Flow states have triggers or pre-conditions that lead to more flow.
Flow only happens when you focus all your attention on the present moment so these triggers amplify flow by focusing your attention on the now.
You can stack these triggers in your daily routine to create the conditions you need to sustain a single-minded focus on a challenging activity long enough to get into a flow state.
In contrast to most psychology research that focuses on fixing neurotic behaviours, positive psychology focuses on the habits, routines and mindsets that the world’s best performers use to live extraordinary lives.
Why Use Flow State Triggers?
Using flow state triggers can help you boost your focus, creativity and performance.
We all want to be focused and tap into flow states but it’s not easy in today’s hyperconnected world where are constantly being distracted.
The average person in our today’s society:
- Gets distracted every 3-5 minutes
- Is completely addicted to their smartphone
- Spend their workday compulsively multitasking
That’s a whole lot of wasted time, energy, and attention.
The result is the average person today lives in a constantly distracted state which psychologists are now calling continuous partial attention.
Flow triggers help to unlock the laser-like clarity and focus you need to consistently achieve mindful peak performance in flow.
The Art And Science of Flow States
You can install each of these 25 flow state triggers in your life to enhance your ability to focus, significantly boost your creative output and start living a wildly passionate life.
By stacking these triggers together in your daily routines you can make them a habit and consistently unlock the state of mindful peak performance known as flow.
Developing laser-like clarity and focus starts with a creative vision for your life that starts to emerge when you answer some of life’s most important questions.
What are the causes, topics, or activities that make you feel most alive? How can you combine your biggest interests to create something unique?
What does your perfect day and ideal work-lifestyle balance look like? How is your mindset, mental obstacles or lack of discipline keeping you from achieving this?
What are the unique gifts and talents that make you different? How can you more actively focus on developing mastery of these key talents and grow your expertise?
Who do you serve? Who are the ideal people you want to help and work with? How can you better communicate the value of what you offer to them?
What’s the change you want to build in the world? Why are you passionate about this problem? Where can you find like-minded people to support you in this mission?
“Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined, and connected to one another. And when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and live richer lives.”
― Daniel Pink
Pre-plan your week with clear goals and feedback loops by scheduling daily flow sessions where you can bring 100% focus and attention to doing your single most challenging activity with zero distractions.
5. Clear Goals
Set weekly goals and break them down into bite-sized tasks scheduled in your calendar. This way you have a clear process that you can easily visualize.
6. Feedback Loops
Create feedback loops so you can easily measure your progress with daily and weekly reviews. Set a clear reward when you reach each goal to trigger the flow of dopamine.
7. Challenge/Skill Ratio
Use your feedback loops to assess performance and avoid performance plateaus by creating a way to measure a constantly rising level of challenge and skills.
8. Deep Focus
With a clear goal, a feedback loop, and a challenge/skill balance it becomes a lot easier to focus on the hard things that most people reflexively procrastinate on.
“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better. I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.”
― Elon Musk
Amplify your creativity by embracing bigger risks and experiencing the joyful presence of creative flow by learning to release from limiting thinking patterns into a state of complete immersion in your creative activities.
9. Pattern Recognition
Amplify pattern recognition by shifting out of analytical thinking into a relaxed alpha state or effortless theta state where there’s a spontaneous, free-flowing river of ideas.
Risk is the ultimate focusing mechanism. Identify physical, mental, emotional, social, and creative risks that will improve your life and create a plan to commit yourself.
Set aside flow sessions for self-directed learning each week to go down the rabbit hole around causes, topics, and ideas you care about. Then publish what you learn.
Develop your own flow rituals with short repeatable routines that you can use to calm your thoughts and to shift all your focus and energy to a singular goal.
“The competitive advantages the marketplace demands is someone more human, connected, and mature. Someone with passion and energy, capable of seeing things as they are and negotiating multiple priorities as she makes useful decisions without angst. Flexible in the face of change, resilient in the face of confusion. All of these attributes are choices, not talents, and all of them are available to you.”
― Seth Godin
Break bad habits and establish good habits by changing your environment to remove your external distraction triggers and become more mindful of your internal emotional triggers that cause distraction and procrastination.
13. Rich Environment
Create a rich environment with lots of opportunities for novelty (new experiences), complexity (new learning opportunities), and unpredictability (new adventures).
14. Digital Mindfulness
Watch your productivity and fulfillment skyrocket by setting aside a web browser only for deep work and putting your smartphone in another room when you are working.
15. High Consequences
Overcome emotional resistance to change by completely removing distracting apps and websites so you have to sit mindfully and resolve your internal triggers.
16. Deep Embodiment
Embodied awareness and intuitive presence practices are a powerful antidote to the modern dis-ease of alienation from nature and feeling like a detached observer.
“You are a product of your environment. So choose the environment that will best develop you toward your objective. Analyze your life in terms of its environment. Are the things around you helping you toward success – or are they holding you back?”
― W. Clement Stone
Upgrade your social environment by intentionally surrounding yourself with other high performers to create a deep sense of belonging and get the accountability necessary to consistently increase both challenge and skills.
17. Shared Goals
Share your goals to be held accountable. Craft a massive transformative purpose to clearly and concisely express your mission to attract customers and collaborators.
18. Peer Accountability
The world’s highest performers have mentors, coaches and mastermind groups because we don’t see our blind spots and we get stuck when we try to go it alone.
19. Active Listening
Learn embodied listening anchored in mindful presence and genuine curiosity to create powerful social dynamics where others can share openly and feel heard.
20. Sense of Belonging
It’s important to meet regularly with like-minded people to develop the familiarity and group ritual necessary for emotional support and a shared sense of mission.
“Your network is your destiny, a reality backed up by many studies in the newly emergent fields of social networking and social contagion theory. We are the people we interact with.”
― Keith Ferrazzi
There is no better way to train the mind than with meditation. Here are some key meditative practices that can train mental focus and the deep embodiment necessary for getting in flow at work and play.
Visualization is how we transfer goals from the reason-based conscious mind to desires in the feeling-based subconscious mind to make it easier to stay focused.
Rhythmic breathing allows you to take control of your nervous system so you can shift your mental state and switch on or off the stress and relaxation response at will.
23. Zen Meditation
A focused attention meditation practice trains you to resist urges and distractions by continually returning your attention to a single point of focus like your breath.
The best way to improve emotional self-regulation is to learn to mindfully observe thoughts, feelings and sensations with non-judgment, acceptance and compassion.
25. Nondual Awareness
A powerful way to cultivate feelings of awe and interconnectedness with an open focus where you expand and relax into the effortless flow of your spatial field of awareness.
“When the breath is unsteady, all is unsteady; when the breath is still; all is still. Control the breath carefully. Inhalation gives strength and a controlled body; retention gives steadiness of mind and longevity; exhalation purifies body and spirit.”
― Swami Kuvalayananda
Flow State Coaching
Want to stack these flow state triggers in your daily routines and build them into consistent habits that transform your focus and performance?
Get support and accountability through Flow State Coaching which can help you:
- Plan out your most important goals each week in less than 15 minutes.
- Identify your external and internal triggers to overcome these obstacles.
- Create a daily ritual that stacks flow state triggers and intrinsic drivers to amplify focus.
- Follow an accountability system that is guaranteed to keep you accountable.
Learn more about Flow State Coaching.