Discover more from Storyless
A new way of thinking about productivity
A flow state, also known colloquially as being in the zone, is the mental state in which a person performing some activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by the complete absorption in what one does. Image a dance entranced in their dance, a surfer engrossed in the wave their riding, or a programmer deep in code.
Flow transfer is when a person enters into a flow-state in one activity, and then transfers that state into a different subsequent activity.
Once experienced, flow transfer has the potential to transform one’s relationship with work.
Instead of doing “the most important thing” or grinding through a todo list, one might enter into whatever activity is most likely to induce an effortless flow, to then be transferred to various activities throughout the day, where “productivity” happens most naturally.
Morning meditation practices aren’t only about creating states of stillness and mindfulness for the duration of the meditation, but also for creating sustained mindfulness throughout the day, spending less time caught inside of thought and more time in the seat of awareness.
Similarly, engaging in a creative practice that induces flow state isn’t just about that creative activity itself, but the induced state that can thereafter be extended into the rest of the day. Thirty minutes of playing guitar can change the entire trajectory of a day, week, month, year, life.
Journaling practices are special for this reason, as for many, writing is a reliable producer of flow states and the content of writing is easily transferred — if I’m deep in flow writing about a project I’m excited to work on, it’s nearly effortless to transfer that flow into that project on the spot.
Having experienced flow transfer, we might ask ourselves each day, “what would make me feel most ecstatically engrossed in flow?” or “what would be most enliving?” and navigate our world through the moment-to-moment answers to these questions, trusting that on the other side of these enlivened states are inevitable forward progress, often in ways we couldn't have possibly imagined at the outset.