HOW TO ACHIEVE FLOW AND BECOME THE ULTIMATE PRODUCTIVITY MACHINE

HOW TO ACHIEVE FLOW AND BECOME THE ULTIMATE PRODUCTIVITY MACHINE

Look around you.

Odds are you’ll find an electronic gadget or two. It’s quite known that machines can be powered on and off at any given time. They never feel the desire to be lazy or procrastinate. To put  it simply, machines don’t make excuses, and exhaustion is something they were built to ignore altogether. This is partly because of its inorganic material, while also having no nervous system. It’s well known that it’s nonliving and powered by electricity.

Though we cannot achieve the full efficiency of a machine, we humans can learn a lot about the common theme of efficiency these machines demonstrate.

Without further ado, let’s discuss how  you can achieve flow and become the ultimate productivity machine.

Eat right

Food is the coal that keeps our engines running. With a work-oriented lifestyle, each day is war and no war was ever won on an empty stomach.

Filling the tummy doesn’t mean to pour anything in and expect it to work wonders. A coal engine will only run on coal. Throwing in rocks will just not do.

But it is tough to maintain a proper diet and a working lifestyle. With the fast pace of life, we prefer foods that are easily available, ready to eat or in other words, not at all healthy for our bodies. Chronic consumption of these foods causes health problems, low energy, and other illnesses. Below are some tips to help you fuel your body with the best resources available.

Eat vegetables and fruits.

Natural sources of rich minerals and vitamins are very important. Rather than having multivitamin pills, try to introduce more fruits and vegetables in your diet. Doing this will increase your intake of fiber as well, a main nutrient responsible for healthy digestion. Organic minerals and vitamins are easier for your body to absorb and lead to better organ functionality all around.

Avoid oily, greasy, and processed food.

Oily food can seriously hamper your flow. The excessive consumption of oily food wreaks havoc on your health. You should never consume more than a ½ liter of oil per month. Oil is tough for your body to break down and doesn’t have much nutritional value. Although some natural oils are useful in curing a number of ailments, the amount consumed should never exceed recommended or prescribed limits.

Drink loads of water.

However, be careful not to drink too much though unless you are rigorously training and exercising quite often. Instead, it’s helpful to substitute water directly with high-water-volume fruits and vegetables like watermelons and beets. This is no secret and has been repeated a million times. Water is the key to feeling better. With 70% of our bodies being water, replenishing the tank is always a good idea. It helps you get rid of toxins and leads to an overall improvement of health.

Productivity is practice.

You might have noticed that even machines malfunction if not used regularly. No one inherits productivity. Rather, it is something to be learned – something to be achieved. Some of the best ways you can achieve that are listed below:

Create a schedule

It is easier to achieve fluidity at work if you know what to do next. Create a schedule for a week. Record your performance for the day and accordingly go over the schedule for the next day. Documenting your progress to meet the schedule will help you understand where you were lacking during the day and what hindrances you will face the next day. This gives you a realistic chance to create a schedule that will actually work. It seems tough but give it at least a week. Writing down the progress of the schedule will also give you a sense of accomplishment while helping you keep track of your activities and goals.

3- sec rule

It may happen many times – You know what you want to do but all of a sudden you find a logical reason not to do it. You keep making excuses for yourself for not doing the given task. “Just one more episode then I will get up”, you say to yourself. “It’s 1:57, I will start at 2. Its 6:23 am… I’ll get up at 6:30. It will take me 15 min to do it, I will do it when there’s only 30 min left.” We have all said these things to ourselves and in most cases, we could not finish the intended task on time. These are some classic cases of procrastination. Although applicable to different walks of life, The 3-sec rule can be used here.

Basically 3 seconds is the maximum time that the brain takes to come up with an excuse. Essentially, what we want to do in these cases is outsmart our brains. The next time you are given a task, react within 3 seconds. Want to go somewhere? As soon as you realize you have to leave, just get up and move. Want to finish a report? Power on the computer immediately. Do not allow your brain to make excuses. It is a vicious cycle; an endless abyss. The more you delay doing the task, the less likely you are to do it.

Conditioning

The basic science of conditioning was well explained in the experiment of Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov. If you repeat a process long enough, it becomes second nature, to the extent that your subconscious expects the event to occur. Your body will move on its own and react on its own. If an athlete works out for hours every day, the day that he/she takes rest will be difficult for them. This is simply because the body is conditioned to the daily work out. Set a plan of action. Play some music during work. It will help you find a rhythm. Repeat the music every day. Just the same music to kick start the habit and then you may try shuffling in some different styles.

Stick to it for at least 22 days. This is known as the minimum duration it takes to develop a habit. Playing the same music while starting work will condition your mind so that the next time you hear the music, your brain will automatically know that it’s time to work. Please take note to play music which you don’t usually hear. If it is something you commonly hear, the conditioning may not work. Reserve that genre of music specifically for work. A few minutes are all it takes to put you in the flow.

Meditation

Concentration is key to the full completion of all activities. We all have that zone, trance, or whatever you want to call it, where you do not hear anything or see anything except what you are doing. Some overdose on coffee to get there and others try desperately to find that zone again because they were able to do a lot of work in a very short duration. It was almost superhuman. Some people may not even have the slightest clue what the zone is. These once in a lifetime trances are phases of high concentration.

If you think back to your last zone of concentration, you will realize that these events occur when you are under stress. Under moderate amounts of stress, your brain puts you into overdrive and concentration levels increase. With practice, you will be able to focus more on work by setting aside the distractions that affect the speed of your performance. Let’s be honest, no one needs a superpower that occasionally works.

So, practice meditation every day. Start with a short duration, gradually increasing by a few seconds. It will help improve concentration and also help alleviate stress while inviting a healthy number of these productive zones to come to your mind’s aid when needed.

Introspect and Organise

Every evening when you are finishing your daily tasks, take a moment to reflect on what you have achieved, what you feel short of, and where you see the potential to do better. By doing this you will have a better sense of achievement, making you feel confident about your work. This process also helps you understand your true potential and why you were not able to achieve some of your goals. Once you have done an introspection into your work, focus on the areas of improvement. Organise your desk in a way where everything you need is readily available. Running around the office to find a stapler can turn into an adventure to Mordor.

Pick your breaks

Working hard is important and its equally important to be moving around and socializing with coworkers throughout the day; But it should be when you decide to do so or when you feel it is not a distraction. Leaving work and excessive mingling will have a negative effect on your productivity. You will not be able to socialize properly, as you will be distracted by work and then it will be difficult to complete the task on time. So pick your movements. Take rest between tasks. Enjoy the breaks but keep track of time. Studies suggest, that breaks between work can improve productivity. Make sure you take 5 to 10 minutes maximum breaks between tasks . It will provide enough time for you to walk around and clear your head, preparing and refocusing you for the next task.

Positive reinforcement

Believe in your work. Believe that you do good work. Praise yourself for completing your schedule. Motivate yourself when you are not able to complete it. Compliment yourself out loud. “Today was a good day, I did well for myself, I am proud of my work.” This conversation with yourself can go a long way. Positive reinforcement is very important for your psychological health. It may sound silly talking to yourself but it is very helpful. It helps you bring more of a positive spin out of your work. Take pride in what you do and what you achieve. It may be slow, but any progress is good progress. Even if you don’t make progress, appreciate the effort that you put in. This kind of positive reinforcement will make you more of an optimist. You will start to see the world in a new light, believing that anything is possible, with the right amount of effort. It will also help you learn the importance of persistence and make you more appreciative of what other people do.

Know your limits

Flow has its benefits and becoming a productivity machine may be great for your career. However, you should know when to stop. Not even machines can work relentlessly without getting overloaded. Go easy on yourself. Do not exhaust yourself or develop an addiction to work. It may be helpful for work in the short term but an obsession is bad for long term psychological effects. Remember, productivity is like a marathon, not a sprint. The longer you can be productive, the better you will perform at work. So be patient and enjoy the journey. Imagine a mountain climber at the summit of the mountain. The peak is so high up that the clouds mask its visibility. The climber has all of his gear he will need for the climb. The challenge is mind boggling. The only thing he knows is where he wants to go and he begins to picture himself at the peak. With that belief he starts climbing. Grabbing onto one rock, one gap, one crack at a time. His only concern is where to grab hold next. He does not think about failure because it would mean the end. Step by step, inch by inch, he moves closer to his goal. And eventually, all the steps are compounded and become the collective outcome of conquering the peak. Every inch, every milometer the climber moved led him to the top as a champion. Remember, You only need to know where you want to go and believe that you are going to get there. The ‘How’ does not matter as long as you believe in yourself and know the ‘Why’. Why do you want this? When times get tough, go back to your answer. Keep working and know that it will bear fruit. Even if it seems hopeless in the present, efforts and hard work never go to waste.

And that, ladies and gents, is how you transform yourself into a productivity machine.

–Arjun Chauhan