By | Amantha Imber | www.theceomagazine.com
You had a bad night’s sleep but a mountain of work awaits you. Instead of hopping into the Word document that contains the report you need to write, you open up your local news website and 30 minutes later, you realise you got sucked into an internet black hole. Begrudgingly, you go into your Word document. But the flashing cursor mocks you as no words come out.
It can be hard getting into flow, especially when distractions abound. Here are three strategies used by some of the world’s most successful people to get into flow effortlessly.
Secret power of sound
When I interviewed Wired Co-Founder Kevin Kelly on the How I Work podcast, he confessed that while he felt he was a born editor, he did not feel he was a born writer. “When I have some really hard writing to do, that first draft is a killer for me,” he said. “I write in order to find out what I think, because I don’t know what I think until I write it, and then as I begin to write it, I realise I don’t have any idea what I’m talking about.”
Kelly shared with me a very specific and unusual strategy he uses to get through writing the tough first draft. “I have a song that I play on a loop, with headsets, and it just goes round and around and around. It’s the same song and there’s something weird about the experience of listening to it on repeat. It’s very soothing. Just hearing the song makes me productive. Distractions flow away and it’s kind of like being in a work trance.”
Kelly likens it to people who work in cafes because the background noise helps them focus. Other guests on How I Work, such as WordPress Co-Founder Matt Mullenweg, have shared they use a similar approach to get into flow. The trick is to find a song that your mind can cast into the background, as opposed to one where you may be distracted by the lyrics or other elements.