Hi there and welcome. My name is Kerstin Jatho from 4Seeds Consulting, a transformational coach that assists organisations and individuals to shift from languishing to flourishing. In this audio, I want to share with you the secret of getting into the zone, or otherwise known as a flow moment.

Flow is a concept that was developed by researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in about the 1970s. It involves the concept where one’s skills and challenge are in an ideal zone. So, the skill at hand is not under challenging, not over challenging, and neither is the activity. So, you are in this moment or this flow moment where you are not bored and you’re not anxious either. A lot of artists, musicians, designers, models, clothing designers, or social media designers, as well as sportsman often know what it means when they go into the zone. It’s like being in this bubble where you lose track of time. You are just totally absorbed with the activity at hand. You are emotionless, you are deeply concentrating. You are so focused in the present moment. You’re feeling such awareness of what you are doing. You are very clear of the goal that you have to achieve.

The feedback that you are receiving from the progress that you are making is immediate. You can quite quickly see I’m progressing forward here, or I’m going backwards. You have no ego in that process. So, it’s just a healthy status. And there’s a sense that everything is possible, and I hope you’ve ever experienced being in the zone. It is the most tranquil and also peaceful, amazing space to be in.

Sadly, only about 30% of people really know what it means to be in the zone. I was presenting a workshop at an organisation once and we were covering this topic on how we can increase being in the zone or achieving flow in the work environment. And one of the leaders said to me that he had never ever experienced flow. He wasn’t sure what it is, but he was quite intrigued and fascinated by the concept. And I gave him some ideas how to develop flow, which I’ll share with you in a moment. And, he must’ve made it his absolute goal to find out what this beautiful in the moment bubble, called flow, is about.

And about four months later, out of the blue, I received a call from him. And he said to me, ‘Kerstin, Kerstin! I experienced flow. I know what it is now. And it’s so amazing and I know how to get into it and I want more of it!’ And he was just beaming with energy and excitement. And I was just so happy that he had been able to discover what flow is.

So, it is something we can all learn and get into. And I want to share with you how to actually develop a flow. And because flow is dependent on your external environment and plays a big role in it. That’s your first step of preparation; it’s to shape and prepare your external environment to be … oh, what’s the word … encouraging for you to go into that moment. So, if you need music to drift into that moment, then use that. If you need silence, then use that. If you need to declutter your desk and remove all technology sounds and pings and all of that, then do that so that there’s no distraction. So, remove all multitasking distraction items or devices that you really allow yourself the possibility to set the intent to focus now on something for 20 minutes or 30 minutes, and literally just allow yourself to go in there without a distraction.

Another key component to go into flow is to actually spend some time planning, being clear on what do I want to do in these 20 minutes? What is it that I want to get out of these 20 minutes, and how will I know I’ve achieved them? So, that little bit of pre-planning helps quite a lot to really get into the zone.

I personally mind map a lot to get into the zone. So, I sit down, I draft a little spider diagram going ‘this is my topic’, and then I give the spider all little legs and say, ‘this is what I know, this is what I don’t know’, and before I know it, I’m quite clear of what all needs to happen and where I need to research or where my gaps are. It’s a method I use a lot when I prepare workshops for clients. I sit and map it out and then I go into a zone. And, before I know it, two to three hours have passed.

The benefit of really going into a flow moment is so immense because you experience up to five to six days of positive moods and emotions. It just boosts that. It’s like you’re on an adrenaline high for five to six days. And it’s just amazing. It has a huge impact on your performance and productivity and as the preamble to peak performance, because if you have flow moments, you naturally sort of slide and glide into peak performance.

It increases your life and your job satisfaction, so hence, there’s a lot of interest in the markets and in organisations about flow. Flow is really something important for you to develop. It’s something I would really encourage you to experiment with and try and discover how you can bring it into your life.

So, I’d like to encourage you to find 10 or 20 minutes in the day, or maybe half an hour where you can clear your environment, your external environment, turn all your phones off, make all the pings go away, and literally just focus intently for 10 or 15 minutes. That will assist you to think a lot deeper, problem solve, and become way more productive.

Over to you for sharing your comments and experiences.

What work activity makes you lose track of time?

About the Author: Kerstin Jatho

Kerstin is the senior transformational coach and team development facilitator for 4Seeds Consulting. She is also the author of Growing Butterfly Wings, a book on applying positive psychology principles during a lengthy recovery. Her passion is to develop people-centred organisations where people thrive and achieve their potential in the workplace. You can find Kerstin on LinkedIn, Soundcloud, YouTube and Facebook.

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