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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My secret to flow and a productive day

As I start my day, I have this routine I do. I review all the loose threads that I have in my mind, and write them down (a mindmap, usually). After I write them down I quickly evaluate what are the most important goals for the day. Then I write those goals on a post-it that I carry with me all day.

This piece of paper is my ticket to "flow".

This piece of paper is my ticket to "flow". Flow, is a semi-mythical state of mind that allows us to do our best work and achieve our goals in a state that some would call "happiness". I call this a "semi-mythical state of mind", because in today's fast-paced, interruption rich world that state is very elusive. Actually, according to some it is impossible to reach unless we have large chunks of uninterrupted time. I have a different experience.

I don't worry my brain with decisions on what to do during the day, I do that in the morning when I plan my day.

My secret to "flow" is not that I get a lot of uninterrupted time. That is impossible for me. The secret to "flow" in my line of work is that I have externalized the order and type of work that I need to do for that day. I don't worry my brain with decisions on what to do during the day, I do that in the morning when I plan my day. Once I have externalized the list of objectives to achieve, my brain can focus on how to achieve those goals and complete those tasks. Simple and effective - for me.

After that, my whole day is in the "flow". No matter how many interruptions I get (meetings, managers, colleagues, etc.), I always know what to do next. That allows me to be in the flow for the whole day, even when I'm interrupted.

How about you? How do you ensure that you achieve "flow" every day at work?

Photo credit: Dustin Diaz @ Flickr

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  • I've used the same thing, especially when work seems a bit chaotic, but in a different phase and for a different purpose. That is, I do the same thing as the Last task of the day, in order not to stress about work at home (or during the night).

    As to the (semi)flow, I do believe in it, although I think I still need some uninterrupted amount of time to reach it. But even more than that, I need the feeling of autonomy, confidence, safety, and enjoyment. Not an easy combination to achieve..

    By Blogger Anssi Lehtelä, at December 22, 2013 3:42 PM  

  • I use mostly same approach to attention management during working day.

    In addition I strictrly control any infromation I consume during and before working hours. So any irrelevant internet activity, book reading, etc is prohibited. It helps a lot staying focused.

    By Blogger Алексей, at December 29, 2013 8:42 PM  

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