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Harnessing your Creative Flow


March 2021
Your life hack to reaching flow state as a creative.

That elusive mental state- where you're truly lost in the beauty and challenge of the task at hand and time slips by slowly at first, and quickly accelerates into a hazy blur as your mind whirrs incessantly in a constantly compounding bout of creativity- we chase it everyday we sit down at work. Some call it "Flow". Some call it "The zone". Regardless of the name, it evades us all, even the best of us- we search for the secret to superhuman levels of creative output while knowing full well that the secret lies in being able to consistently find our inspiration and fall into the flow state, thus naturally getting tons of stuff done. Even now, as I write this, I find my flow state only sparingly. One can exhort everyone about the beauty of being in the flow state and still be unable to experience it himself- such is the condition of the human mind! However, how to get into a flow state is no secret anymore- thank the meticulous psychologists and their experiments!! We humans aren't perfect and can easily get tricked out of productive behavior, but if you follow the below rules, you're much, much more likely to be able to tap into your Muse, rather than let Zucks and his fleet of candied apps tap into your time and shrink your attention spans:

When working on a creative project, you should:

  1. Have a chance of completing the task - select them according to your skill level. Tasks that are too easy are boring, and tasks that are (presently) too difficult are hard to stick to.
  2. Be able to actually concentrate on what you're doing. It's pretty simple in theory- remove all kinds of tempting distractions, and maintain a pleasing work environment. However, it can require an huge level of discipline to actually clean your desk, and stay away from the dozens of distractions that plague us. Do it regardless. Art doesn't care for inconveniences.
  3. Set clear goals and an immediate feedback loop. The concentration necessary for deep work is usually possible because of having a clear vision of what you need to accomplish, accompanied by a setup that quickly lets you know if you're on the right path. The feedback loop could be anything from your own critical judgement of your output, to a discerning group of your buddies. Whatever works for you, but put it in place!
  4. Keep at it long enough. If you've hit all the three points above, it's only a matter of time before you "lose yourself" in work - forgetting surroundings and everyday worries and zeroing in on a singular focus. This could vary across disciplines and from person to person, so we'll leave it to you to figure out the details.

Creative work can be very very hard in this age of endless distractions and an ever-shrinking ability to focus. You don't have to fall into this trap though- regularly schedule time for deep work, eliminate distractions, and tap into your creative flow often enough, and soon you'll have a body of work and an uncanny ability to produce creative output that will set you apart from competition. So set up your work around being able to hit these four points and you'll soon find yourself falling into more "Limitless" bouts of productivity.

PS: If you ever find yourself in the harrowing situation of being too productive as a result, you probably need Turtlewig. Signup here: turtlewig.com ;)

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