Julie Sturgeon
Go with the flow

" "Flow chart" " has to be the most overlooked oxymoron in the English language. Flow is a higher state of mind, a brain utopia of focus, involvement and sheer joy. According to psychologist Mihly Cskszentmihlyi, the champion behind this positive concept, it is in the state of flow that we do our best work — the projects we're most proud of. So while we can't pronounce his name, we can thank him for showing us that Oz exists.

And that's why ISTE is calling this common phrase out on the carpet right here there's nothing charted about flow.

It's free. It's messy. It's elusive. It looks like this when you capture it:

On-ramps to flow

Find a challenge. Choose anything you enjoy doing: playing the piano, writing a novel, skiing, dog training, etc.

Develop your skills for the challenge. Remember, if something is too easy, you'll be bored, your mind will wander and you won't go with the flow. And if something is too hard, you'll be too overwhelmed to achieve that subconscious competence necessary for the flow state.

Set clear goals. Be very clear on what you want to achieve so you can gauge whether you're succeeding. For example: In this article, I'm succeeding if I clearly explain the flow state, its major components and how to achieve it.

Focus completely on the task. Eliminate all other distractions.The moment something breaks your concentration, you're on the exit ramp out of the state of flow.

Set aside sufficient time. It usually takes at least 15 minutes to get your foot in the door with the flow state and longer still until you're fully immersed. With that kind of time investment, make sure you can make the most of your visit.

Monitor your emotional state. If you meet all these requirements but still haven't broken through, take a gut check of your emotions. If you're agitated, try doing something that will calm you down. Feeling sluggish from a low energy level? Get your blood flowing to reclaim your mental groove.