Did you know that every time you get a notification on your phone or computer, it lights up the same part of the brain that would get triggered if a LION was after you!!?
No joke. This may have been the biggest ”WOAH…” moment I had while reading IKIGAI: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life.
So today, on this rainy Monday morning, a day of the week which most folks write off- we’re going to be talking about FLOW, Focus & Disraction. So- Pop the kettle on friends and settle in for the 3rd installment in this IKIGAI series!
In case you missed it—Here’s The Plan…
Because there’s so much awesomeness to be absorbed I thought we’d split this up into 4 posts. They are as follows (unless I have a better idea and decide to ditch the format for something else… I’M A CREATIVE DAMNIT DON’T BOX ME IN!”)
- PART 1 | The 80% Rule
- PART 2 | Work to Live, don’t Live to Work
- PART 3 | FLOW & distraction economy
- PART 4 | My IKIGAI — Show me yours & I’ll show you mine
This series is in no way meant to deter you from reading the book yourself. — I’d HIGHLY recommend grabbing it, cracking open a new notebook for your thoughts and giving it a read over the course of a week or so. You won’t regret it!
FLOW & Distraction Economy
Here’s the deal. No matter how good of a multitasker you think you are, you just ain’t. The brain is only capable of thinking about one thing at a time. What you’re doing when you toggle multiple activities or thought processes is just that- you’re rapidly switching between tasks. Which means you’ll make more mistakes, waste time, and remember less of what you’ve done.
I’m sorry, but as much as we like to think we have parallel processing chips, we just don’t. Let’s all take a moment to get over our respective egos about this fact before we move on. Say it with me...
"I am not a dual core processing super computer. I can do one thing at a time and that’s ok because most dogs think I’m pretty great."
Feel better?— I know I do...
And yes, it’s true the brain associates the PING of an email or cell phone notification with the threat of a possible predator. A thing that says ”HEY THIS NEEDS YOUR ATTENTION! LIKE — NOW!!” Throws your body and mind into a fight of flight response state, increasing heart rate, adrenaline and cortisol levels, enabling the body to jump into action. Except this is 2018, and so it’s only your phone alerting you to the fact that someone posted a gym selfie on instagram.
Now take that entire process and repeat it about 150 times a day. No wonder we can’t chill out and have a hard time focusing! My big recommendation, Do Not Disturb mode is your new best friend. Tell your devices to leave you alone. If it helps you feel better, there are contacts you can clear from Do Not Disturb so that you can still be reached in the case of an emergency. But the fewer folks on that list the better.
Now The Fun Part, FLOW!
In the book, FLOW is described as the moment at which you are so deeply engaged in what you are doing that you become completely a part of it…
”There is no future, no past, there is only present… your conscious mind and body are united as a single entity you are completely immersed in the experience, not thinking about or distracted by anything else. Your ego dissolves and you become a part of what you are doing.”
Flow feels GOOD. SO DAMN GOOD. You know exactly what that moment feels like, when you’re doing something you love, it’s challenging but not discouraging, you feel a mastery over what you are doing, and you feel like you’re really achieving your life’s purpose by expressing yourself in that way.
It’s why FLOW is such a big part of finding your IKIGAI because it acts as your due north. It points you toward chasing the things in life that really set your soul on fire, that reason to get out of bed in the morning, that thing that you could do for HOURS while feeling like it’s only been a few minutes. That’s your IKIGAI friends, and when you’re living it you’re FLOW-IN all over the place.
You probably have a few things in mind that are pertinent for your own life as you read this post. Write them down! In the next and final post, I’m going to share the things that put me into a state of Flow, that are helping me narrow down what my own IKIGAI is- and I hope you share yours with me as well!
Things that help to find your FLOW
- musically active, but lyric-less music (i.e. classical or retro wave)
- do not disturb mode
- coffee / green tea
- yoga followed by meditation
- a cleared down, minimal, workspace
- embrace a 1 screen method.. allowing whatever app you’re working in to be FULL SCREEN, instead of having multiple windows open in your view…
- pomodoro timers
- "I always have a pot of tea to take momentary breaks to think, ponder, look out the window." - @donnadavisart
- "The only thing that works for me is leave my house and work in a cafe that doesn't have internet" - @connecteconomy
Coffee Talk: To FLOW or NOT to FLOW- What helps you focus?
What tips and tricks do you have to get into that deep state of focus & FLOW- let me know in the comment’s below and I’ll update this post in the next 7 days with your suggestions (and credit of course)!
Want More IKIGAI in your IKI-LIFE!?