Flow or the psychology of optimal experience,
My book is titled Create to Flow because I believe that having the practice to start your day by setting up the foundations for flow can completely change your productivity while maintaining your health.
Flow is about being more efficient than you thought was possible and feeling great while doing it.
I used to be a project manager of a large project developing a new pedagogical method for individual learning in a classroom. It was my idea and I was very passionate about it, especially as I started to see that it worked in practice. I had a team of dedicated teachers and students. But for a while, it was all spinning too fast, and I got caught in solving problems and answering questions without taking a breath.
I was always present for everyone else, and I started to go home without any energy to pick up my children. When they went to sleep it was time to do my work, the work I never had time for during the day.
I started to realize that it would not be sustainable for 3 years.
Prior to this, I had done another project and the man that had done the research on this project kept telling me that we can get burned out even by doing things we love.
At this time I got lucky that our office ran out of space and I managed to get an office in the building next door, sharing an office with the researcher.
He was working every day from eight to five. You could set your watch after when he would take his coffee, or go to lunch. I was mostly in the other building but when I sat down in my new office there was no stress in the room. There was the same amount of work but without stress. Just sitting next to him working made me alter my stress level.
In the other building, I had shared with so many wonderful people that were like me running, believing that this was the only and more efficient way. Don't get me wrong you still have to do the same work, but stress does not in any way make us do it faster or better. The only way to work is really doing one thing well and repeat with the next.
This was something that took many years to learn for me.
I have learned a lot from authors like Robin Sharma, Tal Ben-Shahar, Marita Lekmo, and Steven Kotler about how to get into flow and work from it.
Flow doesn't play well with stress, it plays with problem-solving at our optimal time of the day. I believe that we all have one time during 24 hours that our mind is more clear. Robin Sharma teaches that a lot of our success comes from what we do during this time. If we can do our most important tasks at our prime time for 90 minutes we can get a lot done.
I set up a system of creative meditation to set up a practice to allow more flow and focus into my days.
It is what I do before my prime 90 minutes.
It takes me 15 - 30 minutes and it makes me feel great.
If you are curious about how you need a pen, a notebook, and a couple of color markers.
Put out the material in front of you, sit down with feet on the ground and hands in your lap.
You start by focusing on your breath to clear your mind for 5 - 10 minutes.
Draw for 5 - 10 minutes.
Journal about the experience for 5 - 10 minutes.
I do this to check-in with myself, calm my mind to be able to work from the flow, and feel great while doing. it. The book that I have written is all about teaching you this practice.
Books to read on flow:
The Joy of Leadership, Tal Ben-Shahar, and Angus Ridgway
Flow the psychology of optimal experience, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work, Steven Kotler
The leader who had no title, Robin Sharma
Create to Flow, a journey in creative self-discovery, Ingela Johansson
The first four books are life-changing in knowledge, my book is filled with exercises and you do the work.
It is a journey in creative self-discovery, that you can take with color markers and a notebook.
In the book, you will also find more tips on flow, like the value of small decisions and a green calendar.
I could not help adding The Surrender Experiment by Michael. A. Singer is a book about living your whole life inflow. When you look at all the covers it seems to me that blue is the color of flow, for me this would be a representation of water and how you feel sitting by the sea looking at the horizon.