The Morning Produces the Best Flow States

Tim Denning

Productivity expert Jari Roomer makes it easy to understand why without being a navy seal.

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Photo by Michael Henry on Unsplash

Flow states can make you feel superhuman.

Learning more about flow states allows you to understand how you can tweak them further to enhance their powerful effect.

Jari Roomer has been writing about flow states as much as I have. He’s an expert in the field and has a newsletter dedicated to productivity. The phrase flow state comes up often. Jari has experimented more with flow than anyone else I’ve come across.

One insight left me gasping for oxygen: The morning produces the best flow states.

Your mental energy is highest in the morning

Information overload and distractions deplete your mental energy. It makes sense. After a good night’s sleep you feel revitalized. Your brain has been switched off. When you wake up in the morning your brain is fresh.

I wake up at 6 AM every day. I typically waste the first hour of the day because it takes that long for my brain to wake up. From 7 AM onwards would be the ideal time to work in a flow state. The problem?

I wasted the morning. I goofed off consuming shows like “The Voice” on Youtube and watching bitcoin charts. Jared taught me to cherish the added energy the morning gives my flow states.

So, I’ve flipped my morning around. I am experimenting with working from 7 AM onwards in a flow state and goofing off late afternoon when my mental energy has been severely reduced.

Flow state hack: when your mental energy is depleted, you can simply take a nap. When you wake up you’re ready to enter a flow state again. A 20-minute nap is the optimal length based on my experiments.

The morning is for making, and the afternoon is for managing — Jari Roomer

Why the afternoon can be terrible for flow states

Jari says, “a tired brain is a distracted brain.”

Distraction is the enemy of flow states. Late in the day you are likely to feel that afternoon slump in energy, and evidence that Jared presents backs that up. So, if that is when you attempt to practice flow, you may be sabotaging your results unknowingly.

Willpower is personal power. And willpower is highest in the morning.

Quitting my 9-5 job gave me flow states

Quitting a 9-5 job in return for more flow states could seem drastic. You might think I’ve been hanging around one too many cold-shower-loving navy seals. But I did, partly, quit my job for more flow states.

Why?

I believe I can make a living as a content creator and by teaching people skills through online learning. The problem? I can’t make my goal come true if I continue to live in low-energy states.

Building a business requires focus and energy. A business requires flow states to get it off the ground. How the heck do I get a business off the ground, if my flow states are being sabotaged by pointless meetings about Powerpoint decks, by dudes in suits? I can’t.

A business powered by daily flow states is a force to be reckoned with. You can’t understand the enormity of this idea until a regular job is out of your way. But I realize most people can’t quit their job to be in flow states every day. So what’s the answer?

Part-time flow states.

I began dedicating one day per week to flow states. Then I added a second day. I’ve had dedicated days for flow states for the last seven years. Once you master part-time flow, you’ll produce unexpected results. Once you have results, you have evidence that proves flow states really do work and aren’t from the mythological world.

How to Do Part-Time Flow

Prepare for a day in flow like this.

Set aside a minimum of 4 hours to be in flow

It takes time to get into a flow state. And once you’re in flow, you want to deploy its power for more than a few minutes. You wouldn’t start up a Jumbo Jet engine and then fly the plane to the end of the runway and stop. It’s a waste of all the energy and time that is needed to get the jumbo ready for flight. Flow states are the same. 4 hours in flow is a good place to start.

Make part-time flow a simple habit

Once we’ve done something over and over, our mind learns to zone out
— Michael Easter

Once flow states are a habit your mind will naturally zone out, according to author Michael Easter who is an expert in the science of comfort. Zoning out is a huge part of flow states, and a flow state habit amplifies the effects.

Choose the same day per week to be in an extended flow state.

Toss the phone in the neighbor’s pool

Don’t worry, the latest range of iPhones is waterproof. She’ll be fine. Okay, perhaps a little navy seal for you cold shower haters. But the presence of your phone is a distraction. Seeing it vibrate or light up can be exhilarating. Your mind loves curiosity. It’s what makes you watch those dumb Youtube videos with a clickbait headline that never seems to hit the spot.

Don’t just put your phone on do not disturb — contacts marked as favorites can still get through. Don’t just put your phone on aeroplane mode — reminders and calendar notifications can still get through.

Put your phone out of sight, therefore, out of mind. That means in another room where you are not working in a flow state. I like to lock my phone in a set of draws, then lock the draws with the key, and then place the key in a separate room. The more Houdini tricks required to access my phone, the better my flow state is.

Once your dopamine phone is out of the way, you unlock your flow state potential. Read that again.

Tell your boss about flow

The boss I recently left behind knew about my secret flow.

“On Thursday I’m not working and in flow. Don’t you dare call.”

He got the message. One time he rang for help during a flow state and got through. The devil in red came out that day. Let’s just say he never did it again. Proper flow states require work boundaries. Otherwise a job keeps taking you away from flow states.

I learned this: The more time you spend away from flow states, the harder it is to escape a normal job and build your own tiny empire.

So make flow states a priority, then one day you won’t need a job working for the man.

Prepare for flow states the night before

Remove barriers to flow before you go to bed. Put your headphones where they can easily be found. Put the coffee on the kitchen bench. Queue up your version of flow state music. Tell your family what’s happening tomorrow.

When your brain expects flow, you can reach it faster.

Takeaway

There is morning flow, afternoon flow, and evening flow. When you shift time you spend in a flow state to the morning, the rest of the day feels easier. Flow states create momentum.

Once you have momentum you can deploy the extra energy in other areas of life like your job. That way flow states don’t just help you in the morning, they lift up other areas of your life. Master the power of part-time flow states, by working distraction-free in the morning, once per week.

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Aussie Blogger with 100M+ views — Writer for CNBC & Business Insider. Inspiring the world through Personal Development and Entrepreneurship www.timdenning.com

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