September 02, 2011

Liquid Life

Zoned out. All the time!
Nothing makes my Homunculus happier than being in the zone.  So, during this whole Week of Flow, that little dude in my brain has been one happy camper.  In fact, he wants even more!  I woke up today to find my Homunculus already awake and waiting for me: "So, Master, I really like this whole Flow thing we've been doing.  Why can't our whole lives be one big Flow Experience?"  To which I responded: "You know, Myself, you've got a point there."

All week, we've been cultivating new opportunities to get in the zone and, hopefully, it's becoming clear that opportunities for Flow are everywhere.  All we need for flow is a task with clear goals, feedback, and appropriate challenge.  With those broad requirements in mind, our entire lives are ripe for inducing flow. All it takes is to think about each part of the day as a flow event: What are your goals?  Are the goals specific? Are you making progress right now (immediate feedback)? Are you tackling challenges that are appropriate to your skill level?

By asking these questions of our own behavior, we can start to approach our daily lives with the goal of inducing flow.  Almost anything can then be turned into a flow event.  In fact, that's your challenge for today:

Liquid Life

Task: Get into the Zone for the entire day.

Info: For each stage of today, each task or activity, think about how the task does or does not meet the requirements of flow.  How can you tweak the activity, or your perspective on the activity, to make it more likely to get you in the zone?  For me, the number one mistake I make is to think about a task in too broad of terms: "Get into shape", "Finish the paper", "Learn more chemistry".  These challenges are not framed a level that is appropriate to my current skill.  If I reframe these goals as smaller, more skill-appropriate goals, I almost instantly get in the zone: "Go for a 3 mile run", "Edit the abstract", "Order Cliffsnotes for Chemistry".

Goal: Minimize periods of Non-Flow to no more than ten bouts of 5 minutes.

One final note, when I am most likely to not be in the zone is when I'm not focused on the task at hand and am worrying about "things in general." Be mindful of the task at hand instead, and you'll be much more likely to get into the zone. It's one of our Principles of Greatness here at The Happy Homunculus and is critical to getting and staying focused.

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