What being in flow feels like
Everyone talks about being in flow, but what does that really mean? If you've not been 'in flow' recently you may have forgotten what it feels like and what it actually looks like.
Lately I've been in serious flow and I bloomin' LOVE it. Not only does it make getting things done so much easier and faster, it also makes me feel confident that when I'm not in flow 1) I know I'm not in flow and don't even bother to do whatever it is I was attempting to do, and 2) I know what it feels like to be in flow so I don't stress it when I'm not because I know it isn't that far out of reach.
Here's what happened today:
I had my content planned out for the day. I wrote it over the weekend and it was set and ready to go. I knew what I wanted to focus on today. Again, I sorted that over the weekend.
So when I sat down to work on it and get the content out I felt confident on how the day was going to play out. Yet... that wasn't the reality.
I went to my office as usual in the morning. Had my water and my cuppa. I had been fed and watered like one does, and I had a good night of sleep before.
But I wasn't feeling it. I got the content out, but it wasn't flowy and dreamy and full of my usual gusto. It felt meh.
I twiddled around online for a bit. Did some LinkedIn, some Facebook. Even popped onto a group mentoring call for a while. <<--- Bad idea, btw, when one is feeling unsettled in work. It doesn't help a damn thing.
Essentially I never settled into work.
So, I took some time off for tea and figured I would either get back to it later today or I wouldn't but I wasn't going to give myself grief over it.
I'll let you in on a wee secret though. All day long I had this lingering thought that I should be writing and talking about something else entirely. But I kept pushing it aside so I could stick to the plan for the day.
But what happened is that I wasn't in alignment today with what I planned out, so even though I did it in the end, it didn't feel that easy.
After tea I came back into the office with the intention to just do something little. This is a habit that I've started recently. I put myself back in the office, turn on the good feeling tunes, and decide to do one small thing. Just to keep the ball rolling. What often happens, though, is since I've taken the pressure off myself to get anything important done, and there is no obligation to do anything in particular, the work starts to flow naturally. FLOW NATURALLY
And you know what happened...?
I wrote about the thing that I had been pushing aside all day long. And it flowed out of me so easily. That one passing'ish thought turned into a 1200 article/post/manifesto that is so great I could cry.
And it only took me 45 minutes. 45-minutes of my life that felt like it passed in a few moments that turned into something that will help so many people. Again, I could cry.
45 minutes of pure gold that would have taken hours upon hours if I, 1) forced myself to do it according to some arbitrary timeline and, 2) would not have flown out of my mind and to my fingers with such ease.
That is what working in flow feels like. Sometimes it doesn't jive with what we had planned. And sometimes it throws a kink in the day.
But isn't that teensy bit of messiness worth it in the end?
I think YES!
The moral of my wee story is this. When you're in flow you're really in flow. There is no half-way'ing the flow. It is either there or it isn't. And when it's there it feels like the most amazing rush ever. And when it's not, it feels like walking in mud - or at least ankle deep water.
Our mission is then to listen to those niggling passing'ish thoughts and take action (check my pipeline metaphor for more on that) and to open ourselves to being in flow as often as possible.
So tell me...
When were you last in flow? How long did it last? What were you doing? What was the outcome? How did it feel?
With grace, grit, and gumption,