Do you have some activity or task, that when you start doing it, you get into such a zone that hours can fly by without you noticing it? That’s a flow activity. But how can you utilize these to live a better life and reach your goals?
Flow activities are really awesome in a way because once you find them you can, by just forcing yourself to do them, get a lot of stuff done without much effort as it will just “flow” out of you.
“Unless one learns to use his time effectively, more leisure time does not improve life quality” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
So what is a flow activity?
Anything really! It can be anything you do as a hobby that you get lost in when you do it.
One common thing for flow activities is that you become very concentrated on a task and it might even be hard for others to disturb you because you are so lazer-focused on the task you are doing.
When I’m writing my blog posts I get into a zone and can easily crank out a post like this in about an hour without even noticing how little or much time I’m spending.. It just “flows” out of me.
Another task where I kind of get into a flow state is when I’m coding something and have a very specific, but complex task at hand. I can sit hours solving problems without minding too much.
Going to the gym is also a real nice experience for me and I usually spend one and a half hour at the gym when I go there. Some say this is long, some say this is short. I don’t mind.
There is an awesome book called Flow (AMZN) by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (try saying that name fast), where he explains about how people should spend their free time doing these kind of tasks and why it is so important to the happiness of people.
Flow activities and initial investment
One thing with the Flow activities is that they usually require an initial investment for you to put in before they become enjoyable and you get into that flow state.
You won’t just go and do something because it is a flow activity. You have to push yourself to get started and then, before you know it, you’ve spent several hours doing it.
So even though you might enjoy practicing something once you’ve gotten started it still requires that you get started, which can be a big hurdle for some people. Some might think that it will take too long to get started and that they only have a 1 hour window free for that activity.
That doesn’t matter! If you have a window of time use it and you will definitely get more stuff done in that time than if you don’t do anything worthwhile.
Read also: What are you doing on your down time?
If you’d like to watch a TEDTalk from Mihaly you can do so below, but be warned that the talk is a bit slow.. Maybe he’s in flow? 😉