for 30 minutes and work intensely (no distractions!) for that 30-minute period.

  • After 30 minutes, take a 5-minute break to let your brain rest. During those five minutes, stand up, move, walk outside if you can, take 10 cleansing breaths and drink 10 ounces of water

  • Then do another 30-minute session, followed by another 5-minute break.

  • After three or four 30-minute sessions, you are done! Your most important tasks have made major progress and you can deal with the other leadership issues that only you can handle for the rest of the day.

  • Repeat the process the next day.

By using the Pomodoro method, you force yourself to focus intensely for 30 minutes with no distractions.


Our favorite Pomodoro timer (plus many other great features) is Momentum Dash. It becomes your browsers homepage and keeps the time front and center! Use this referral link to get 10% off your subscription or use the code “beyond expert” at checkout.


This allows you (even forces you) to enter flow state much more easily.


You don’t have the option of messing around on your phone or checking email. To accomplish your goal during the 30-minute sessions, you must ruthlessly focus.


The result is flow state.


It’s important to note that you need to give yourself enough time to get into a flow state. For example, if you must pick up your kids in 15 minutes from school, that’s not enough time to fully immerse yourself in your task.


Ideally, give yourself at least 30 minutes – more when possible. Your brain won’t immediately snap into flow state the second you start. It takes some time for you to focus and tune out distractions.


The key is to break down your big tasks into “bite-size pieces” that can be completed in these blocks of time. In other words, look at your quarterly goals, monthly goals, weekly goals down to your daily goals and then get those tasks done – IN FLOW.

Step No.3 Eliminate All Distractions


This is absolutely critical. If you’re going to enter flow state, you must eliminate all your distractions.


“You’ll never achieve flow if you’re distracted. Your brain just can’t handle it. Certainly, there are circumstances in which distractions are unavoidable. But most of the time, you can work to minimize or eliminate distractions.” Ransom Patterson

Try these steps to eliminate distractions to focus on your One Big Thing:

  • If you’re hungry, get something to eat, so you won’t be thinking about how hungry you are.

  • Put your phone on silent or even airplane mode.

  • Close your email, as well as all chat programs like Teams or Slack.

  • Close all unnecessary tabs on your browser, especially distracting ones such as social media.

  • Close your door. Consider putting on headphones and listening to background music that won’t distract you.

If you take all these steps and still find yourself getting distracted, you may need to take even more extreme measures.

  • You may need to actively block social media sites using site blocking software. Apps like RescueTime won’t allow you to use specified sites (like Facebook) once you activate the app. If you try to go to the site, it simply won’t work. This can be a huge help if you find yourself still distracted by sites like Facebook or Instagram.

  • Understand the extreme costs of Distraction. People often avoid using discipline to overcome distractions…easily being tempted by this little conversation or task. Don’t be fooled. It could cost you your life, fulfillment, and impact. Watch this 7-minute video by my friend and fellow high-performance coach, Brendon Burchard: The Stunning Costs of Distraction


Your goal is to clear away anything that might distract you from the task at hand.


Remember, your goal is to give 100% of your attention to a single task. If anything cuts into that attention, it needs to be completely eliminated. Be extremely vigilant about this.

Step No.4 Stop Multitasking – Focus on One Thing


Flow state only happens when you’re working on a single task. If you want to enter flow state, it’s absolutely essential that you eliminate all multitasking.


It can be tempting to try to work on multiple things at once but doing so will absolutely kill your flow. You must give all your focus, drive, and energy to one thing. You must become so immersed in one thing that all other things fade away.


This simply can’t happen if you’re simultaneously trying to work on a sales report, talk to coworkers on Slack, respond to emails, and text your spouse about dinner.


There will be time to do all those other things, but for now, set them aside and work on the worthy goal that you’ve chosen. Avoid believing the lie that multitasking is more productive because it’s not.


And really, why would we want to multitask when we’re trying to get our most important work done?


In the book, The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, Gary Keller states:


“Why would we ever tolerate multitasking when we’re doing our most important work? Just because our day job doesn’t involve bypass surgery shouldn’t make focus any less critical to our success or the success of others. Your work deserves no less respect.”


Do you respect the work you’re doing? Do you want to do it with the excellence that inevitably comes from being in a flow state?


Then stop multitasking.


Each time you switch tasks, it requires energy from your brain – energy that could have been devoted to accomplishing something truly magnificent.


You know that each time you switch tasks, it requires time to re-engage and re-focus. In fact, it has been estimated that one interruption can cost you up to 28 minutes of productivity! Consider how many times you are interrupted per day, and it’s no wonder that you struggle to get the important tasks completed.

Step No.5 Strengthen Your Concentration / Focus


"Flow state is the ultimate form of human performance. It is when you are so focused on the task at hand that everything else fades away and you are just in the 'zone.'" – Steven Kotler

If you want to enter flow state, you absolutely must be able to concentrate fully. If your concentration is wandering, you’ll find it difficult to give 100% of yourself to what’s in front of you.


So how can you ensure that you have laser-beam focus? One of the primary ways is to ensure that you get enough sleep.


These days, some people act like it’s a badge of honor to survive on just a little sleep. They brag about how they’re going to sleep when they’re dead. This is foolish.


High performers know that sleep is absolutely essential to peak performance, and they ensure that they get enough sleep every night to fully recover. They go to bed at a reasonable hour and ensure that they have good sleep habits.


If restful sleep is eluding you, then get a great monitoring device to track your sleep cycles and habits. The very best one on the market, backed by great research, is the Oura Ring. We have used it for years and it will give you recommendations based on your own data, to get your best night’s sleep.


If you need an extra jolt of concentration during the day, consider drinking a cup of coffee or tea a short time before you seek to enter flow state. Caffeine can aid your brain in concentration. Just be careful that you don’t rely too heavily on caffeine, or you’ll find your energy levels crashing when you don’t have enough caffeine in your system.


It is common knowledge that exercise has many benefits – especially given our sedentary modern lifestyles. Get outside, move, get your heart pumping, and breathe deeply. It will deepen your sleep.


Lastly, pay attention to drinking alcohol or eating too late. Timing is key. Keep track in your daily journal of what time you finish eating and drinking each night and compare your level of sleep on various days. You will be surprised at what you discover and specific actions to take to get more restful sleep.

Step No.6 Track Your Emotional State


If you still find it difficult to enter flow state, take a step back and look at your emotions. Are you feeling angry? Frustrated? Worried? Overwhelmed?


If this is the case, you may need to do some work to calm down first before you try to enter flow state. After all, it’s very difficult to concentrate if you’re feeling extremely angry.


At times, your emotional state will govern if you can enter flow state. Keep a close watch on your emotions as you seek to get in the flow.


Step No.7 Create A “Flow Ritual”


One thing that can be extremely helpful when seeking to enter flow state is creating a ritual or series of actions that you perform every single time when you’re seeking to enter your flow state. When you begin this series of actions, it’s a sign to your body that it’s time to enter flow state.


The ritual is a trigger – an indicator to your body and brain that something important is about to happen. Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) has proven the power to change your life with triggers. Instead of “being triggered”, intentionally install new triggers that work to support you and your greatness.


The more you perform the ritual, the more your body interprets it as a sign to enter flow state and the easier it is to get into flow state.


For example, your ritual might look like this:

  • Drink 10 ounces of water.

  • Take 10 deep, cleansing breaths.

  • Say a brief productivity affirmation.

  • Close your door (and put out a “Do Not Disturb” sign if necessary).

  • Close your email and instant messaging.

  • Turn your phone on airplane mode.

  • Mute all notifications on chat applications and social media.

  • Put on your headphones.

  • Take 10 more deep, cleansing breaths and

  • Begin.

Each time you want to enter flow state, follow this exact series of steps. In doing so, you’re training both your body and your brain. Every time you follow these steps, your body picks up on them and realizes that you’re preparing to enter flow state.


This, in turn, makes it easier for you to get into a state of optimal focus and productivity.


Are You Ready To Flow?


Being in your Flow State will:

  • Significantly increases the quality of your life.

  • Cause your productivity to skyrocket!

  • Allow you to make meaningful progress on your most important tasks.

  • Stretch you and help you reach your full potential and impact.

  • Increase your levels of focus and concentration.

  • Help you achieve your biggest goals faster.

The question now is if you will do the work necessary to get into a flow state on a regular basis.


It does require work. You must be completely dedicated to the task in front of you. There’s no room for distractions. No room for a wandering mind. No room for other thoughts or worries.


You may need to take extreme measures, such as:

  • Physically cut yourself off from social media sites.

  • Use specific types of music to drown out sound.

  • Avoid conversations that you would normally participate in.

  • Isolate yourself physically.

There’s a time for distractions, conversations, emails, messages, and all the other things that come up during the day. But each day, you should have at least some time set aside to work in flow state. This is what we call your “One Big Thing” time.


It’s not easy to carve out this time for yourself, but it’s worth it.


You’ll reach goals you never thought possible. You’ll find yourself developing new skills and honing your existing ones. Your enjoyment of your job will significantly increase. And you’ll make progress on the things that are most important to you.


So don’t wait for flow to come to you. If you wait for it to come to you, it won’t.


Flow comes from within. You must create it. It’s up to you.


If you are ready to engage at the highest levels to discover what you are truly capable of achieving, then go to www.BeyondCall.Biz to complete a short application to see if you qualify for a complementary 1-on-1 Strategy Call with Jeffrey Watts-The Catalyst.



On this call, you will discuss your current challenges and get the insight you need to see if Jeffrey is the right executive coach to take your success above and BEYOND




Follow me on LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


 

Jeffrey Watts, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Jeffrey H. Watts is the founder of Beyond Performance, an elite business growth advisory and executive coaching firm. With over 25 years of real-world business experience, Jeffrey has guided hundreds of businesses to exceed their growth goals through innovative strategies, team optimization and energized executive leadership. As a Certified High-Performance Coach, he specializes in assisting business owners and founders to utilize their God-given talents to turn their high potential into high performance, without sacrificing their relationships or well-being. His passion: Have leaders experience fulfillment, aliveness and deep connections through their meaningful pursuits.

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