Spring has officially sprung. After a long cold winter, we can celebrate the arrival of a new season and new opportunities for growth. As the bees begin to buzz and we start to see Mother Nature returning to her most fulfilled state, this is a great opportunity to do some internal reflection. What are your intentions for this next chapter of 2022? How will you embrace a new season of growth? Keep scrolling to learn more about internal growth and how to cultivate flow within your life.
Happy long weekend everyone. Whether you choose to celebrate Easter or are just looking forward to an extra day off, this upcoming weekend is an opportunity to relax and take some time for yourself or friends and family. With COVID restrictions no longer in place, this upcoming weekend could be a great chance to reconnect with family and friends you haven’t been able to see in a while. Personally, I’m planning on spending the long weekend outside as much as I can. For all of my fellow gardeners out there, we know that April showers bring May flowers so taking advantage of the long weekend could be exactly what your garden needs to flourish this year.
Speaking of the outdoors… April 22nd is Earth Day, although every day is technically Earth Day, the 22nd is a chance for citizens of the world to reflect on this beautiful planet we get the privilege of calling home. Now, we all know that we should treat our host better. She provides us with everything we need to survive and we repay our planet by throwing plastic into the ocean and cutting down forests to make room for more residential areas. On April 22nd, take the day to research how you can do your part to save our planet. It’s up to us to do our part every day so that future generations can enjoy our planet the same way we have.
And from April 25th - 29th, its Administrative Professional Week. The day to say thank you to your office coordinators, assistants, and receptionists. Celebrate them and take a moment to say thank you to those competent hands that "move" your company. If you need help we are here to help.
Don’t forget that Mother’s Day is fast approaching. While we celebrate our Mother Earth in April, just a few short weeks after, it’s time to celebrate all of the moms out there. Whether it be your biological mom, your adopted mom, your grandma, your aunt, your friend’s mom, or whoever that positive female role model in your life is, make sure to thank them for all that they have done for you. If you’re planning on seeing your mom on Mother’s Day, be sure to plan ahead early. Restaurant reservations and flower orders fill up FAST and you don’t want to show up without a token of your gratitude, after all, you wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for that woman.
Have you ever experienced a time when you felt a complete sense of exhilaration while performing a task? Did you feel fully involved as time flew? A time where you experience an engaged mental state, felt fully immersed and with energized focus? If you have, then you have experienced a state of Flow.
Much has been written about getting into this zone by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. From his vast interviews with mountain climbers, chess players, dancers, and surgeons, Csikszentmihalyi describes flow as a cognitive state where intense focus, creative engagement, and a lost track of time and self occur without distraction. We’ve all heard of being in the “zone” but what we’re actually referring to is flow. If you want to increase your wellbeing, creativity, and productivity then cultivating flow within your own life is the key. However, cultivating flow in your life isn’t a simple goal, it’s complex and requires a delicate balance. We can observe flow as the optimum state, it’s the place that people like Elon Musk go when they are working on the next world-changing innovation. But how can we learn to incorporate flow into our everyday life?
According to Csikszentmihalyi, we can attain happiness by making active, engaged efforts. He explains that the moments where the most growth occurs are not the passive, relaxing moments, but the times when the brain is challenged. The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult or worthwhile. A conscious effort needs to be made moment by moment, in order to learn how to transform.
So how can one increase flow and motivation? Csikszentmihalyi observed the 8 characteristics of flow which are:
- Complete concentration on the task. This means eliminating distractions such as cell phones or loud noises. If you’re a person who is distracted easily, put yourself in a quiet environment where there are minimal distractions.
- Clarity of goals, reward in mind, and immediate feedback. You know what your task at hand is, make a list of all of the steps you need to take in order to achieve this goal. Give yourself feedback, what worked and what didn’t? By providing yourself with quick feedback and keeping your reward in mind, you can make improvements faster to achieve your goal in a timelier manner.
- Transformation of time (speeding up/slowing down). If you’re a person who typically rushes through their tasks, try slowing down and see if it makes a difference in your productivity and motivation. Or if you’re a person who often procrastinates and has to rush through tasks, try setting a schedule for yourself. It’s all about giving yourself that tiny push in order to challenge your brain and find that state of flow.
- The experience is intrinsically rewarding. If the task at hand isn’t rewarding, you won’t be able to find a state of flow. You’ve heard the expression “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”, when we do what we love it’s much easier to find flow.
- Effortlessness and ease. Doing things you enjoy shouldn’t be a battle! If you’re fighting yourself to get a task done, it may not be serving you in the way you need.
- There is a balance between challenge and skills. Challenging oneself is one of the most stimulating things you can do for your brain. However, it’s important to remember that you don’t need to be good at everything. Different people have different skill sets. Remember it’s always okay to ask for help from a friend.
- Actions and awareness are merged. Your thoughts and actions need to be aligned. If you have awareness but your actions aren’t aligned, you aren’t going to achieve your goal. If you have actions but no awareness, you’re going to lack the motivation to get the task done. Create awareness within yourself, and then make a list of actions needed.
- There is a feeling of control over the task. A feeling of lack of control is one of the easiest ways to lose flow while at a task. Take all the steps necessary to ensure you have thought out each step of your goal to ensure a feeling of control. If you lose control, take a break and resume when you are able to get a handle on the situation.
The directions for finding flow unfortunately aren’t like baking a cake where we can all follow the same exact instructions. Just as each person is unique, each person’s process for finding flow will be unique. However, by understanding the characteristics of flow, we can customize them to what works best for us. By finding more ways to incorporate flow into your life, you will be more motivated and feel a stronger sense of reward upon completion of your task.
As we enter a new season and have new opportunities for growth, perhaps the theme for your spring could be finding how you create your own flow. And of course, Green & Green is always at your disposal to help you get into the flow of thoughtfulness. Check out our corporate gift section and see all of the fantastic gifts options we have available. Or, order your branded umbrellas and embrace the rain that can sometimes help you get one step closer to flow.
All my very best,