4 Ways to Achieve Flow and Boost Your Performance 

5 August 2022

In the last article, I explained what flow is, what it feels like, and how experiencing it can help you perform optimally. Consistently accessing flow is not something you should leave to chance because our current ways of working are not conducive to achieving it. Instead, you should be intentional about what you do and the habits you form because these can help you get into flow more often and enhance your performance. 

At Ground + Air, we help individuals and teams understand and shift their attitudes, feelings and actions, ultimately enabling them to consistently experience flow state and perform at their best. This blog shares four ways that can help you get into flow.     

Set goals  

Setting goals boosts motivation and can help you perform optimally. Christian Swann, an associate professor and researcher in goal setting, recently said that specific goals work in some cases but not all. Goal setting theory states they work only when you’re already committed, know what to do, and have the resources to do it. These specific, measurable goals don’t work well if you’re new to the task, need to learn how to do it, or you’re trying something for the first time. If this is the case, setting specific goals comes with risks and potential side-effects such as stress and anxiety. Thus, Swann explained that it’s ok to set non-specific goals, but the key is to choose carefully and go with what makes you feel good and keep moving towards your destination.   

Deeply concentrate  

In a recent Guardian article, Johann Hari stated “a study of office workers found they only focus on average for three minutes”. Clearly, in today’s world of work, people are struggling to concentrate, so here’s a practical tip that can help you focus better on the task at hand. 

Focus on the process of what you are doing rather than solely on the outcome. For example, as a leader, if you are working on a presentation for a board meeting, split the work into small, manageable steps and concentrate on making a good job of each step individually.    

Stretch your existing skill set  

Stretching your skills can help you experience a flow state more consistently. The key is to ensure the challenge of the task slightly exceeds your skill set. Push yourself out of your comfort zone, aiming for about 4% harder than you are comfortable with. You want to stretch yourself – not create too much anxiety and snap. Over time, your comfort zone will expand and your performance will improve.    

Avoid distractions and interruptions 

A major inhibitor of accessing flow which has a detrimental effect on your performance is the influence of distractions and interruptions. To experience flow state more often and produce your best work, block out distractions and put measures in place that limit interruptions. Of course this depends on the nature of your work but if you need to deeply concentrate on producing an important piece of work, it can help to turn your phone on mute, turn off email notifications, and optimise your working space so that it’s conducive to high performance and minimises interruptions. 

How Ground + Air can help you experience flow and perform optimally   

Our proprietary Flow framework is designed to support shifts in attitudes, feelings, and actions – so people are ready, open, and able to perform at their best. We’re interested in what supports and drives a person’s performance and wellbeing, which informs our approach to working with you.  

Get in touch here to learn how our coaching services can help you achieve a flow state more often, enhancing your performance and wellbeing. 

About the author:  

Joe Davis, CPsychol is a BPS Chartered Performance Psychologist and Senior Consultant at Ground + Air. He is a peer-reviewed author and enjoys sharing human performance insights to help people enhance the quality of their life. Joe is passionate about helping people thrive – both personally and professionally – and has worked extensively with high performing individuals, teams, and organisations from business and sport.