by Milena Regos, co-founder of the Unhustle® Movement
Lacking focus? Low on motivation? Too many distractions at home to be able to get anything done? Are your work-life boundaries getting blurrier by the day?
You’re not alone. According to a survey by Thrive Global: “Ninety-six percent of companies now say their productivity has been affected during the pandemic. Seventy-five percent of employees feel overwhelmed and significantly less productive as a result of working from home and pandemic-related distractions.”
The fact that many of us are working longer hours but feeling less able to get things done only adds to the frustration.
Since February, there has been a 300 percent increase in people searching “how to get your brain to focus”, a 110 percent increase in “how to focus better”, and a 60 percent rise in “how to increase focus”.
You can improve focus and productivity by entering a state of flow, an optimal state of consciousness where we perform the best. Getting into this state of flow may seem impossible right now, but following some simple rituals can get you there fast.
What is a state of flow?
Flow is an altered state of mind, being “in the zone” as athletes and creatives refer to it, experiencing timelessness, selflessness, and feeling connected. Everything seems effortless. Your creativity and productivity increases in this state, your focus increases, you have more clarity and feel ecstatic. Instead of using all of your brain, you actually use less of it, allowing you to do it for a longer time. You are 100% immersed in what you are doing.
Getting “in the zone” is a known practice with top athletes and creatives, but how can you use it right now to put yourself in a high-performance state?
Here are five ways you can adopt today to help you achieve a state of flow.
- Stay Present
We live in the past and worry about the future. Studies show that we spend 12 percent of our time dwelling on the past and 48 percent worrying about the future. With the help of mindfulness and meditation practices, you can learn to keep your attention in the present moment. But you probably don’t have time to meditate for 30 min each morning, right? A simple mindfulness practice to get you present is to take a deep breath in your lower belly and count backward from 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – doing so will instantly make you more present.
- Clean Up Your Environment
More distractions lead to more overwhelm. Fewer distractions lead to less time spent in refocusing says Jim Kwik, founder of Kwik Learning. So take the time to clear up your desk or the kitchen table to help you regain your focus.
- Work at Your Optimal Peak Time
Protect your most creative time – normally mornings, by blocking off time on your calendar. Avoid checking your emails in the morning and identify your three most important projects for the day the night before. Checking your emails, social media accounts or the news can hijack your attention for the rest of the day.
- Take Care of Your Inner State
Make sure you are paying attention to staying well hydrated, eating well, moving often, and getting enough sleep. When your body and mind operate in an optional state, it’s easier to fully engage your focus and enter a state of flow.
- Challenge Yourself Just Enough
To achieve a state of flow, you need to pick a challenging task but one that’s not too challenging. While you want to push yourself beyond your comfort zone, right now we need to be careful not to overdo it. It’s finding the sweet spot that works for our skill levels.
These tips are just the beginning of how to enter a state of flow for optimal performance, individually or as a team, so you can work less and achieve more. Join me at the upcoming virtual Biz Cafe on June 24, 2020 and learn how to achieve a state of flow so you get into high performance.
NCET is a member-supported nonprofit organization that produces educational and networking events to help people explore business and technology. More info at NCETcafe.org.
Milena Regos is the Co-Founder of the Unhustle® Movement, standing up to the 24/7 work culture to live and work from a place of high performance with better work-life boundaries. Unhustle® has been featured in CNN Business, Thrive Global, Medium and others and has a loyal community of 12,000+. (www.unhustle.com)