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How to Achieve Flow & Keep It

Have you ever had an important assignment to complete, a paper to write, lesson plans to create, and an exercise plan to implement? But you found yourself going to the bathroom, checking your phone, checking your email, feeding the animals, and doing everything except what you needed to focus on.

If you're nodding your head in agreement, I think it's safe to say we all have. On the other hand, there are marvelous moments in everyone's life where you slay your goals. What's the difference?


Why is flow important?

  • It creates a more meaningful & satisfying life

  • Leads to more productivity

  • Improves your quality of life

  • Increases creativity

  • Increases happiness & enjoyment

I'm super excited to share with you a book recently gifted to me from Swivl. I was scrolling through my Twitter feed when I saw a tweet from Sara Candela informing educators about a book study she was leading titled: #Optimalist. So I completed a Google Form, and Viola' I was part of a global conversation around the national bestseller book Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

Little did I know then that I'd get a copy of the book in the mail. Wow! Now that's a way to ensure engagement! Immediately, the book drew me in. After that, I was in the reading flow.

This is the real secret of life– to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.” — Alan Watts

What is flow?

Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi outlines that people are happiest when they are in a state of flow —a state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation. It is a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter.

According to Csikszentmihalyi, no amount of money, fame, or possessions create happiness. Conversely, only flow and how we feel about ourselves bring happiness. He states, "The joy we get from living depends on how the mind filters and interprets everyday experiences. Whether we are happy depends on inner harmony, not on the controls we can exert over the great forces of the universe." Therefore, flow is a state of mind and action.

How do you achieve flow & keep it?

  1. Flow is the space between boredom and anxiety. Find experiences & activities you enjoy with "just right" challenges. Not too easy & not too difficult.

  2. Clear away distractions

  3. Train your brain- "The best moments usually occur when a person's body or mind stretches to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. Optimal experience is thus something we make happen."

  4. Enjoy yourself

  5. Practice

“Energy flows where intention goes.” Rhonda Byrne

Who couldn't use a little more focus and flow?

Squirrel! 😁

Seriously, what I love about the book is as follows.

Flow by Mihaly Cskikszentmihalyi book study & book take aways

  • The book is rich with ways to enhance your life

  • It got me rethinking traditional goal setting

  • Anyone & everyone can have flow

  • We all are in control of our consciousness.

  • Training our brain to think, stretch, and find fulfillment leads to flow & happiness

  • This book is a keeper. It's one to revisit.

  • The lessons learned from the book can be applied to our students, our children, and our own lives

  • Flow = happiness & optimal experiences

  • Cskikszentmihalyi breaks down flow in all areas of our lives with practical advice and strategies

  • Crystal-clear goals are essential for flow

  • Immediate and continuous feedback is important for flow

  • "Just right" challenges bring enjoyment and satisfaction = flow

  • Hone your skills and set reasonable goals

  • You can improve your work life by implementing flow activities and developing an autotelic personality.

  • Self-knowledge can lead to greater inner harmony.

  • The family context that provides for optimal flow is as follows:

  1. Clarity- Clear goals, expectations, and feedback

  2. Centering- The children's perception that their parents are interested in what they're doing

  3. Choice- Children feel they have a variety of possibilities from which to choose.

  4. Commitment- Trust that allows children to feel comfortable enough to set aside the shield of defenses.

  5. Challenge- Parents' dedication to providing increasingly complex opportunities

Wow! Just Wow!😃

The above five conditions parallel the dimensions of the flow experience. Therefore, they provide ideal training for enjoying life. Csikszentimihalyi says, "Children who grow up in family situations that facilitate clarity of goals, feedback, feeling of control, concentration on the task at hand, intrinsic motivation, and challenge will generally have a better chance to order their lives to make flow possible."

I don't know about you, but I will intentionally include these five components in my class and school culture. So, think about it, emphasizing relationships and these critical conditions for flow transforms our schools, students, classrooms, and culture into optimal experiences that lead to a life of joy and fulfillment.

“It is not enough to be happy, to live an excellent life. The point is to be happy while doing things that stretch our skills, that help us grow and fulfill our potential.” ~ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Flow is key to happiness, productivity, creativity, learning, and growth. The beautiful thing about it is that anyone can achieve it. So instead of wondering what happened in the past hour, you'll look back in time and exclaim, "Yes, I did it."

You make a difference! 💕Pamela Get inspiration and posts just like this delivered to your inbox. (Never spam. Always written for you.) Click here. Scroll down to "Inspire Me". Enter your email & add to your contacts. Can't wait to have you in our community.

Learn about being STRONG & how to cultivate life-changing relationships with families and students in my new book. I share personal student stories and strategies for cultivating culture and community rooted in relationships. It's centered around amplifying all students' potential and unshakeable relationships that raise student achievement. Click here or the image to go to Amazon. 😃

Are you tired of not having enough time for your priorities. Do feel like you'll never get it all done?

Take Back Your Time with three action steps. Access your free downloadable here.


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