I’m trying to work out my next steps at the moment, figuring out whether to continue with part of my business or whether to start something new instead.
As part of that I’m paying close attention to the things I think about, the things I’m drawn to do or explore.
I don’t find it easy to work out the ‘what’ and the ‘who’ of an idea or business, as it’s not my natural way of thinking. I find it much easier to think about the ‘how’. So I have a lot of thoughts in my head that just aren’t making sense at the moment. I can’t figure out how they all piece together.
One thing I do know is that whatever I do next needs to include activities I enjoy, where I lose track of time and just don’t want to stop doing them. This is what is commonly known as ‘being in flow‘.
Writing on this blog when I’m in the right frame of mind is definitely a flow state for me. When my mind has an idea and the thoughts around that idea just pour out of my brain and onto a blog post like this. The best ones are those that just come without effort, where I barely need to edit them afterwards because they said exactly what I wanted them to say first time.
Similarly other creative processes do this for me as well.
Taking a thought and putting it into a series of slides – working out what order to put the information in, creating headers and content outlines that I can then give to someone else to fill in the gaps. This could be working with an existing design of slide deck or the project could also require me to brief a designer to create the visual elements. But taking those thoughts (mine or someone else’s) and laying them out in a logical order, that’s me being in flow. Writing a proposal or a report or some instructions would be the same process for me. Sometimes collaborating with others, sometimes creating the content for the document myself.
And the other activity that gets me into a flow state is planning out how to make someone’s idea work. All I need is their thought, their vision, their idea (however chaotic and seemingly random) and my mind thinks through all the possibilities, works out how to categorise, segment or split that idea, and comes up with a plan or structure and sometimes a series of questions or suggestions. Writing (or typing) is part of my thought process, so quite often I’ll start with a blank document or notebook page, and gradually fill it out with a structure as my mind gets itself round what is needed. And this comes naturally to me, the logic and the categorisation of thoughts.
All of these activities start with an idea or a bit of inspiration, and continue until my brain has got what it wanted out of the exercise, which usually coincides with me completing a blog post, producing a slide outline, creating a document of some kind, or writing up a plan and list of next steps or questions.
The question for me is how I can spend a larger proportion of my time in this state, enjoying my thinking and creating, and less time doing ‘busy work’ or things that I struggle with and either avoid or cause me to spend hours in front of a computer screen flicking between windows or checking social media because my mind is just not into it.
What can I do that allows me to spend more time on the things I enjoy?
Who would I do this for?
I don’t know the answer to those questions, but I would be interested to know if anything stands out to people who are reading this, especially to people who might be better at the ‘what’ and ‘who’ of an idea than I am.
Do you know what gets you into flow? What are the things that cause you to lose track of time?