I have days where I just can't seem to find the inspiration to start the big daunting task that's looming over me.
Newton's 1st law of motion says an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion stays in motion.
This can be applied to ourselves, we just have to get started, to build that momentum.
A study showed that psychological momentum starts as a conscious process but subsequently becomes a major facilitator of the nonconscious automatic execution of your behavior and performance.
In other words, an object in motion stays in motion. You just need to start the motion.
Sounds easy, but it's really easy to get stuck in procrastination with all the distractions we have these days.
There are some science-backed strategies that can help you get out of this rut and get moving. You can engineer momentum and get into a flow state.
But what exactly is a flow state?
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, also known as the "Father of flow", says flow state happens when you are both energized and focused, aware and yet fully absorbed, and able to achieve momentum effortlessly. There is a distinct balance between the task at hand and your capabilities.
I like to refer to it as being in the zone.
When your mind reaches this point of balance, several positive things happen within your brain:
- High levels of concentration
- Removal of self-consciousness surrounding your skills
- The feeling of control over a situation or activity
- An experience of time distortion
- The activity is intrinsically rewarding providing positive self-feedback
Flow is important because it is associated with increased happiness, higher intrinsic motivation, greater creativity, and better emotional regulation.
In today's world, it can be hard to reach this state with daily distractions, especially in a busy and hectic work environment.
It can take 10-15 minutes to get into this mindset. Here are a few ways I jumpstart the process:
- Create clear and manageable goals for the day - I like creating a must-do list the night before.
- Reduce distractions- I silence my notifications and make sure any urgent things have been addressed
- Focus on one task- prepare my workspace by opening everything I need just for this one task
- Don't force it- sometimes I just need a mental break
- Do something I like- I'm more likely to complete a task if it's revolved around something I know I like
- Turn off all phone notifications and email during deep work. It's worse than smoking weed.
Glenn Wilson did a study of distractions from phones, texts, and emails and found that an average drop of 10 IQ points occurred compared to the average 4 points drop you get from Marijuana.
Success is essential for high-performance levels and those who see success experience momentum and continue to ride the high of that success, which in turn keeps them on the course of action, becoming even more successful.
Essentially, you need one of these little wins, to help train your mind to want more.
This can help you reach flow multiple times a day, and now sometimes I get more done in 45 minutes than several hours by optimizing the task with my skills.
Taking action now can lead to success which leads to further inspiration, instead of waiting for the big inspiration you think you need.