Listening to music.
Even reading 19th century French literature, are all things some well-known creatives do when they want to get back in the flow.
For many decades creatives have turned to activities to help them access a more creative headspace, hence the commonplace studio ping-pong table or table football arenas.
Activities are enjoyable, but do you really need them to get into a flow state once you understand what’s going on in your head?
In reality, how quickly does it really take to get back in the flow?
It just takes one thought.
Before I became a full-time Headspace Coach, and was still designing, I worked on a project to create a brand for a new retail product. It was one of those dream projects – an amazing client, a great product and an exciting new market to launch into.
I had a wonderful relationship with my client. We had a fantastic time bouncing ideas around and creating a vision for the product, branding and launch campaign. Working on the designs was fast, easy and really enjoyable. It was flowing.
All was going really well until my client unexpectedly wanted to take the brand in a totally different direction and I didn’t think it was right at all, in fact I thought it was very, very wrong.
I proceeded to politely share with him my thoughts about this, but he, very politely, wasn’t interested.
So I began to have a lot of thinking about this, in fact tons of thinking, ranging from “Why is he not seeing this?” to “He’s outright wrong and it’s going to be a total disaster!”
Every time I worked on the project, my mind was flooded with these type of annoyed and frustrated thoughts, which made me feel tense and irritable. I became so consumed with this type of thinking, that when I’d sit down to work on the project I felt totally blocked. I had no inspiration, no ideas and no direction for the product. I was also extremely grumpy.
The next day, while I was working on the project in this tense and irritated state, I suddenly had a moment of realisation, when I saw what I was doing.
I’d become well and truly caught up in my own thinking about my client, about me, about the ideas and this in turn had blocked my capacity to create anything. I was consumed and only focused on the content of my own thoughts.
Once I saw it, all that annoyed and irritated thinking fell away. My body relaxed and I had a clear head. I was back in the moment and not swimming around in the content, concepts and beliefs of my own thinking.
From that moment on I continued to work on the project with a super-clear head. New ideas and directions started to form and by the end of the day I’d come up a new visual direction that both myself and my client really loved.
What struck me at the time was how instant getting back in the flow was. One moment I was totally blocked, tense and irritated, the next moment I was relaxed, present and in the flow.
Thought is a moment-to-moment experience, so literally when your attention shifts you can instantly be back in the flow. When you become disengaged from the content of your thinking, you have space for a new thought.
Flow is only ever one thought away.