Navigating Interruptions and Crafting an Optimal Work Environment to Get Into Flow 

14 December 2023

In the pursuit of productivity and creativity, few states are as coveted as the elusive “flow.” This mental state, characterised by complete immersion and peak performance, is, however, often hindered by common culprits lurking in our work environments—interruptions and unfavourable settings. 

The Disruptive Nature of Interruptions 

In the modern workplace, interruptions are inevitable. Whether it’s the ping of a new email, the buzz of a notification, or a colleague’s spontaneous inquiry, interruptions can shatter the delicate focus required to slip into a state of flow. 

Flow Requires Uninterrupted Focus 

Flow demands deep concentration and uninterrupted attention. Even brief interruptions can derail the intricate mental processes needed to achieve and sustain this heightened state of productivity. 

Constant interruptions force “task-switching.” Each interruption incurs a cognitive cost, as the brain must disengage from the current task, redirect focus, and then re-engage. This process disrupts your flow and diminishes overall productivity. 

Crafting an Optimal Work Environment 

Here are some ways you can create your work environment to manage interruptions and access flow more often. 

  1. Minimise Digital Distractions 

Turn off non-essential notifications. Create designated periods for checking emails and messages to prevent constant digital interruptions. 

  1. Establish Boundaries 

Communicate your need for focused work periods to colleagues. Establishing boundaries signals that you are in a concentration-intensive task and should not be disturbed unless absolutely necessary. 

  1. Design a Flow-Friendly Workspace 

Create a physical environment that supports concentration. This might include comfortable seating, good lighting, and minimal visual distractions. A clutter-free and organized space can contribute to a clear mental space. 

  1. Time Blocking 

Allocate specific blocks of time to different tasks. During these periods, commit to uninterrupted work, allowing yourself to dive deep into the task at hand. 

The Path to Productivity 

Recognising and mitigating interruptions, coupled with intentionally crafting an optimal work environment, can pave the way for increased instances of flow and enhanced performance. In a world where distractions abound, reclaiming control over your work environment is a strategic move toward achieving those moments of deep focus and unparalleled productivity. 

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.