July 14

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Finding a Flow State

We live in the most distracted age known to man. Which is why learning to find a flow state is so important in creative work.

Flow is a term coined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It's the proverbial state of being "in the zone." A state of being so focused, that time ceases to have meaning. When we're totally immersed in the work.

Sometimes it can feel like chasing a unicorn. But when you find it, it's pretty awesome.

The Pomodoro Technique has become a popular productivity tool. It goes something like this.

Set a timer for 25 minutes and focus on a task.

Take a 5 minute break.

Repeat as needed.

While on the surface, this might seem effective, it makes it impossible to achieve a flow state. Because it takes at least 20 minutes on a task to even begin experiencing a flow state. 

And once you stop or are distracted, you have to start again.

In my experience, the following is the most efficient way to achieve a flow state. Whether you're working, practicing, creating, or anything else that requires your undivided attention.

1. Eliminate all distractions. Leave your phone outside the room. Turn off the email and messaging apps on the computer.

2. Set a timer for 90 minutes.

3. Select one task and one goal to focus on over those 90 minutes.

And go!

When I organize work chunks like this, I get more done and become more focused than I ever thought possible.

Give it a try this week, and let us know how it goes.

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For parents, students, and anyone else who believes that music can and should be a meaningful part of everyone's life.

About Jonathan Roberts

I am the founder and director of the South Shore Piano School, and I have been teaching the piano for nearly 20 years. My work centers around bringing music to the lives of kids, parents, and adults in an enriching, meaningful way. At the South Shore Piano School, my incredible colleagues and I accomplish this through skill-based teaching, community, and an innovative, people-first business model. You can read more about me here.


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