Where do you get your best ideas?
How do you find the time to work on them?
Is there a place you go to find your Flow?
Flow is Happiness
Getting in the flow is a good thing and something everyone should strive for as often as possible. Life will always intervene. However, it is important to find that time where you can tap your brain and maximize your creativity.
Flow is defined as the most productive and creative state of mind in which to work. Psychologist Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Ph.D. claims that achieving the flow state on a regular basis is a key component of happiness.
Maximizing your Creative Brain Time
There is no set place or time for all the creativity in the world to settle down. And this is a good thing. Everyone is a little different in the way they get their best and most creative work done.
- For some people it’s early in the morning when it’s still dark out and the birds are just beginning to chirp.
- For others it is only after that first all important cup of coffee or other preferred beverage of choice.
- And, of course, there are night owls who can crank out ideas until the wee hours.
If you are like most people it’s probably not when you’re in a crowded room.
However, in my case, I do come up with ideas while I’m in a crowded room but I don’t always have time to act on them.
Which brings us to the question: Where do you get in the Flow?
For me I find a few places where I can get into the flow. Some may seem a little odd, but they work for me. When I’m out on my mtn bike and cruising along I get some of my best thinking done. The same is true when I’m on my Stand Up Paddle (SUP) board. Where the rhythm of paddling and the calmness of the water can put me in the Flow Zone very quickly.
In fact, when I need to think I’ll often make the time to get on my bike or SUP. I always come back refreshed and with a new perspective.
There are also what I call The Last Three Bastions. To me these are the last three places where creative and free thinking can take place. I’d like to get your thoughts on these in the comments. Do these work for you? If not these three, then what?
The Last Three Bastions of Creative Thinking
It’s not so much the location as it is the distractions … or lack thereof.
- Airplane Seat
To me these are the last three bastions of creative thinking. There is no one to bother you … at least for the time you are there. Sure, there are interruptions at times in all three. However, these three still my holdouts for the last three bastions.
- Have you ever stayed in the shower just a little while longer so you could finish your thought?
- Do you look forward to that time when you are … well, indisposed … because you know you’ll have a moment to yourself?
- Can you tune everything out so that you can tune-in while you are in an airplane seat?
For me the answer is yes. For a few people I spoke to before writing this the answer was also a firm yes. Several people I spoke to said that exercise is there way to get into their flow. Whether it’s running outdoors or on a treadmill they found their flow in the efforts of exercise.
Where do you get in the Flow?
I think we all want and seek ways to get in the flow as often as possible. I’ve mentioned a few examples here both from my own efforts and from people I spoke to about the idea of flow.
There is no wrong way to get into Your Flow. It’s yours after all.
My Tools, Techniques and Timing
Your mileage may vary. And, in fact, your mileage WILL vary. For me I use a few tools to help me when I can get in the flow. One is just the simple act of “writing” it down. In my case I write it down in Microsoft OneNote. This is true whether I’m on my phone, tablet or PC. It works across all devices and is indexed for future use. I use tags to help me quickly find something. Sure, the whole notebook is indexed, but I might write or capture a lot of content on a topic.
For example, for the posts I write for this publication … the Personal Branding Blog, all of my notes start with PBBlog. I have a section in my OneNote notebooks for PPBlog posts – where they are generally just ideas and research about a topic.
I use OneNote to capture my ideas or at least the gist of them and a lot of times it’s just the location and perhaps a picture. These are my trigger words and images.
When I have time to seek my Flow Zone I can sit down with my tablet, my phone or my laptop and search by PBBlog. Then I can focus and try to get in my Flow Zone and really think about, write and ruminate on the ideas. Sure, this is a simple tip and trick, but it helps me from being distracted by all the other things in my OneNote system.
Whatever Works For You
For many their best thoughts come right after they wake up. A simple and effective tool is to keep a pen and paper next to your bed. A smart phone works too, but it can sometimes be too distracting or too tempting to look at social feeds or email before you have time to capture your thoughts.
Where do you get in the Flow?
Wherever your spot is make sure you can reproduce it as often as possible and go there whenever you can. Whether it’s physically there or mentally there … find your spot to get in Your Flow … and Go There.
Jeff is an expert in the Enterprise Content Management industry. He brings over 20 years of Channel Sales, Partner Marketing and Alliance expertise to audiences around the world in speaking engagements and via his writing. He has worked for Microsoft, Kodak, and K2. He is currently consulting with Microsoft and partners to drive Community Engagement and Alliances. Follow him on Twitter @jshuey or on LinkedIn: in/JeffShuey