A flow state describes a mental state of complete immersion in an activity or task. Being in the flow allows you to perform tasks fluidly and without resistance. High-performing athletes, musicians, and creative writers effortlessly reach this state of elevated concentration often. To get “in the flow,” you must have a deep passion and love for what you do. 

For example, someone who works at a fast food restaurant to cover a few extra bills probably doesn’t feel very enthused about their occupation. So, it becomes challenging to find the flow state when the mind doesn’t enjoy something. However, people who feel excited about an activity will naturally perform at a higher rate. 

Those who achieve the flow state feel a blissful union between mind and body. The mental chatter begins to dissipate, and the goal at hand becomes crystal clear. In summary, life feels much easier, as if you’re floating rather than trudging through it.

What are the Characteristics of a Flow State?

 Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi introduced flow theory in the 1970s after observing people who performed pleasurable activities. He described eight main traits of a flow state:

  1. Confidence and proficiency in the task 
  2. Deep concentration and involvement with the activity
  3. The task has clearly defined goals 
  4. The activity provides instant feedback
  5. The task feels effortless and causes daily stresses to melt away
  6. A sense of control over the task
  7. The sense of self disappears yet comes back stronger following the flow experience
  8. The sense of time becomes altered

flow state

 7 Tricks to Finding Your Flow State

So, the flow state requires two main ingredients: desire and intense concentration. Luckily, anyone can reach this joyous mental state with practice.

1 – Clearly Define Your Goals.

To get into a flow state, you must have a clear vision of what you wish to accomplish. If you’re scatterbrained and don’t set defined goals, experiencing effortless activity becomes much more complicated. Having a clear outcome in mind gives you direction and purpose in life. So, do some soul-searching and think about what you’d like to achieve.

You don’t have to set a significant goal to complete this step, either. Even a smaller objective can help you become disciplined and motivated to complete a task. For instance, if you want to lose weight, you wouldn’t try to lose fifty pounds in one month. You’d set milestones to achieve along the way to the finish line. 

 2 – Eliminate All Distractions.

 Research shows that being distracted or handling too many tasks at once can lead to burnout. It also interrupts concentration and makes it difficult to reenter the flow state. So, before you start working on a task, remove all external distractions from your environment. These may include smartphones, TVs, and other types of technology. 

 You should attempt to eliminate internal distractions such as mental chatter as well. Your thoughts create a barrier between you and the world, causing you to lose focus quickly. Meditation, yoga, and other mindfulness practices can help prime you for periods of intense activity. 

 Ideally, you want to sustain the flow state for several hours, so having a quiet, dedicated workspace is crucial.

 3 – Follow Your Passions.

 Perhaps most importantly, you should only choose activities that pique your interest. You have more energy and drive to complete the task when you do something you love. 

 Finding your passion in life unlocks an abundance of untapped willpower and potential, allowing you to complete activities effortlessly. Whether washing dishes in a restaurant or performing heart surgery, anyone can achieve this flow state. 

 You want to choose a task that challenges you but isn’t beyond your current abilities. Finding that happy medium will ensure you’re neither bored nor overly stressed while working. 


 4 – Avoid Multitasking.

Another key to finding your flow involves working on one task at a time. Studies show that multitasking can reduce productivity by as much as 40%. Because your brain can’t do two things at once, it must switch rapidly between the activities. Multitasking drains mental energy and can lead to burnout eventually. 

5 – Identify When You Feel Most Productive.

Some people feel more creative and energized in the morning, while others prefer working at night. To reach the flow state, you should utilize windows of peak performance to complete challenging tasks. If you identify as a night owl, you probably have the most stamina during the afternoon and evening. On the other hand, early birds like to tackle the most demanding tasks before lunchtime. 

 Work with your natural preferences to enhance your concentration and productivity. 

 6 – Create a Daily Routine.

Engaging in a ritual before you start working can help you enter the flow state more easily. For instance, stretching, listening to motivational music, or meditating can help your mind prepare for periods of intense concentration. Most people can’t get into a flow on command – the brain needs time to recharge between tasks. So, create a ritual that helps center your consciousness and calmly guides you to the next job.

 7 – Focus on the Process Instead of the Outcome.

Since the flow state alters your perception of time, it allows you to remain rooted in the present. You won’t worry much about the destination because the journey feels so enjoyable and invigorating. It takes time to enter this state of consciousness, so don’t get discouraged if you feel distracted at first. To practice mindfulness, surrender to what’s happening around you and allow yourself to appreciate the present moment.

flow state

Final Thoughts on How to Achieve a Flow State

Most people want to experience the flow state but don’t know how to achieve this heightened state of being. For many, it seems like a distant dream to flow from one task to another effortlessly. However, anyone can enter this fluid state with some practice. 

Try it for yourself by choosing an activity that brings you immense joy. Eliminate any distractions, and don’t focus on the outcome or destination. Allow your consciousness to rest in the present moment and surrender to the universal flow of energy. We all can experience uninterrupted focus and inspiration if we only listen to our heart’s deepest desires.