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Flow State

Updated: Mar 17

a black and white illustration of a woman on a stripey slide

The Good Old Days of Concentration

I started to think about my school days. I would get home, dig out all of my art materials, make a huge mess on the floor, working away whilst scrunched up in a ball until I couldn’t feel my legs. I’d be up late working on something that I was 100% immersed in. I’d loose all sense of time, not even consider any basic needs (like sitting comfortably) and I’d be lost in my own world. I was hooked and couldn’t get enough of it!

Why do I find it so difficult to achieve this state now?

This set me off on a mission to look at lengthening my attention span, questioning social media addictions and digital distractions. This led me to find out that the state of focus I was looking for is actually known as Flow State.

A Bit More Research into it

Named by psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi in the1970s and set out into three simple rules by Johan Hari in his book Stolen Focus, I felt like I had more of an understanding of this mystical state.

Hari explains that our task needs to be:

- Something meaningful to us

- Stretching our abilities

- Have A Clear Goal

Starting with outlining the task, removing distraction and as many friction points as possible and then... Go!

Having faith that your idea will work and then just working on it, no shame or input from anyone else.

Applying this to the studio

I've cut out distractions, set my studio up to be more flow-friendly and consider Hari's 3 rules before I set out my task. Flow state is happening in the studio again!

What projects do you get lost in?

If you have a friend who might enjoy this kind of discussion, feel free to share this with them or if you have any thoughts on this subject please do leave a comment or drop me an email. To keep up with the latest blog posts, join my monthly round up here.


Interesting reads:

Edited extract from Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention by Johann Hari, published by Bloomsbury. The Guardian

Stolen Focus book by Johan Hari

How To Do Nothing: Resisting The Attention Economy book by Jenny Odell

Losing Yourself in Flow State TED talk by Diane Allen

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