Ever get yourself so mentally in the zone that time flies by and you achieve great things? It’s an amazing high when you get there. And when you drop out of the zone to review what you’ve done, you can get such a sense of pride from the great work you’ve created too.
This is what Mihály Csíkszentmihályi describes as the mental state of ‘flow’ – when you are energized and fully-immersed in what you are doing. The enemy of flow are those annoying and unwanted interruptions. Not necessarily from people tapping you on the shoulder to ask a question, but just the background hubbub where key words in conversations that are relevant to you attract your attention.
Headphones can do a great job of blocking this background noise out but what’s coming through the phones? Sometimes music is good but sometimes not. In addition to music I’ve got background noise of waves crashing and another of a Florida thunderstorm – which I find really effective as the cracks of thunder are quite stimulating at lifting me up to a different pace of thinking.
One thing I did come across recently was Coffitivity which is the background noise of a coffee shop which also works really well. It’s intended to be used in conjunction with your music – so the music addicts will still get their fix. Why not try different types of background noise to see which helps you get into the flow zone most easily.