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7 Conditions for Flow

May 29, 2020

Flow seems to happen to us when we aren’t paying attention and once you’ve experienced it, it’s hard to know how to really get back into it. Through research and studies thus far, we have be able to outline some of the conditions that are needed to be met to help get into a state of flow.

Flow is an intense and focused concentration on the present moment, where you forget to think about yourself and you become immersed in the task at hand. You loose track of time, and you wouldn’t really be able to explain what really happened during that time but the feelings would be of being relaxed focused, pleasant and rewarding.

In order to reach a state of flow we can use these 7 conditions to help guide us as a blueprint to ensure we are meeting all the criteria to reach it as well as it can give insight of perhaps one or more conditions that need some modifications. The 7 conditions are:

  • Knowing what to do

Picking the right activity, something that matches your level of skill, challenge and interest.

  • Knowing how to do it

This may be sharpening the skill portion of the activity. I may like basketball but being able to dribble may be my level of skill to learn before I play with some College athletes.

  • Knowing how well you are doing

Getting some immediate feedback is important, as it will guide you in the winding road of repeating actions.

  • Knowing where to go (if navigation is involved)

Some map of direction is helpful, so that you are not running around in circles. It is like knowing which store you want to drive to and where it is verses just driving around aimlessly.

  • High perceived challenges

The activity has to be some level of high enough challenge you can attain but still striving for.

  • High perceived skills

You will need to develop the skills of the activity to a higher level, which will require the efforts of time and repetitive practice.

  • Freedom from distractions

Obviously doing things so that you can keep your focus on the task at hand.

In this article 7 Conditions for Flow State, they explain the conditions to meeting a flow state specific for writing but these conditions can be applied to any activity or task you are interested in. Remember one of the flow criteria is that is it intrinsically motivating. So if you aren’t into writing, writing may not get you there but you can choose anything that you would like to do to access this state.