A complete guide to getting into a FLOW State (Part 3)
Updated: Jul 5, 2021
The last and probably the most important exercise of them all, is to build our Flow activities into our life's schedules.
Congrats on getting to this final step! Don't skip this hor. You've already procrastinated enough of your life already. I wish someone had told me that also.
So you're here now. You've got your final shortlist of Flow activities. That's great! Please do share with me what they are. I'd love to know.
In this final step, we'll be making sure we have all the right things in place prior to starting our Flow activities.
There's actually Two Components to this.
The first is about setting our goals for the Flow activities, and the second is about creating an action plan so we don't procrastinate.
These are really, really important so please do have a read through even though you're probably like:
"I know what goals are lah. I know how to plan one lah. Diam lah so noisy like bird."
Trust me lah, if you don't read and do these, you will quickly give up one lor. So just spare a few minute!
Setting Goals for Flow
Now that you've got your final list of Flow activities, we need to set goals for them in words. When we can articulate the goals we want for ourselves, we are also more likely to succeed in them.
When we do not set concrete goals for ourselves, we are like an ox plowing through a field without the guidance of a farmer, destroying the soil and wasting a harvest.
Wah sound like Confucius proverb. I just made that up.
But seriously though, without goals we become susceptible to our own procrastination, and unwittingly give away our time to other more Bo Liao things.
Goals help to facilitate the enjoyment of the journey itself.
If we have a destination in mind and know more or less where we are headed to, we become free to focus our attention on where we are now, to enjoy the scenery along the way.
Next to your final list of Flow activities, draw 3 wide columns with the following headings.
Best Possible Scenario Goals
1. Long-term Goals
These are concrete future goals you set for yourself down the road, anywhere between one and twenty years down the line.
Remember the Three conditions of Flow from Exercise 1, they should be challenging, matching to your skill, there must be feedback, and the reward is in knowing you are growing intellectually or physically.
Make your long-terms goals challenging. They should stretch you.
My long-term goals for this blog for example, would be to publish an e-books or physical book within the next year that I can share with you readers.
The challenge is whatever you deem it to be. For swimming, I don't intend to go back to competitive swimming, but I aim to join a swimming marathon in a years time.
2. Best Possible Scenario Goals
These are similar to the long-term goals, but with the best scenario you can imagine possible.
This envisioning exercise is really useful at the start of the journey, as it gives you a sense of optimism about what continued effort on the goal can eventually bring.
My best possible scenario goal for this blog is to eventually supplement it with some form of a mobile app.
Readers can take a psychometric assessment at the start, and it then gives a personalised guide on daily and weekly exercises that you can read and do on the app itself.
As another example, my best possible scenario goal for basketball, is probably not going to join the NBA (I'm way too old and short lah). However, I'd really like to join a team in the next two years and try to win a local competition.
3. Short-term goals
Lastly, short-term goals are about dividing and conquering your long-term goals.
Think about each activity, and about what you hope to achieve within the next week, or month ahead.
When I started this blog, my first short-term goal was to set up the website and publish one article within a week.
My current short-term goal is to finish two articles next week, as well as start an Instagram account to capture more readers.
It's your turn now.
Go ahead and give it a try.
Draft up a physical copy of the three types of goals for each activity.
Having it down on paper keeps you committed. If you feel proud and up for it, paste a copy on your wall to remind yourself to keep at it.
Creating your Action Plan
Finally! We've reached the end of the three part guide and we can now be add our selected set of Flow activities into our lives.
By that I mean planning our weeks ahead in a calendar. Ideally, you would end up with something like the below:
If you've already got a calendar, and feel that you're quite comfortable with planning and organising your time, go ahead and pop in your Flow activities.
How frequently you want to engage in a given activity is entirely up to you, whether it's fortnightly, once a week or even a daily affair.
If you haven't got a calendar, or want a quick guide to setting up a working one, you can download a free template below and then follow my quick guide below.
I've included both an excel version and a PDF version that you can print out and write on if you wish to.
Download XLSX • 16KB
Download PDF • 441KB
Building the calendar is pretty simple and should take you just a couple of minutes. You can start adding in your activities in the following sequentially order.
1. Weekly activities that you can't change.
For example, your day job, any part time work or school, or having to attend a night school. Since you can't change these, put them all in first!
2. Non-Flow activities that are important for you.
These are the things that you do for your relationships, for your family, and for your personal happiness and wellbeing. Since they're likely to be regular ones you already do, also pop them into your calendar next.
3. Flow activities.
Now you have a good glimpse of what free time you have. Pop in those Flow activities you've finally decided on!
Start off with blocks of time and frequencies that you are comfortable with. You want to make sure you can keep going after your first week.
4. Review your calendar.
Are there is enough time for your Flow activities? If not, where can you find pockets of time? Really? You want to spend 3 hours everyday watching TV?
Think again lah!
Got your Calendar done? Well that's it! Give yourself a big pat on the back.
You've now made all the plans you can possibly make to build Flow into your life.
Your next step is really the best part, because you now get to work on activities that you really really want to do and see your life in Flow.
Have a good look at your calendar. Don't you already feel that your life seems much more engaging?
Having my own calendar on paper makes me happy, since I can clearly see that I'm spending most of my time on Flow activities as well as ones that are really meaningful to me like spending time with my Wife.