flow and engagement while catching this fish in my kayakEarly yesterday afternoon, I dragged myself away from my laptop long enough to slice some cheese and an apple and take it back to my desk so I could nibble while I worked.

Six hours after I sat down, intending to spend thirty minutes tweaking a client’s web site, I finally ate lunch. I might still be there, if I hadn’t been starving at sunset.

I wasn’t facing a deadline. The client’s on vacation, with no sense of urgency for me to finish. I was simply caught up in what I was doing, my intention fully aligned with my attention.

Intention Meets Attention

I was focused, completely involved in what I was doing.

I had a sense of being outside my usual routine.

I knew what needed to be done and how well I was doing.

I knew that my skills were adequate to the task.

I felt a sense of serenity.

I was doing something worthwhile.

The hours seemed to pass like minutes.

I didn’t want to stop.

Go with the Flow

I was in flow.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (it’s pronounced like chick-sent-me-high; go ahead, practice saying it, it’ll make you feel really smart) chose the term flow because that’s the word the people in his studies used to describe what I experienced yesterday.

He calls it “a state of heightened focus and immersion in activities such as art, play and work.”

Like the time I caught the fish from my kayak.

With my bare hands. OK, with a hook. On a string.

But that’s a story for another day.

It’s Good for You, and Possibly Your Complexion

As if just plain feeling good weren’t enough, being in a flow state can provide physical benefits as well. When people are in flow, they experience decreased heart rate, lower blood pressure and relaxation in their facial muscles.

I’m choosing to extrapolate the relaxed facial muscles to fewer wrinkles. I mean, who doesn’t want more of that?

Getting Your Flow On

Flow occurs in the sweet spot between skill and challenge, when you’re wholeheartedly engaged in an activity for intrinsic purposes.

It usually shows up for me when I’m alone, but you can drop in a state of flow when you’re with others as well – listening to music, practicing yoga, hosting a party, or playing a sport.

It feels good.

It’s good for you.

It’s worthwhile.

Reasons enough to look for ways to go with the flow.

How do you experience flow? Share your stories in the comments.


Looking to launch a starter web site for your business? Check out my latest adventure/endeavor at Pecks Beach Design.

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