There’s nothing like that state of flow, when you get so absorbed in a project that time seems to stand still. But if it was once a rare state to achieve, it now seems impossible.
As famed psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wrote in his 1990 book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, “The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.” In this state of “flow,” people “want to pursue whatever they are doing for its own sake… The sense of the duration of time is altered: hours pass by in minutes, and minutes can stretch out to seem like hours.”
In our current world, mired as it is in political, social, and medical quicksand, flow seems like a relic from another time. One of our main limitations these days is of course: interruptions. With constant interruptions from kids, roommates, and colleagues sending Slack messages to ask if you read their emails, there is little opportunity to be fully absorbed in anything.
But “little” is not the same as “none.” Achieving the bliss of flow is possible — even now — with a few smart strategies.
Figure out what times of day are least likely to be interrupted
Many people like to rise before their households solely to experience peace and quiet. Maybe you and your spouse trade off childcare duties, so 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. is a possibility, and your colleagues seldom start pinging you before 9:30 a.m. This leaves you a chunk of early morning time to work with. Maybe your roommate reliably vacates the premises on Saturdays. Analyze your schedule until you know what chunks of time might be available, and if there’s more than one chunk, figure out when you have the most energy. If you get in your groove after 9 p.m., and your household is quiet then, that can work too.